On Friday, May 29, my dead grandmother had a message for me. My deceased grandfather too, apparently. My other grandfather, who passed away when I was 2 years old, was also there, as was a cat and a male who died suddenly. At least that's what Thomas John, the star of CBS All Access' The Thomas John Experience, told me during a psychic reading.
Here's my truth: I am a skeptic. I do not believe my grandmother, who passed away in 2017, came through from the spirit world to tell me I'm on the right track with my career. Did I tear up when Thomas John started asking me about her? Yes. Did he correctly tell me she had a rather lengthy and upsetting battle with Alzheimer's? Yes.
That wasn't the only thing Thomas John told me that gave me pause and brought on a few moments of, "What if..."
During the 20-or-so-minute reading, I was enthralled. I supplied yes or no answers when I could, conscious not to show too much emotion or provide too many details he could go off of. This wasn't a "gotcha" reading/meeting, I am and was genuinely curious about psychic mediums and how they work. This was my first reading and I had no idea what to expect.
Regarding my two grandfathers, Thomas John asked if my father's father had chest issues, something with the heart or lungs. That's a rather common ailment in older men with cancers and heart disease rampant. My grandfather had COPD. He told me he sensed I had spent more time with one grandfather rather than the other, which was true given my maternal grandfather's passing early in my life, and that my dad and his father were close. Thomas John had a vision of a coin collection—my dad wasn't able to explain this when I later asked—and a basketball, which spooked me a little. My grandfather's basketball games were legendary at family gatherings.
My paternal grandfather had a message for my dad, to know he was with him, and Thomas John told me he was getting a name with "H-A-R." My first thought was, "Well, yeah, my last name is Harnick." And then he asked if his name was Harold or Harvey? And yes, reader, it was Grandpa Harvey. Thomas John also said he got an "S" name from my maternal grandpa. His name was Stewart. So, yeah, you can see why I was getting pulled in.
A few of the things he said about my grandmother also tracked. Thomas John said we were close, that she was involved with my upbringing, which was true. She watched me quite a bit growing up. I have incredibly fond memories of being at her house on Friday nights while my parents went on their date night. When my mom went back to school, my brother and I spent a lot of time with her.
My grandmother wouldn't let my brother watch MTV but allowed me to watch it when Whitney Houston's music video for "I Will Always Love You" was on. At night, Grandma Pauline would have a glass of Miller Genuine Draft (MGD) and a bowl of Bachman pretzels. Always MGD and always Bachman pretzels while she watched her recorded soap opera. Her hamburgers always had a ton of garlic powder in them. She would make us drink the milk out of our bowls of Honey Bunches of Oats, always keen on not letting anything go to waste. Once, she made a cucumber salad that was simply sliced cucumbers with some kind of creamy dill dressing. When I told her I liked it, there was always a bowl at every family gathering.
Thomas John asked if my grandma liked children, if she was warm. I waffled on that answer. She had eight kids, but according to my mom she wasn't the warmest parent. Her relationship with her grandchildren was much different. Thomas John knew she didn't have a formal education and said she was thought of as wise by us. Wise is one way to describe it—she was cranky. We used to call her Crabby Road, like the comic strip, an association she welcomed. But she had her warm moments, with me specifically.
When Thomas John asked if we talked on the phone a lot, I immediately said no. She wasn't much a phone talker, but after our reading I remembered a very specific conversation. Once, while I was away at college, she called me out of the blue. I assumed something was wrong, but it was just a brief checking in conversation. She ended the call and asked if I was dating anybody. She said it didn't matter if it was a woman or man, if they were black, white, yellow, purple or green, all that matters is my happiness. Hearing this from a woman I revered, two years before I came out to her, was important. When I did eventually come out to her, she again asked if I was happy and if so, that's all that matters.
So, when Thomas John told me my grandma is with me as my spirit guide, and all I had to do was think about her when I was struggling with something, I welcomed that notion. Do I believe in the afterlife? Not really. Do I like to think there's something out there after all this, something peaceful? Yeah, it's a nice thought.
And I have been thinking quite a lot about my grandmother during the pandemic. Would she have been one of the many nursing home residents to die from the virus? What would she, a woman who had a bumper sticker that read, "More trees, less Bush," during the George W. Bush presidency, think about Donald Trump's time in office?
At the end of the reading, Thomas John told me my grandmother said a property decision would be positive and he was seeing the number eight. The week before the reading, my partner and his brother began discussing homes outside the city and sending listings back and forth in private. They never publicly discussed the search. That, I admit, spooked me a bit. But was it just a guess based on my age?
While I do not believe my grandma, two grandfathers, a cat and a mysterious male who died suddenly were speaking to Thomas John, some of the things he said would've taken a lot of research to uncover. Regardless if he did a deep-dive or was merely taking stabs at societal norms—I am 33, of course I'm always thinking about my career, buying a home generally happens for most people around my age, and it would be rare if my none of my grandparents had passed from common ailments—I enjoyed the experience.
My reading brought up fond memories of grandparents, memories from childhood I haven't thought of in a while, of simpler times when people could see family members and embrace without worrying about passing a potentially deadly virus. These memories made me laugh, and at least for a moment, wiped away the harsh realities of 2020.
The Thomas John Experience is now streaming on CBS All Access.