On Good Friday, April 6th 2007, my beloved wife, Joy, succumbed to breast cancer. April 6th 2012 will be the first time since her passing that the calendar date coincides with Good Friday. In the five intervening years I’ve witnessed three miraculous “resurrections.” In Joy’s memory, I want to share them with you. — Jerry Weinstock, April 3, 2012
The 1st Resurrection
I have an unusual Easter story to tell. Some will find it miraculous; others blasphemous. Most will find it hard to believe. I can’t blame them. As a Jew born to Holocaust survivors, if I hadn’t experienced it myself, I’d have a hard time believing it. But I experienced an Easter miracle and I have to testify to it.
On the morning of Easter Sunday, 2007, I was still in shock after the death of my beloved, wife, Joy, on Good Friday less than 48 hours earlier. So I wasn’t prepared for the strange voice mail I received from an acquaintance who said matter-of-factly that on that Easter morning, lying in bed listening to the birds outside her bedroom window, she heard a voice say, “And on the third day she rose…”
This was yet another instance of the Easter passion that Joy’s last days on earth had been echoing.
On the previous Wednesday morning prior to Good Friday, Joy woke up from her first night in the hospital bed that hospice had brought into our bedroom and on which she would sleep for three nights. She told me that she had a poem in her head, and asked for paper and a pen. I propped her up in bed and she proceeded to write. When she finished, she told me she wanted her poem read at her memorial service, what she referred to as her “graduation party.”
Opening to Joy
I have not left you,
I did not die.
I will speak to you in the sacred silences
Of your days and nights.
Listen for my voice
And trust what you hear.
Ask your questions and I will tell you the Truth.
I look forward to sharing
All the wisdom I will be learning
From the Other Side.
So Open To Joy and let it fill
Every moment of your life.
Beyond my amazement that she was offering to be a “spirit guide” from the Afterlife, I was stunned by the significance of her action. I’d recently read about a tradition among Zen masters of writing a “death poem” before dying, and I was certain Joy had no way of knowing about it. I began to ask myself, Who is she?
When I met Joy, she had already lived a life filled with enough challenge and loss to have destroyed most people. But rather than crush her, all that pressure had, over time, forged a diamond-like jewel.
Joy was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, but her family moved to Los Angeles when she was ten months old, where she made her stage debut as Baby Jesus while her mother played Mary.
Joy’s mother was on a “spiritual quest” long before people knew what that meant. She had Joy baptized by Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science and the author of The Science of Mind. Based on metaphysical principles, this “New Thought” as it was called at the time, brought together religion, philosophy, and science into the quintessential spirituality which became the basis for much of the human-potential/self-help movement of the past half-century.
As a child in the Sunday School where her mother taught, Joy began studying the metaphysical principles which would help her navigate the many challenges that lay ahead, like the deaths of her first two children—her first at eleven months and her second at eleven years. Rather than becoming embittered by these tragedies, Joy used those metaphysical principles to find meaning in her profound loss and transform her unimaginable pain into yet another opportunity for growth.
In contrast to most parents for whom the loss of a child typically scars them for life, when I encountered Joy decades after her children’s deaths, she was the happiest person I’d ever met. A true embodiment of her name.
By Thursday evening, I hadn’t slept for several nights. I was so sleep deprived, I was afraid I wouldn’t hear Joy if she needed me. So I asked her son and daughter-in-law if they’d sleep in our bedroom and take turns being on watch while I slept on the couch in the living room.
Despite taking two sleeping pills, I couldn’t sleep. Not lying in our bed, not having Joy sleeping in the hospital bed next to me, allowed my mind to roam more freely than usual, beyond the immediate emergency of my death-watch.
Joy’s equanimity these past cancer-filled years, these recent terminal months, these past dying days, amazed me. She radiated courage, peace and love throughout it all. She never expressed fear or regret. There was some sadness at times, but on the whole she embraced her destiny.
Who is she? I found myself wondering again.
Neither her aging body nor the mutilation of her mastectomy diminished her confidence. She kept her looks and sexiness well past what was normal. I used to kid her that she must have made a pact with the gods to never grow old, and had a painting hidden in a closet that showed her looking her real age. She’d just laugh and explain that the secret to her uncannily youthful appearance was happiness.
Who is this woman?
Besides having been a secretary to Groucho Marx and Jack LaLanne, Joy had devoted more than fifty years to being an astrologer, appearing on dozens of radio and TV shows. She counseled over 5,000 clients (some of them famous). Among her many accurate astrological forecasts, she predicted that her rock star daughter’s song, “Take My Breath Away,” from the movie Top Gun would win an Oscar six months before it was even nominated.
Who is she?
Joy knew of more than a dozen past lives. She even investigated one in Colonial Williamsburg where she confirmed that in one past life, she’d been the unrequited love of Thomas Jefferson whom he called “Dear Belinda.”
I remembered her once telling me that she’d been initiated by a roomful of non-physical beings who had asked her if she was ready to fulfill her mission on earth to teach joy. This Council of Joy, as she referred to them, promised to help her awaken humans to their true spiritual nature.
Whoever Joy was, the echoes of Holy Week were unmistakable, and I felt certain her “passion” would climax during Easter weekend. Before falling into a drug-induced sleep, I scribbled these words on a piece of paper: “A goddess has walked among us! Her purpose is not Salvation but Celebration! Hers is not the Path of Sacrifice, but the Path of Joy.”
At dawn, I woke up in the living room disoriented. The first thing that caught my eye was a framed poster on the wall I’d made for Joy years earlier. In the style of a medieval manuscript, brightly colored illuminated letters read: ”Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.”
I hurried into the bedroom. Joy wasn’t responding. So began our last Good Friday. It would be filled with extremes—grief and exaltation, the mundane and the miraculous.
Over the next several hours, interspersed with reminiscences that made us laugh and cry, we sang at least a dozen songs, some of which Joy had requested for her memorial service. One of Joy’s favorites was from the Monty Python movie The Life of Brian. “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” was a hilarious production number sung by dozens of crucified men in Jesus-era Jerusalem. Joy had always loved the song’s outrageous satire mixed with simple yet profound wisdom.
During our vigil, we received an extraordinary email from a friend who didn’t know about Joy’s critical condition.
Dear Ones, during my meditation this morning, I encountered Joy in the White Marble Hallway of the BRIDGE between worlds. She was with her 7 Mentors and they were walking together and talking in a circle. Joy made a joke about the timing of this weekend and the idea of resurrection and Jesus’ wonderful demonstration of eternity.
Incredible. We were seven…in a circle…around Joy. The grace of the moment was palpable.
At one point, I felt myself irresistibly drawn to Joy’s labored breathing. I embraced her, putting my right cheek against hers, so I could be as close as possible. My eyes closed and my breathing immediately synchronized with hers the way it had thousands of times before. The only thing in my world became the rise and fall of her breath. The pauses at the end of each inhalation and exhalation grew longer. I began to experience a blissful state, as if in deep meditation. No words, no thoughts, just riding my beloved’s breath. I could have stayed there forever. I floated on Joy’s last breaths like on the waves of a great ocean. The space between breaths grew longer and longer and longer…until finally space was all there was.
Someone said it was noon.
I stayed with Joy as friends arrived throughout the afternoon and took turns sitting around her death-bed. Whenever I held her seemingly lifeless hand, I felt a surge of energy flow into me as if I’d touched a live wire. Over the next few hours I was “electrified” by this mysterious current whenever I touched Joy’s body.
Less than forty eight hours later, on Easter Sunday, I received that startling voice mail: “And on the third day she rose…”
The 2nd Resurrection
Joy may have risen into heaven but I descended into the hell of grief.
To understand the depths of my grief, you have to know that Joy and I were a “match-made-in-heaven.” In Joy’s memoir, LOVE EVER AFTER: How My Husband Became My Spirit Guide, she wrote about her conversations with her previous husband, Bob Lisker, after he died. From the Afterlife, Bob gave her a 12-Step program to find new love. She used it for six weeks and found me, making us literally a “match-made-in-heaven.”
After the exaltation of Joy’s Good Friday “graduation” came the devastation. In the weeks preceding Joy’s death, I saw myself tied to railroad tracks as a train bore down on me. As it turned out, the metaphor of a train wreck wasn’t accurate. A more apt metaphor was a “flood”—a tsunami that washed everything away.
At first I felt like a ghost in my life. Like the character in the movie The Sixth Sense, I’d died but didn’t know it. But as the days wore on, the enormity of what had happened caught up with me. Every day I discovered new ways I missed Joy. I felt such despair that I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t see any reason to go on living.
In the depths of my grief, I called out to Joy to help me. After all, she’d offered to be a spirit guide. If anybody needed one now, it was me. I pleaded with her to show me how to heal my unbearable grief?
I waited and listened. And then I heard a voice. From deep within I heard the words Fill your life with joy!
Of course! Without Joy, I had to fill my life with different kinds of joy. Easier said than done.
And so began my resurrection as Joy led me on an incredible journey to heal my grief. Through words, visions and dreams, she inspired and guided me on the perilous journey all who’ve lost a loved one must make through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, before they can return home from exile on Planet Grief.
And throughout it all, I wondered if I was delusional and possibly losing my mind. Perhaps in my grief I’d created a fantasy to console myself. Despite receiving countless confirmations of the reality of Joy’s continuing presence in my life, I continued to doubt. And then the most incredible thing happened.
Like the final scene in the movie Ghost—when Patrick Swayze uses Whoopi Goldberg’s body to kiss Demi Moore—Joy found someone, a willing medium, through whom she literally loved me back to life. And so began the most shocking and wonderful (and some might think blasphemous) resurrection of all.
It’s said that there’s nothing so healing as the human touch. Imagine the touch of an angel, imagine the touch of your departed loved one who wants nothing more than to comfort you in your terrible grief? Words can’t do this kind of touch justice. The word that comes closest is “adoration.” This touch invoked visions, triggered memories of our life together, and always sent me into shuddering ecstasies. I experienced an out-of-this-world touch which I call the Rites of Joy—a transmission of love from the Afterlife that heals the broken heart and soothes the shattered soul.
These Rites of Joy were holy, sacred and profoundly healing. Through this ecstatic, angelic touch, Joy guided me through the underworld of grief, healed me, and brought me back to life.
By the following Easter—one year after losing Joy—I had returned from exile on Planet Grief. Through the miracle of Joy’s love and guidance, I’d been resurrected.
The 3rd Resurrection
A few weeks after I completed writing my memoir, JOYride: How My Late Wife Loved Me Back To Life, I witnessed yet another miraculous resurrection. Joy’s stepson, Bruce Lisker, regained his freedom after spending twenty-six years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
In 1983, when he was 17 years-old, despite his pleas of innocence, Bruce was convicted of murdering his mother in their Los Angeles home and sentenced to life in prison. On August 13, 2009, after a federal judge overturned his murder conviction, a forty-four year old Bruce came “home” to live with me.
As I helped Bruce adjust to his newfound freedom, and take his first tentative steps towards rebuilding the life he had lost, I began to see the larger picture—the incredible unfolding of a miraculous chain of deaths and resurrections which ironically began with a murder.
Bruce’s father’s torment about losing his wife and his son, drove Bob Lisker—a conservative attorney, former Marine, and Kiwanis president—to attempt to contact the spirit of his dead wife to find out who killed her. This set the stage for the channeled communications Joy wrote about in LOVE EVER AFTER which included the 12-Step program Bob gave her to attract new love which brought Joy and I together. Weeks after completing my memoir about the delight of loving and the anguish of losing Joy, I became the “home” Bruce returned to after twenty-six years in prison to resurrect a new life.
Incredibly, a murder and miscarriage of justice has generated two firsthand accounts of life-after-death communication. I call these three miraculous “resurrections” The Joyful Redemption.
* * * * *
PS — April 9, 2012 I should have realized that something significant, even miraculous, would occur on Joy’s Good Friday Angel-versary. I think I experienced another Easter Miracle this weekend and I want to share it.
On Thursday evening, what I thought had been allergies suddenly turned into something more serious with 101′ temperature. I cancelled my Passover seder/Easter weekend plans and felt sorry for myself—not only would my Good Friday anniversary with Joy be spoiled, but I’d probably be sick for at least a week.
On Good Friday morning, with a 100’ fever and a stuffed head, trailing tissues wherever I went, I placed a 24-hour memorial candle in front of Joy’s picture. I’d wanted to spend time with Joy on this Good Friday anniversary of her “graduation,” but being sick, I also wanted to zone out and “kill time” by watching TV. I closed my eyes for a brief meditation and suddenly had an inspiration—why not watch a 2-part DVD of a “12 Steps to Manifest Your Dreams” workshop Joy gave in the summer of 2001?
I had tried several times over the past five years to watch it, but invariably after 5 or 10 minutes, I’d turn it off. It was both too emotionally provocative and too long—nearly five hours. I wasn’t ready yet and apparently it wasn’t the right time.
On this Good Friday, feeling lousy with a low-grade fever, watching Joy’s workshop seemed a perfect way to spend the day. With my laptop I relaxed on a chaise in the living room and settled in to watch Joy.
Tears soon filled my eyes when I saw the bandage on her arm that reminded me of the biopsy she’d had earlier that week, and that less than 24 hours before the workshop, she’d received the dreaded phone call from her doctor informing her that the results were positive and that she had breast cancer. Watching her enchant a room of more than seventy people that Saturday morning, you’d never know she’d just received such terrible news.
Since this is a PS, I’ll get to the point: I wound up not only watching the five hour workshop, I wound up taking it. Friday and Saturday—unshowered, dressed in pj’s, interspersed with naps and tea—I took notes and employed the 12 Steps Joy was teaching on my newest dream—Casting a LoveSpell Over the World.
By Easter Sunday, my fever was gone and I was feeling pretty good. Good enough, in fact, to take a sunset walk around the Lake, albeit slowly and with lots of rests on benches. In retrospect, my recovery seems miraculous. On Thursday evening, I was prepared for a week of being sick with a fluish-virusy whatever. By Monday morning, while I write this PS, I’m fine—as if I’d never been sick.
And now, with Joy’s help, I have new insights, tools and techniques with which to manifest my dream. So it seems another Easter Miracle occurred this special weekend of Joy’s Angel-versary when I suddenly got sick and had to retreat so Joy could give me guidance on how to bring more love into the world.