Phe: Chapter 1

Hello, friends. I haven’t been posting as regularly but it doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. This summer has kept me busy writing for a church I supplied for and other things.

Over the past 2-3 years I’ve been writing a story and have decided to share some with you. It is a novella called “Phe and the Work of Death.” It is about a spiritual presence who helps souls transition at the end of life.

I welcome your comments and feedback! If you’re interested in more, please let me know and I happily will share.

Peace, Mary

Phe: Chapter 1

That’s me, there, in the corner of the room. You’d have mistaken me for a pile of fluffy white towels, generic to any hotel room. It’s time for me to rest, hidden in plain view, until the police and coroner finish their business. At this point, I’m always too tired to leave or take the next run. Over the years I’ve become an expert at finding forms more natural to the setting in order to hide, for on one of my first runs I mistakenly rested as a banana tree in a forest in Wales. That gave the locals a good puzzle.

My name is Phe, short for Phoenix but pronounced “Fay.”

This run for me was pretty typical: I had come for an 83-year-old woman on holiday, visiting family. It was peaceful. The family had spent the past three days visiting and enjoying being together after five years of no visits. The kids were busy, the grandkids even more so, and the woman didn’t like to travel alone. This time she made the extra effort, though, even ordering a car all on her own from the airport. This morning they walked along the shore and had ice cream for breakfast. The grandkids were delighted and the children shocked. This wasn’t the mother they remembered. She was different, somehow, more playful.

She had come back to the hotel to take a nap before dinner. That’s when I arrived. She lay down and closed her eyes for the last time. I floated near her, watching her spirit lift. The threads holding her soul to her body were turning silver as they gently broke.

I had manifested earlier in the week in order to travel with her to the shore. She was uncertain about the flight and I wanted to watch over her. I had chosen a manifestation that resembled a childhood friend of hers. We smiled at each other on the bus to the airport and then I managed to be in line three people ahead of her at the cafe. She smiled and waved, not really knowing why.
Not-so-miraculously we were seated next to each other on the plane. I introduced myself, deciding “Susanna” felt like a suitable name this time, and told her how much she reminded me of my grandmother, God rest her soul. In no time she was telling me about her childhood friend Susan and how much I reminded her of an adult version of this most beloved companion. I asked her to tell me more and the next two hours were filled with stories of giggling girls, first kisses, naked swims at the shore, and lost necklaces. She giggled and cried and apologized, “I don’t know why I’m telling you all of these things, you, a perfect stranger. I haven’t thought of them in years.”

“That’s okay,” I told her, “I have that effect on people and I love to listen.” She gave me a grateful smile; I suspected she felt I was indulging her.

At the end of the flight, we hugged at the gate. She cried again: confused, relieved, embarrassed, grateful. I told her it was a true pleasure and that I hoped to see her again. She didn’t know then that I would come to her in four days’ time.

The only thing I wondered about was why her husband hadn’t made this run with me to be her companion. After twenty years of being apart, I would think he would want to be the first one she would see. Having never been married, or in love, or human, I can’t begin to pretend to understand their emotions or reasoning. Truthfully, I find humans to be a bit of a novelty, a curiosity. I don’t understand half of what they do but find them very entertaining. From what I knew, a safe assumption would be that her husband would come with me but no instructions were given to bring him along.

These are my favorite runs. There’s no real sadness here. She spent the last six months packing her mementos, spending several minutes with each item, remembering the people and places that made them special. The rest of her belongings she had organized into piles to give away, to throw away, or to donate. As she travelled she had been aware that this was likely her last time seeing her family. She made sure to tell them how cherished they were, beautifully and wonderfully made. She had brought a special gift for each of them from her belongings, something she thought they would enjoy and keep. She was proud of herself, her children, her grandchildren, and her life.

As her soul lifted and she turned her face to me, she recognized me from the plane and whispered, “A familiar face.” I smiled at her and took her arm. As I sent her on, ahead of her I could see a faint shadow—the husband. He had come after all.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. A Owen says:

    Thank you for making this available.

    My husband lived with memory loss for many years. Covid happened and although his behavior changed in significant ways, we could not see our specialist or PCP. Both were in the Emory Health Care System and all visits were virtual. Near Christmas time, my husband and I were both seen by our internist. I’m skipping over many events.

    The bottom line: he had metastasized brain and lung cancer multiple melanomas from loving the sun and life-guarding through-out high school and college. A family member found an assisted-living facility and we hurriedly moved. Hospice came on board. My beloved husband lived four months. It was a gift to be by his side every day. I was blessed to lay beside him holding him, sharing our memories and love for each other and for our God. He died at 6:37 a.m. April 5, 2022. Grief is hard. Loneliness is often more than I think I can bare. Moving again is difficult. His sweet service dog is comforting to me despite her own anguish and grief. God brings each new day to celebrate with sunshine, rain, trees, birds and all that was created for each of us, God’s children here on Earth. I am grateful for fifty-seven years of marriage to this good man and our children, grandchildren, friends and especially to my Lord and Savior. I’m thankful for laughter, tears, and the quiet support notes and cards and gentle touches bring every day.


    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. It helps others see they are not alone in their grief and experiences. The first year is difficult, so continue to be gentle with yourself.


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