Nurses spoke of seeing a middle-aged woman who showed up each day, sat at the same table, ate her lunch, sipped some coffee, and left several hours later. After several weeks, speculation centered upon romance – that perhaps a kind doctor struck so profoundly, she returns every day, hoping to meet. Or, may she was hoping to remember. Unless one asked, no one knew the actual reason.

Completing some technical upgrades, I decided to grab a ‘medium’ ice tea before returning to corporate. The cafeteria is by no means a five-star restaurant. For one thing, it’s missing wait staff. There’s no fine table clothes, no wine glasses, or hors d’oeuvres. Our cafeteria never had such amenities. However, the food was damn good. Cafeteria staff serves some of the best eating available in the neighborhood. So much so that families come to eat. Sliced prime rib, juicy half-pound hamburgers, freshly butchered Italian sausage, or some old-fashioned meatloaf entices one and all. Others are lured by homemade, hand crust tossed pizza or Shepard’s Pie (with a slice of freshly made Soda Bread). Breakfast is usually a wonderland of freshly squeezed orange juice, over-easy eggs, homemade yogurt, and hash browns. Come early enough, one might snag some stuffed waffles loaded with fruits, veggies, cream cheese, or proteins.

“That’s a $1.62.”

“Huh?” I fumbled after snapping to reality. “Yes, ma’am. $1.62.”

“Uh-huh,” she chuckled.

As I left the cashier station, I stopped momentarily. And there in the corner, just as nurse after nurse reported, sat a fifty-ish-year-old woman.

“Is she here every day?” I asked the cashier.

“Uh-huh,” she chuckled. “Every day, since June 29th.”


I walked to the corner of her table. “Is that a brilliant blue sky turquoise?”

Coming out of a trance, she found herself searching for words, “I’m sorry?”

“Oh, I am sorry. I did not mean to disrupt your train of thought. I saw your necklace and was wondering if the stone was a brilliant sky blue turquoise?

“Why, yes it is,” she confirmed while gently touching her necklace.

“Kingman Mine?”

“Why, yes,” she replied. “How did you know?”

“My parents lived in Tucson and for years we’d window shop Indian-made jewelry.” The Kingman Mine produces some of the most brilliant sky blue turquoise. Such stone has little to no markings, webbing, or matrix makings. As a result, near-perfect rocks can be precious and highly sought.

“Carl,” clearing her throat, “My husband gave it to me for a wedding anniversary,” her voice trailing off.

“Hey,” I interjected, breaking her thought. “Mind if I sit for a few minutes? I have to head back to the glass castle in about ten minutes, but it would be nice to share some tea and chat.”

“Pull up a chair,” as she straightened her hair. “What is the ‘glass castle?'”

“Oh, that’s the nickname we labeled our corporate office. They recently built several buildings, 30 stories tall, all synchronized in tinted windows. We call it the ‘glass castle.'” Leaning in a little and lightly whispering, “Some claim it has a secret elevator for the President, but no one’s verified it. Yet”

We quickly exchanged backgrounds. Cancer took her husband a few months back, and she came to the cafeteria because, just like others in the neighborhood, they found solace in the food. Within the dining room, the walls, and the people, the world was held at bay. Not even cancer that struck her husband could control them. “You know what?” she whispered. “I’ve seen him. He keeps wanting to bring me a dog.” She laughed at the notion and mentioned if she told anyone, they would institutionalize her. I shook my head no, confirming many experience similar events.

People have described ghostly strangers, friends and neighbors, and dead loved ones throughout history. Visitations have occurred at home, in offices, on beaches, and on isolated roads. Experiences range from dreams to vague feelings of being touched to one person describing a deceased relative sitting in a favorite chair. Taxis have reported picking up passengers who’ve disappeared halfway through the ride. Some visitors arrive and sit for morning tea.

What matters is that after great loss, it’s fairly natural. In part, those remaining had little to no time to say goodbye. And when strong attachments have occurred through life, it’s inevitable that the deceased find difficulty in moving forward until closure occurs. In the far east, death is nothing more than a variant of life. It is not an end. Food, prayers, and rituals are tributes to the lost, who in turn, replenish remaining loved ones with love.

Replenishment can occur even when offering a dog. People are a lot like animals, they tend to visit those who are lonely. According to mysticism, when a cat enters another’s home, it is trying to fulfill a mission in that person’s life. This mission would be to remove negativity and restore joy. So, in my newfound friend’s case, maybe her husband hasn’t transitioned because she remains excessively lonely. To counter that, deceased lovers and animals alike often offer another, hoping that that animal (or person), might bring comfort and keep the person company.

Those remaining here must allow those who’ve departed to move forward. Of course, each visitor understands being loved. However, we must understand the importance of telling our loved ones of our success, that we are ok. For instance, somewhere in American, someone just passed an important certification test. Another relative might have gotten a promotion and another made a commitment of marriage. The lesson these visitors (and God) teach is to remain committed to living, a commitment to life.