I love you my Carolyn – if you’re listening

Carolyn Dalla-Vicenza 1999 Carolyn in September of 1999 with her little dog, Puggy.

I have to preface this little true story by saying that I am not a ‘believer’ of anything supernatural. I can always figure out a logical reason for something happening that seems to be ‘unexplainable’… except for what I’m about to share with you.

My daughter Carolyn passed away at the age of 25 on November 17th of 1999. It was a horrible tragedy. Carolyn suffered from anxiety attacks and took medication for it (Ativan) for most of her short adult life. She travelled a fair bit from the age of 22-24 and would often call me from far away places because her heart would be racing and she would usually claim that she had already taken more Ativan what she was supposed to take to alleviate the problem. Generally I would talk to her on the phone (at great expense in those days) to try to calm her down enough to continue with her day or to go to sleep depending on when she called me.

At the time of her death, Carolyn had recently moved back into our home (I was with my now late-wife Joanne at the time) to get out of debt because she had decided that she wanted to become a nurse. We had relatives that had moved into Coquitlam BC a couple of years earlier (where we also lived) and Carolyn had taken a particular shining to Mary-Anne (Mares) her ‘new’ relative who was a nurse. After talking to Mares about her nursing occupation, Carolyn had decided to become a nurse so that her search for a rewarding career was over… but first she had to be debt free to start moving towards getting student loans etc.

Carolyn had recently been to the doctor to get more Ativan prescribed to her but her regular doctor wasn’t in. Instead the one on duty questioned her frequency of using this drug in rather harsh tones. She came home crying to me, “Daddy, am I an addict?’ I told her that I didn’t think she was an addict but that it may be best to try to find an alternative way to calm herself down if this was concerning to a doctor.

On her next visit to her regular doctor he prescribed her something else but at this time my memory fails me as to what it was that he prescribed. She still had some Ativan left however…

On November 16th, 1999, I had left for work at about 8:00pm. As I left, Carolyn gave me a hug and kiss and said, “I love you daddy – I’ll see you in the morning”. That was the last time I was to hear her voice and feel her touch.

That night while I was at work, Carolyn and Joanne had some ‘girl time’ and during that same night (at her insistence), Carolyn’s ex-boyfriend had come over to visit. He stayed for a little while but explained to Carolyn that he had ‘moved on’ and hoped they could still be friends. In retrospect I know Carolyn had hurt him badly and for him to come over was actually a big move on his part.

Sadly, Carolyn would have no part of him ‘moving on’. When she went to bed that night, I later heard from the police reports that she had phoned her ex boyfriend multiple times pleading with him to reconsider. Of course, Carolyn’s anxiety went through the roof. Not only did she take the Ativan, the toxicology report stated that she also had the other drug in her. Obviously she couldn’t settle her heart down and was desperate. The outcome was, she basically died in her sleep.

Leading up to that date, Carolyn had been working as many jobs as she could to pay off debts. One of them was at a nightclub working as a hostess. One night she came home bawling her eyes out. Apparently there was a girl who worked there who claimed to be a ‘psychic’. Up until that particular night Carolyn hadn’t talked much to her…she was simply a co-worker. However, on that night they had more of a heart to heart about life and felt a bit of a bond together. As they went to leave at the end of their shift the girl extended her hand to Carolyn. When Carolyn touched the girl’s hand, the girl recoiled in horror. Carolyn asked her what was wrong… but the girl would only shake her head and wouldn’t say anything and started crying. As Carolyn explained it to me, the girl looked at her like she was a ghost. This terrified Carolyn and she came home wondering what this ‘psychic girl’ saw. She cried for quite some time over that and it took a bit of coaxing to get her to calm down.

A little sidebar now. A year or so earlier, on one of Carolyn’s many trips throughout the world, she took a job with her girlfriend Shauna in Japan at a ‘Gentlemen’s Club’.  Basically the girls are there as ‘eye candy’ for the Japanese businessmen and are expected to serve them drinks etc and sometimes sit at the table with them as they have their ‘business meetings’. As twisted as it sounded, she assured me that it was fairly innocent and the men never approached the girls in any demeaning or sexual way.

While there, Shauna and Carolyn had met a guy one day from southern Japan who had a connection for North American people to teach English to Japanese students. This was exactly the type of job they were looking for, so excitedly Carolyn and Shauna took a train down to southern Japan to have an interview with the company. The interview went very well and they were told they could have the job, so Carolyn and Shauna wanted to celebrate. They were staying in a hi-rise apartment for the night (much like an AirBnB style of place but in 1998…) and they bought a bottle of wine to share on the balcony.  From the balcony, they were watching some type of community parade go by down below.

Having been in gymnastics for most of her life, Shauna had a bit of a ‘daredevil’ streak in her, and was sitting on the railing of the balcony which was a few floors up from the ground. For some inexplicable reason, Shauna suddenly yelled to Carolyn, “Hey watch this!” and pretended to push herself backwards on the railing. Something terrible happened  – she lost her grip and Carolyn watched her best friend plummet to her death! Carolyn phoned me immediately screaming about what she had just witnessed. What can you say except, “Please come home!”. Shauna’s mother flew to Japan to retrieve her daughter’s body and Carolyn flew back to Vancouver with her to be with Shauna’s mother throughout the funeral preparations etc. Carolyn’s heart and soul were absolutely crushed.

For months after that, Carolyn would speak of odd things happening in her own apartment. She would come back in after going to the store and a picture would be moved from where she left it… she swore up and down that things moved all the time; but with me being so pragmatic, I always let her know that it probably didn’t actually happen and that the trauma she had gone through was playing mind-tricks on her. She kept saying, “It’s Shauna dad… she comes to me in my sleep – she said I’m next!”. My words helped very little to comfort her.

For a little back story, the reason Carolyn travelled so much in the last few years of her life was because she had put herself through a travel tourism course in downtown Vancouver. During the curriculum they were encouraged to travel as much as they could afford to see the world. After she had completed the course, I obliged financially as much as I could at the time.

One day after school Carolyn asked me, “Daddy, do you know a musician named Ian Cameron?’ I assured her that I did although at that time I barely did know him… only that he was a talented musician in the bustling Vancouver club scene. She then said, “A girl in my travel-tourism class ’Tilde’ is Ian’s wife. She’s given me a ride home a couple of times.” I replied dismissively I suppose as this was somewhat interesting, but considering I hardly knew Ian, Tilde was even much further down on my acquaintances list.

The reason I mention this is for what follows:

About 9 months after Carolyn had passed away, Joanne (my then wife) was sitting at her vanity in the bedroom applying makeup as we were to be going out somewhere that night. Suddenly Joanne burst into tears and I asked her what was wrong. She said, “It’s the little things that sometimes get to me. I just had my haircut but if I ask you how it looks, you’re always going to say that it looks great because that’s the way you are…” Sobbing, she continued, “Carolyn would tell me if it actually suited me or not. I trusted her opinion….”

I comforted her as best I could and we went out for the evening as planned without any further talk about it.

About two days later, the phone rang at home and I answered. The female voice said, “Hi is this Mick?’ I assured her that it was and she replied, “ This is Tilde Cameron, Ian’s wife. Could I speak to your wife?”

I handed the phone to Joanne. I must again preface this next part with; Joanne had never met Tilde in her life. As Joanne talked to Tilde, I saw her slowly turn white and she started to shake. After about two minutes, she said ‘Thank you” and hung up the phone.

I asked her what was wrong. This was her reply:

Apparently, Tilde had gone to a psychic reading hoping to talk to her deceased father. During the reading, the psychic asked Tilde if she knew of a girl who had passed away in the past year and gave her a basic description of Carolyn. Tilde apparently said, “Yes I know that girl I think…”

The psychic said, “She wants you to call her mother and tell her that her hair looks great…”

I can explain many things logically but this incident happened almost 25 years ago at the time of this writing and I have no words…

I love you and miss you terribly my Carolyn (if you’re listening…)

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