The September after Noah died, on what would’ve been his second birthday, we found ourselves at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. How we did it, I don’t know. I remember waking up in the B&B we stayed in and walking out onto the little deck. We quietly said “happy birthday Noah” into the wind.
The faire was a nice time mixed in with some crippling moments of little boys running around dressed in their pirate outfits. We scanned the crowd for one that looked like Noah. We’d always see one little dark haired, blue eyed, chubby cheeked, stocky bodied boy with the sweetest grin. We would usually spot this doppelganger at the same time and give each other a look. “Look, a little Noah,” and we would just watch him for a few seconds. It was a hard punch in the gut and a sweet stroke on the cheek simultaneously.
We were in those early days of desperation. We looked for signs everywhere we went. We lived for signs. We lived one sign to the next. Souveniers with his name popping up in gift shops, dragonflies buzzing around, others that only made sense to us. We became curious about a path we hadn’t tripped down yet. The fortune teller. The psychic. The gypsy. Could someone really tell us if he was ok? If he can hear us or see us? If we would ever have a child again?
As I tried on a brocade corset, because that’s what you do at a renaissance faire, we chatted with the owner of Ye Olde Corset Shoppe.
“Are any of those psychics over there for real?” Hal asked as he gestured towards “Mystic Row” or some cheese-filled name like that.
“Actually, there’s one guy that kinda blew my wife’s mind,” Corset Guy said. He told us not to bother with the four others sitting in their tents. That this one guy was the real deal.
We were so afraid to start down this path. I didn’t want false hope. I didn’t want to piss off God. We were really clinging to our Judaism. We were going to temple, reading Jewish books for any kind of comfort we could find. We decided we would try it. Just this once.
We waited our turn at the tent of Robert Moyer (RM). He looked a lot like The Ghost from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir tv show. He wore a Carnac the Magnificent-like hat, a white puffy shirt and gold rings. There was a little sign of his services. Palm reading, tarot cards, and runes. Hal went first. He sat down in the simple chair and I stood behind him. RM bowed his head and said a little benediction as he held Hal’s hands in his. My rememberance of it all is a little spotty but I remember the most important revelations. We did the tarot and palm reading combo. He started by telling Hal he had two children. Hal said no. RM was confused. RM laid out the tarot cards. There was a card that showed a flaming tower with people falling off, waving their arms and screaming. Chaos. RM said something traumatic happened this past summer. We both inhaled. RM asked again about children and Hal still said no. RM seemed like he couldn’t continue. Whatever it was had him halted in his thoughts. RM told us we’ve been together in three past lives. It started to feel very intense and real and important. RM again asked about children.
Hal and I looked at each other. “Tell him,” I said. I felt very strongly about not saying a word because I really didn’t buy all this psychic stuff to start with. I wanted to really see what RM could pick up on.
“Tell him?” Hal confirmed.
RM looked at first confused and then as we told him what happened to Noah, tears were in his eyes. He was having a hard time holding them back. He was saying how sorry he was and he just knew there was something and how awful. It began to feel more like a therapy session than a parlor game or fortune teller trick. He told us we had lost children each time we were married in our past lives. Once by sickness, once by water, once by freak accident of some sort. Noah’s death was predestined. It was unavoidable. Somehow it would’ve happened. I found this comforting at the moment and six years later, I still want to believe this.
Next, I decided to get my tarot reading. We still hadn’t told RM too much else. RM repeated the benediction, holding my hands.
“Your mother is standing behind you. She is right there. Clear as day.” I hadn’t told RM my mother had died 3 months before Noah. I told RM she recently died also and he assured me again she was close by.
RM asked what my question for him was. “Will we have a child again?” I asked.
I was terrified of the answer and I think we all knew that we were going to believe whatever RM told us. This was the moment of desperation. I think Hal and I knew Noah was ok. Wherever, however, whoever…that our Judaism gave us that comfort. But we needed to know the future. It was the only way we could go on with the present.
RM’s word’s were cryptic. I think even he was a little confused by them. He said we would have another child. Just one more. I would give birth. But there would be more to it. He’s not sure exactly how it would happen but it would. We were confused and asked for assurance again. I guess in retrospect it gave us the courage and determination to enter the fertility world we never thought we’d have to enter. After all, RM said it would happen.
Through the next two and a half years until Miriam was born, we would sometimes say to each other, “remember what the psychic said.” We never went to another psychic as much as we were tempted. Not only did we not have the money to spare, but what if someone told us something completely different? It was not a path we wanted to go down. In our travels, we came across a few support groups that had some opportunistic psychics that were looking to communicate with your dead child for you. It was so disturbing. I’m sure most of those parents were at their lowest, wanting to hear anything. I know that for a fact because, some days, we are not so far away from being those parents again too. Even six years later, something can trigger those earliest days.
Last year we went back to the Renaissance Faire. With Miriam. And there he was. RM was in his tent. Puffy shirt, Carnak the Magnificent hat, gold rings. We had to wait quite a while. He was having a very long reading with two ladies. Lots of discussion and questions, it seemed. We watched from the dirt path and thought about how we would explain all that’s happened. Would RM remember us? Hal was finally able to get his turn to quickly tell him our news. I waited on the path with Miriam in her stroller. RM was even more hard of hearing than he was in 2010. Hal basically yelled into his ear amid royal trumpets sounding and jousts nearby, “You were right!” Hal gestured to me and Miriam and I waved. RM looked thrilled and surprised. I saw RM and Hal shake hands and we mentally crossed that important thank you off our list.
Was RM the real deal? I still don’t know. We have this image of us being married in three different lifetimes. Beshert is the Hebrew word… “the one intended for you”. We have the theory that there was nothing we could do to avoid losing our child. That’s comforting in a tragic way. RM gave us the gift of hope. Is that a psychic ability? Doubtful. All of us have the power to give hope and validation to others. And you don’t even need a puffy shirt.