A night with Theresa Caputo

For an early Christmas present, Tuesday evening I took my mom to see the Long Island Medium.  If you’re unfamiliar with this New York dynamo named Theresa Caputo, she’s a mid-forties married mother of two that talks to the dead.  Having recently passed the threshold where more people know her than not, she is touring the country giving group (really large group) readings.

Long Island Medium is an addictive guilty pleasure.  I love watching it every Sunday, mostly for the cathartic cry that, for me, happens every show. Since I have a tendency towards believing in the supernatural anyway, it’s not hard for me to totally believe in Theresa and her abilities.  She’s not a psychic and she’s not trying to read the future, she’s a medium and she’s bringing messages of comfort and healing.

Seeing her in person after watching her show was like being in the room with an old friend.  She is vibrant and familiar.  She races around in her sparkly unbelievably high heels reading people in the audience with her familiar vocabulary (validate, anyone?) and infectious laugh.  I think my mom really wanted a reading but with more than 1,000 people in attendance we both knew that was a long shot.

When she explained that what we were all going to get was an experience, and that we would all hear what we needed to hear even if we didn’t get read, I’ll admit I was a little skeptical.  But as she moved through the crowd telling people that their loved ones were OK and sharing things with them that not even the most talented “cold reader” could know, it did become an experience for me that I won’t soon forget.

As Theresa shared messages with a young couple who had to take their three-month old daughter off life support after a tragedy, I watched the tension and disbelief drain from the face of the young father who had been coerced into attending.  Smiles and tears replaced his anxiety as he learned their daughter still knew of the things in their lives and that she loved them. When she spoke to two sisters about messages from their sister, mother, and father, she gave them a way to move forward together knowing they had their family with them in spirit, if not physically present.

Perhaps the most moving moment of the evening for me was when Theresa spoke with a twelve year-old boy and his mother.  The crowd was somewhat taken aback when at first he seemed to be giving her attitude.  She’d ask a question, he’d get lippy, she’d walk away, but she’d come back again. Each time with the puzzled look she gets on her face when she’s listening to “Spirit”.  The third time she returned she read for him.  Tears came to my eyes when his façade of toughness and anger disappeared as she said his dad was there.

She asked if his dad called him the miracle child (he did).  She told him his dad was there with him through all of his visits to the hospital and he wanted him to know how strong he was and to keep fighting.  His dad thought he had lost some of his fight after he passed on.  As it turned out, that child suffered from cystic fibrosis and had been really angry with his father for leaving him alone.  Adding details to their conversation that no one else could have known, she eased his pain and gave him the gift of believing his father would always be with him.  She ended with a gift of generosity no one expected.  She offered to bring him to New York via her fan club to spend the day with her.

At the end of the evening I left the Palace Theatre with two realizations. I believe Theresa is the real deal, but even if she’s not, I’m not sure it matters.  What she gives people isn’t a false hope in the future.  She’s not taking advantage of their grief.  She is giving messages of healing, hope, and love.  People feel better after they talk with her.  You can watch years of tension leave their shoulders and faces. The other realization was about myself.

I am blessed. True, I have lost people in my life that I have cared about – some under tragic circumstances, but as I watched these people experience forgiveness of self and peace in their souls, I knew that I was already in a good place.  It would have been wonderful to talk to the mother of my God-children, but I know she sees how I love them.  It would have been amazing to hear the code word my pawpa and mom shared said aloud, but I know he’s with us anyway.  I walked away knowing that I didn’t need messages from the other side to know that the people I loved still love me and watch over me. What an awesome gift.

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