Transcending the Reality of Death from Judgement and a Lifetime of Suffering


MERE months before my teenage son will die of terminal cancer, in the summer of 2014, my eleven-year-old daughter approaches me with an unlikely proposal.


“Can I create a social media account for Captain Jack?” she asks with a sparkle in her ocean washed eyes.


Captain Jack is our beloved tabby who exemplifies the swashbuckling “cat”-itude of his pirate namesake, Captain Jack Sparrow.


Without pause, my response is resolute, “No, absolutely not!” I don’t want my children interacting with strangers on the internet.


And isn’t a cat account weird?


“Why not Mom? Many pets are on social media and Jack is so handsome,” she cajoles.


With striking green eyes, brown tabby stripes and pristine white gloves and shirt, I cannot deny that Captain Jack is indeed a cat hunk.


“I follow some cat accounts like Estebancat. It’s really harmless,” chirps Noah from the couch where he is resting and recovering from chemotherapy treatments for recurrent Ewing sarcoma cancer.



Noting the matching glimmer of enthusiasm in Noah’s eyes activates my Achilles heel. After previewing several hilarious and seemingly harmless pet accounts, I concede. But the novelty of Captain Jack’s online presence soon diminishes with my daughter.


I never would have guessed on that summer day in June 2014 that I would assume the role of administrator for Captain Jack’s social media platform! And in that moment, crazy cat mom was birthed as the universe cackled in glee.




“What do you think of today’s post?” I ask Noah several weeks later with a touch of self-satisfaction piercing my voice.


I can see the stifled amusement mirrored in his blue eyes as he reads my latest post. A photo of the Captain’s big ‘rabbit’ toes is captioned with, “So I thought I would be a rebel on #TBT and make it “Toe Back Thursday.” I end the post with one of my signature hashtags: #demtoesdoe. I’m feeling rather smug in my cleverness.


We both laugh at my corniness; it ripples through the stifling hospital room, clearing the stagnant air and bestowing a lightness that has been absent prior to this exchange.


Another day, I post more paw shots with the caption, “Beware the claw of the Paw-Father… oh no you didn’t… oh yes I did. Talk to the paw #TheClawedAndTheBeautiful.”


After reading it, Noah’s voice is laced with wry amusement, “Oh my God Mom! Do you even know what hashtags are for?”


Of course I do, I’m a savvy cat account mom, aren’t I?


Startled, I realize I actually do not know the true purpose of hashtags. I’ve been using them as funny punch lines in all my posts; it adds to the flavor and humor which we so enjoy.


“I guess not! What are they used for honey?” I confess, chuckling despite myself.


Rolling his eyes dramatically, Noah groans, “You are crazy Mom. Hashtags are used to easily find other posts of a similar nature on social media but all yours are so wonky that you’re the only one using them. No one will ever find Jack’s account with your hashtags!”


We both roar with laughter at my misconception.


In my defense, Captain Jack’s account was my first experience with social media; I am a very private person. Albeit one who was now enjoying the anonymity and creativity of being a crazy cat mom on the internet.


The universe winked in knowingness.




As time passed, Captain Jack’s account continued to offer us all something totally unforeseen – a light note in the heaviness of Noah’s diagnosis with a terminal illness. That summer and fall, we interacted with many kind and compassionate cat lovers around the world as we posted each of Jack’s zany adventures. Several became friends, including a quirky lady named Jane from New Zealand.


But my son’s devastating progression of disease, which had begun less than three years prior, could not be halted; the cancer was merciless in its savage assault.


In early December 2014, my oldest child and dearest love died at home after an excruciating two months of rampant disease consumed his young body like the conflagration of a fire in the center of a drought ridden forest. I was left stranded in that charred space, singed and burned, wishing the gluttonous fire had devoured me as well.


Soon after Noah’s death, I confided my feelings of helplessness to my new social media acquaintance, Jane. We conversed about a wide range of topics and I came to regard her as a trusted confidante. Sometimes strangers provide an unassuming shoulder to cry on – ones without judgement, attachment or expectation. It was liberating in my sorrow to simply allow myself to just be raw and unfiltered; there was nothing to prove and nothing to lose.


Jane was an artist who encouraged me to use the written word and photography to creatively express my grief. This approach resonated even though I had never dabbled in writing or photography in the past.


But it was still the early days of grief; I was clinging onto a delicate precipice, fingers slipping as the cold, icy grip of suffering took over.


One question began to consume my every thought, “Was Noah alone and lost somewhere deep in the void, somewhere I could not help or find him?”


And that’s when I discovered Jane had a very special gift. She could communicate with spirit and had a knowing which enabled her to tap into energetic frequencies over the distance that separated us.


Never in my life had I experienced anything like this.


“I can see him clearly, Dawn,” Jane’s text reassured me. “Noah is a free spirit in every sense you can imagine; he is more than okay and wants you to know he is flying high. I have an image of a Peter Pan like figure - he is happy and wants you to be as well.”


I never questioned how a stranger I had never met – and who had also never met Noah – could connect with his spirit. Accepting her reassurance with a wildly beating heart, a spark of hope flared deep inside.


My boy was safe.





Recently, I received a rejection letter for one of my stories which, while disappointing, was not unexpected. But it was the reason cited for rejection which weighed like a brick on my heart:

“This is an interesting story but the piece is missing the human element…”

This sentence screamed at me – missing the HUMAN element. What is it to be human? The dictionary defines human as “relating to or characteristic of human beings or people, as distinguished from animals…”

For some reason this really hit home for me (even though I am sure the editor did not mean it in this context). Do you see why? It was like these words were inferring, “Hmm this isn’t real, it lacks something – suffering, injustice or shock value.”

Has injustice has become the norm? The human story?

I get it, I really do. But guess what? Despite the total disregard for humanity so disturbingly and blatantly reported in the news every single day, this story contains another truth.

And I wish it were many people’s truth – that a total stranger can lift another soul up using their heart and compassion as a compass and not their pain.

So if this resonates with you as well, you may be interested in what this story, my human story, is really about:

1. How humor can transmute dense energies even under the most desperate of circumstances;

2. How social media may be used to “consciously” connect with others. In society’s rampant use of negative news to distort our very perception of the world, this story reveals another perspective: when we use all mediums with authentic power and conscious decision, great unification and loving results are possible; and

3. The possibility of changing the reality of death as a judgement and lifetime of suffering for those left behind into something else.

I for one feel this is the HUMAN element that many stories are so lacking in the media today.

Strangers can be good <<GASP>> and that’s what we need to remember deep in our hearts.

So this is my challenge to you should you choose to accept it: create the change we all desire by generating an act of consciousness each day. Every minute we all have the option of making a 'conscious' choice born of compassion and love or to allow the energy of fear to color our actions. I chose conscious choice.

Are you with me?

PS stay tuned for PART II

Wishing you all love and light,

Dawn xo

BSc | BEd | Reiki Master | Writer

Dawn Williams is a Reiki Master in the Usui Shiki Ryoho/Tibetan Reiki Method of Natural Healing. Her work infuses Reiki with the Resonance of Symbolism & Intuitive Story. Open the Portal of Services to discover how to plug in to your own inner magic.

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Captain Jack and the Stranger: Unlikely Heroes Part I
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4 thoughts on “Captain Jack and the Stranger: Unlikely Heroes Part I

  • October 10, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Beautifully written Dawn! I want more!

    • October 10, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      Thanks so much for reading Braunwyn; Part II will be published next week. Stay tuned for more… 🙂

  • October 13, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    amazing.i love this Dawn

    • October 13, 2018 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks Rhonda. It’s heartbreaking, zany but true. xo

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