When our second son, Lance, was born, he quickly found the middle two fingers of his right hand served his well as a pacifier. His index and little finger extended straight up on each cheek creating the “hook’em horns” symbol made famous by the University of Texas at Austin. When his habit continued as a toddler, we would gently remind him he was sucking his fingers by saying, “hook’em horns,” and he would stop.

Lance was killed in a motorcycle accident on Memorial Day May 29, 1995, at age 25.

Two years later, his younger brother Sean married Jennifer and while they were expecting their first child, we were expecting our first grandchild. On a Friday in late August, I was in my office and got a call from my wife, Kathy, saying Jen was at the hospital in labor and there was some distress. More than 25 years prior, our son, Scott, had died 16 hours after birth so we both realized distress was a serious situation.

We made our way independently to the hospital and along the way, I spoke with Lance as if he were in the car with me and said that his brother and I needed his help to safely resolve this unknown distress. As I was to discover later, Kathy had asked Lance for the same help.

About an hour after arriving at the hospital, we learned that the medical concerns had passed and Devin Patrick Malone was welcomed into the world with no further distress – mother and baby were fine. A short time later, we got our first look at our new grandson.

Jennifer was holding Devin in her right arm and he was tightly swaddled in blankets. Kathy was standing next to the bed on Jen’s right side closest to Devin when he began to wiggle. After much effort and wiggling, unnoticed by most of us, Devin managed to free his right arm from the blankets and to Kathy’s amazement immediately placed his middle two fingers of his right hand in his mouth producing the tiniest “hook-em horns” symbol for all to see.

While I expect others could offer many explanations for these events, for us this was clearly a sign that Lance had heard his mother’s and my prayer and had interceded on his brother’s behalf to insure that his nephew and our first grandchild would arrive safe and sound.

While not life and death situations, we have had other signs that Lance is never that far away. Like many bereaved parents, I needed to know that Lance was “all right” so when the opportunity arose to have a private visit with George Anderson, the medium from Long Island, we jumped at the chance.

Knowing this field is loaded with frauds and carrying a big dose of skepticism, Kathy and I agreed that we would ask Lance in advance of our session for a sign during the visit that only he and we knew about in order to prove it was really him connecting with George. We also took all the provisions to maintain our anonymity until the moment we sat down with George.

About 15 minutes into our session, George tells us the spirit is saying his name is long and we answer “no” – after all, Lance is a short name. This argument goes on periodically until George says the spirit is sitting at a round table with other respected men. Like a bolt out of the blue, Kathy and I suddenly realized that when Lance was a toddler we used to call him “Lancerlot” (long name, King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable) and that he is using his nickname as the sign to prove to us it is actually him.

We left the session assured that it was Lance and I left knowing he was all right.

These signs and other connections all seemed to occur in the first few years of our grief following Lance’s death. This was also the time that we needed it most. As we have journeyed further down this road, they have become fewer to now none. This is in spite of my attempts every Tuesday and Friday to ask Lance to intercede on my behalf in the Mega Millions Lottery drawing. Apparently even the spirits have limitations in their ability to influence events in the world they have left.

Patrick Malone 2011 


Patrick T. Malone

Patrick T. Malone, a Senior Partner with The PAR Group www.thepargroup.com , has decades of experience in operations, customer service, and sales management. Before joining PAR as a senior consultant in 1989, Patrick worked in a variety of management roles including Vice President - National Sales Manager for American Greetings Corporation and The Scott Companies. As a key member of the PAR team, Patrick has trained and consulted throughout the world with a wide range of organizations including The American Cancer Society, Banfield-The Pet Hospital, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, DuPont, Ft. Dodge Animal Health, Hewlett-Packard, International Securities Exchange, Novell, Sensient Technologies, Siemens Medical, SOLAE, The United Way, and Verizon Wireless. His work with PAR clients has taken him to Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Spain, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia, France and China. A frequent speaker at industry, management and bereavement conferences, he has presented and spoken before the Mississippi VMA and the Delaware VMA; the Frontline Forum at American School of International Management; Argosy University; the business schools at Kennesaw State University and Georgia State University; The American Society of Training and Development; and the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University, Iowa State University, Louisiana State University, University of Florida, University of Minnesota, Tufts University, Compassionate Friends national and regional conferences. Patrick is the co-author of the new business book Cracking the Code to Leadership http://thepargroup.com/crackingCode.html Educated at John Carroll University, Patrick is a member of the CEO Action Group of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Growth Council, Legislative Committee and the Professional Services Executive Roundtable. He has also served as the National Board President of The Compassionate Friends (TCF), Inc., an international support group for bereaved parents and is a former Trustee of the TCF Foundation. He also serves as President of LMMA Inc. www.looktwicesavealifebumperstickers.com, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation dedicated to motorcycle safety and awareness and is the host of the weekly radio show "This Week in Blairsville" Patrick served on the National Board of Compassionate Friends (TCF) from 1999-2005. He served as treasurer from 2000-2003, and was President of the TCF board from 2003-2005. Patrick and his wife Kathy reside in Atlanta, Georgia and are the parents of Bryan, Lance (1970-1995), Scott (1971), Sean and Erin(1974) and the grandparents of Shannah, Devin, Riley, Katie and Megan. Patrick may be contacted at ptm4936@aol.com Patrick appeared on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart to discuss Grief in the Workplace. To listen to his interview with Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link: www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley062305.mp3

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