In the comment section of "I'm Going To Kill You", several wondered if I had ever felt Hank's presence after his mysterious death thirty odd years ago. I promised to write it up and submit it.
Before starting, I want to tell you straight up - I'm not 100% sure how much of the following is paranormal, and how much was 'wishful thinking'; meaning if perhaps in my hurting and missing my friend, my mind simply manufactured it. All I can do, is present you with the facts as I remember them. Keep in mind, at the time in question, I did carry a sense of guilt over his death, and felt responsible for it to some degree.
The first time I felt Hank's presence was the day he died. As I said in the first account, Hank was a very, very big man. Even compared to the average person, he was huge, while I stood on the other end of the spectrum - at 4 foot ten, he quite literally dwarfed me. Sometimes, in jest he would palm my face, the way some guys can palm a basket ball. For some weird reason, he thought that was hysterical. That night, as I sat quietly weeping and whispering that I was so terribly sorry, that I shouldn't have gone to work, that I should have protected him better - I felt that gigantic hand covering my face, and heard him calling me 'Li'l Bit', the way he sometimes did. This gave me some sense of comfort, I wanted to believe that he didn't hold me accountable, even if I did, and he was ok.
I sensed Hank again, during the memorial/fundraiser we were having for him at that bar I had mentioned. At his usual spot sat a glass of his favorite beer, and black streamers had been strung to frame his picture, going from the bar and down to the stool, so no one would accidentally sit there. Some folks added flowers, or candles to help mark his spot. There was a song Hank would sometimes ask me to sing, at times when the bar would be fairly empty, except for the regulars, called "Siúil a Rún" (sounds like "Shoo la rul"). The verses are in English, but the chorus is Irish. I'm not a great singer, but sometimes I would just to make the big man happy. I don't remember who was the first to suggest that I sing it that night, only that several joined in the asking, and how much Hank would like it. So, I did. I looked over at where he usually sat, and I could have sworn for just a glimmer of a minute, I saw him there, slightly turned towards me, as he often did, with his easy going smiling, his eyes half closed, nodding as if to say, "Oh, yeah..." For just that moment, I could have sworn I really did see him. I know it wasn't his picture either because the BACK of it was facing me.
I guess it was almost a month later, when his family decided they had to clear out his townhouse and put it up for sale. His mom "just couldn't" and I understood that. I was asked to accompany his older brother. Of course, I hadn't told them what I suspected, that perhaps Hank had been killed by a ghost, or even that the place was haunted. That just isn't something you drop in someone's lap, especially someone who is grieving. But it also is not something you just let someone walk into blindly. No, you at least walk with them. So, I found myself there once again. Broad daylight, with some lame excuse already given as to why I had to be home before night fall. I SO did not feel good about it... However, I felt duty bound. I was also relieved to find his brother was bringing two friends along to help things go quicker. I wanted it to be in, out, done.
It was almost anticlimactic; no doors banging without reason, no scary voice - nothing. Unless you want to count the guys thinking I was a bit nuts for insisting we stuck in pairs. Of course surrounded by his things, I felt like Hank was there. The kitchen was askew - drawers pulled out, some dumped on the floor, cabinets hanging in various arrays of openness. But other than that, nothing really untoward. His brother was not impressed to say the least. Did you guys know I'm one of the world's fastest packer/cleaners west of anywhere? Neither did I, but I'm pretty sure I set some kind of record. When we left, I was bringing up the rear, the guys carrying the last of the boxes down the stairs. I didn't see what happened, but I heard the brother exclaim, "Whoa! That was weird!" Once outside, door locked tight behind us, he said he felt himself misstep on the stairs but he also felt as if something suddenly steadied him. Imagination? Maybe. Or maybe Hank was looking out for us.