I received an email from my dead cousin on Friday last. I was startled. I was taken aback. I was suspicious. A mix of emotions within the few seconds before I clicked it open.
My British cousin, Alison, died two years ago. Exactly to this day - Monday - if you go by the day of the week. She died the first morning of her vacation, shortly after depositing her belongings in a hotel. She was in a village in the Lake District. This was an area where she often took a week's vacation. She loved this place and revelled in her return to nature - the hills, lakes, fields and rivers. She was also going to visit relatives, dine with them, walk with them. She would, indeed, be walking for hours and miles, which is what she enjoyed most. She wanted this connection to her natural surroundings so fervently that she set out within the hour of arriving from London. She was dead within another hour.
Alison dining in her black boa.
I had been thinking of Alison the past week. Not morbidly, nor with unnatural sadness - time is the fuel of attrition. We had a close relationship - a fun relationship. We emailed weekly - and often more - for years. She lived in London, and worked at The Mission To Seafarers, an international organization tending to the needs of sailors. She was intrigued by Canada, though had never visited (I met her on trips to England). She was in her mid-fifties with interests which matched the city in which she lived.
The subject line of the email said Hi. The email was not from her dead hand, though the cut line on my gmail page says: "alison boyce wrote". This is what I saw - indeed, still see when I look. There is no message, other than a link. It is a link to a site which will guarantee you $$$ if you work from home. Somehow, I assume, after two years, her email address was hacked. I was not the only recipient. People from the Mission to Seafarers and the Anglican church (which is affiliated with the Mission) also were sent this email. Hi None of these names are people I dealt with after her death.
Alison left her luggage at the hotel, after arranging a placement for lunch, and set out for a walk through the village. Part of this walk was beside a river, along a tow path. The river was in flood and the banks were soft. No witness saw the incident but the official inquest concluded she slipped, struck her head and ended in the water. She drowned. Her body (which was seen floating in the rushing current) was retrieved hours later on the shore of a small island.
The bridge, just off Broadgate, where Miss Boyce’s body was first spotted
I'm sure we all ponder whether or not we might get messages from the dead. If Alison has any hand in this, I suppose I should sign up to that site. My mother (sister to Alison's mother) was of a supernatural bent. She, and her sister and brothers, as children, once lived in a haunted house - a fact the family accepted. My mother was adept at - or afflicted by - automatic writing, to the point she became frightened and would have nothing further to do with it. I think if anyone would contact me from the other side it would be her. So far, not a peep.
However, I don't believe in coincidence. I can understand that I am more susceptible to thoughts of Alison at this time of year. Were I to hear a whisper, or see a fleeting shadow - or even have a dream- I would accept that I am the one who instigated it. If this message had appeared in mid-July or some other arbitrary time, I would more easily dismiss it. But I feel that, for some reason, there is a little stir from the Otherside. Prompted by what, I do not know. Telling me what - I perceive no sense nor order. But perhaps my mother, who never lived to see an email, has not yet got the hang of automatic writing.