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Goodbye To A Princess


We have known our neighbours, Dean and Miriam, for over fifteen years. A loving couple in their seventies, they had been together for close to fifty years. Miriam was everybody's sweetheart. A Princess, beautiful, generous and caring.

Then came the heartrending news that Miriam had late-stage pancreatic cancer. Miriam fought the cancer for as long and hard as she could. She once told me that it helped to stay mentally positive and strong, mainly for Dean's sake. Rex had regular chats with her, telling her of his own cancer battles, giving her his support.

Baking was one of the activities that gave Miriam solace and she did a storm of baking for everybody during that period. When we were all in pandemic lockdown, she even made a rich chocolate mud-cake for my birthday. That was so like Miriam, always thinking of others. Another time, Rex and I were surprised with two fresh sultana muffins for afternoon tea, and there was the wonderful fruit cake we got for our anniversary.

Dean and Miriam decided that they would get married that year. A celebration of their life together and a lovely memory to have and hold. Due to the Covid restrictions, their families in New Zealand could not attend, nor could they invite everyone in our apartment complex. Rex and I were the few guests honoured to be there at their wedding. I shall never forget the beautiful glow on the faces of the happy couple.

But late one night, seven months later, Dean rang to tell us that Miriam had fallen in the bathroom, while at the hospital for chemo treatment. She had cracked her skull.

The following day, while Rex was on the phone telling another neighbour about Miriam's fall, I was suddenly hit by a wave of stabbing pain in my heart. I had tears pouring out uncontrollably. My heart felt shattered, but the grief wasn't coming from me. It was someone else's grief.

Two hours later, Dean told us that Miriam had slipped into a coma. The hospital had moved her into palliative care and they were no longer administering a drip feed. It was not entirely unexpected, but still heartbreaking. Did I somehow tap into Dean's feelings earlier on? Or was that Miriam herself that I had sensed?

Rex went out to buy some ready-made meals for Dean. He was on standby to take Dean home from the hospital, so he could get some rest. I was alone at home when the phone rang. There was no caller ID. The display just said "Private" number. I immediately suspected a robocall from some scammer.

At the same time, I noticed the distinct scent of perfume. It was a classic musky fragrance, the sort an older woman would prefer. Something familiar. I was sure I had used the same perfume in the past, or smelled it on someone.

When I picked up the phone, there was no voice on the line, but I knew someone was there. I hung up. The scent lingered.

Just a few minutes later, it rang a second time. Again, no caller id.

On the third call, I picked up the phone and asked: "Hello?"

A woman, or a teenage boy, answered: "Hello? Hello?"

For a second, I had the strangest feeling that it could be Miriam. I asked who was it, where was she/he was calling from, but got no answer.

Suddenly spooked, I quickly said: "You've got the wrong number." I hung up in a hurry. The scent was gone.

Miriam never woke up from the coma. The next day, we heard of her passing from Dean.

An hour after hearing the sad news, an unknown caller with a "private" number rang one more time. Rex was ready to grab the phone from me as I picked it up. But the call disconnected the moment I said: "Hello."

That night, I looked through some photos I had taken of Miriam and Dean at their wedding, feeling heavy in my heart. A curious thought came to me of the mysterious woman I had seen last year in the basement carpark (refer: 'Of Sandalwood And The Ghost Month'). She had looked a lot like Miriam. Similar hair colour, hairstyle, height, but much younger. At the time, the image had seemed distorted to me, because the woman was really skeletal-thin. But she looked just like Miriam the last time I had seen her, when she was going through chemo.

A few days later, we met up with Dean for coffee. I asked Dean what had been Miriam's favourite perfume. One of them was Estee Lauder's Beautiful.

The moment I came home, I dug out the small bottle of Estee Lauder perfume I still had. Beautiful - that was what I had smelled during those phone calls.

Miriam's funeral service was simple and lovely. Covid restrictions in New South Wales had just been eased on the number of people who could be allowed in church, so more people could attend. It made a difference to be there in person.

There was a big bunch of beautiful white roses for the casket, sent by the company Miriam used to work for. One of her work colleagues and their supervisor gave moving eulogies, which brought tears to many eyes. The priest read the messages from her sisters and niece in New Zealand, since they were not able to be there.

Dean's son had problems lighting the tall church candle. It took a few attempts, but they finally realised that the wick was bent. There were a few chuckles and even the priest had a rueful smile. It was as if someone was being playful, lightening the general mood.

After the service, everyone who had been at the wedding ended up joining Dean, his son and daughter-in-law at the pub across the road from our apartment building. We had a few drinks and lunch, taking comfort in each other's company.

While the others went to get their food, there was a brief moment when I was alone with Dean. I took the opportunity to tell him about smelling Miriam's perfume and the phantom calls. Dean then revealed that around the same period, he had a missed call on her mobile phone. He didn't recognise the number and rang it back, left a message. Later, he found yet another missed call, but again, no message left. He still doesn't know who it was, or if it was just a wrong number.

About a fortnight later, Rex picked up a parcel for Dean at the post office, and then met him for coffee at the café downstairs. The parcel was Miriam's urn. Rex picked a table and set the urn on a spare chair.

All of a sudden, Dean was choked up. He showed Rex his phone, with his last photo of Miriam. At the same table, same chair where Rex put the urn. It was as if Miriam had just sat at the table with them. Rex told Dean that Miriam was probably with him, and Dean agreed. He been feeling Miriam's presence around, watching over him.

Perhaps these were all coincidences. But when put together in sequence? Really strange.

Goodbye, Princess Miriam. Gone, but never forgotten.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Jubeele, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Jubeele (25 stories) (882 posts)
3 years ago (2021-08-09)
Hi Fnaffan_jaylen,

This account was hard to put into words. We keep in regular touch with Dean - we're all still grieving. The sadness comes sometimes, sharp and unexpected, but we're helping each other and that makes a difference. Miriam was a gift of joy to everyone who knew her. She was a very strong-willed individual. Smelled perfume upstairs yesterday and thought of her. I've no doubt she was letting us know she was around. Thanks for reading and your kind words.
Fnaffan_jaylen (1 stories) (4 posts)
3 years ago (2021-08-05)
I was crying all of the first part of the story, I'm sorry you lost such an amazing friend.

It's safe to say that Miriam wanted to just be with you, Rex and Dean. Which explains lots of the second part with the perfume smell and callings that I believe are from Miriam trying to get in contact with you. Don't forget the picture Dean showed with her sitting on the chair where Rex put the urn.

I'm glad that Miriam has possibly been with you watching over,
Jubeele (25 stories) (882 posts)
3 years ago (2021-08-02)
Hi TheSweetDevil23,

Thank you for your kind words. It has been sad and difficult for everyone, but we're doing our best to help one another through this period, despite being in lockdown. We're comforted by the thought that our loved ones who have crossed are still with us in spirit, as well as in our hearts and memories. Best wishes to you and your loved ones too.
TheSweetDevil23 (6 stories) (49 posts)
3 years ago (2021-08-02)
That was one of the most beautifully handled sensitive reccount I had come across on this site. My condolences and wishes for praying for the peace of your friend's soul are there with you.
It reminds me of how my mother felt her father's presence around her after he passed away. She was going through so much yet dealt with it so gracefully.
I always believe that the ones who cross the rainbow bridge, never truely leave us. Their connection is there with us all the time.
Jubeele (25 stories) (882 posts)
3 years ago (2021-07-06)
Crimson T - Hahaha! Rex has been called a dinosaur quite a few times. He's been known to use rudey words on smart devices when they outsmart him.

Lady-glow - None of us were really prepared for her loss. She touched all our lives. But we've found that in helping Dean through this period, we're also helping ourselves come to terms with saying goodbye to Miriam.

Abuela Gloria is a wise healer, clever and well-loved. She also has many grown-up children and grandchildren to get up early and harvest her herbs, and even pick strawberries too. 😊
lady-glow (16 stories) (3144 posts)
3 years ago (2021-07-05)
Jubeele and RexT.

Dean is very fortunate for have such caring and close friends as both of you.


I hope my counterpart in your teddy bear story doesn't have to get up at 5:00 every morning to pick strawberries before it gets too hot.
CrimsonTopaz (1 stories) (234 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-26)
RexT and Jubele,
I've just realised I've been calling you a dinosaur RexT. Lol. Sorry, for some reason I keep reading your name as TRex and then spell check makes a bigger fool of me changing it after I correct it.
Being 'toe to toe' with Dean was something you both did and it's in the past. Don't feel guilty. He knows how valuable your friendship is and 'now' is what's important. You and your lovely wife are there for him and that's not only thoughtful and caring but it's selfless too.
Sitting at Miriams table isn't a coincidence in my opinion. Double whammy, the urn was placed on her usual chair. (She was there in spirit for sure) There was no way she was going to miss out on your get-together.
Rex-T (5 stories) (288 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-25)
Firstly to all, thank you for your kind thoughts and condolences.

Crimson Topaz,

I've known Dean for about 15 years and I can assure you that we started our relationship "toe to toe", staring each other down. The best way I can explain our situation is like T-Rex meets Shrek. It took two remarkable ladies (Miriam & Jubeele) to knock the macho BS out of us and we realised that our ultimate goals were the same.

Since then... Well, Jubeele has already described things better than I ever could.

One observation I will make about Miriam is that she was very concerned about leaving Dean alone and was determined to not give up and see out her chemo treatment. She endured more than what us mere mortals could withstand and I am not surprised that Dean feels like she is still looking after him.

For me, this very same feeling played out in the café when I put the package on the chair and Dean "teared up" and showed me a picture, from his mobile phone, of Miriam sitting in the very same chair.

I had no idea that this chair was Miriam's favourite spot in the café nor that the package was her urn.

CrimsonTopaz (1 stories) (234 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-25)
Jubele and TRex,
I'm sending my deepest condolences to you both and Dean.
Reading this was hard. I felt so saddened by what poor Miriam went through.
RIP Miriam. Hugs and well wishes to you and your husband. You are both very caring people.
Jubeele (25 stories) (882 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-23)
Hi Miandra,

Dean's doing his best. He's taken to counting the days since she's been gone. Told me that he hopes to feel more 'normal' after a few thousand days or more... We've got a few other neighbours doing what they can for him too. Everyone's checking on him regularly and keeping him involved with the community. It's good to look out for each other.

Our best to you and Faye too.
Jubeele (25 stories) (882 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-23)
Hi Melda,

We do miss Miriam very much. She made things better just by being around. Dean threw a birthday lunch on her behalf soon after the funeral, while his son and daughter-in-law were still in town. He had a portrait-sized photo of Miriam at one end of the long table at the bistro. It was as if she was there and we were toasting her. At one point, I felt a gentle warmth, like someone had given me a quick hug. I only had a sip of champagne at the time, so it wasn't just an alcohol glow. Curious, but comforting.

Great to have you back on YGS. I hope you've got everything sorted out in your new place. Our best wishes to you and the family.
Sleeping-with-steve (guest)
3 years ago (2021-06-23)
Hello Jubeele and Rex,

I hope you're both doing ok as can be expected.

I can't bare to see people in pain especially people like Mirium who fell and ended up in a coma as a result.

I feel for Dean, who must be at a loss without his beloved.

You are both very thoughtful, caring people looking Dean.

Best wishes,
Melda (10 stories) (1363 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-23)
Jubeele - What a beautiful and touching story.

Of course Miriam made her presence known, just to let you know that although she wasn't physically present, she was certainly with you in spirit. Not many of us are fortunate enough to have a "Miriam' as a friend and I'm sure you miss her terribly.

I'm happy that you and Rex are there for Dean.

Regards, Melda
Jubeele (25 stories) (882 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-22)
Sleeping-with-Steve - Oh no, I didn't mean to make you cry. Miriam wouldn't have wanted a fuss. She did her best to prepare Dean and all of us for when she was gone; that was the sort of person she was. In all those months, as she grew weaker and the pain got worse, she kept smiling and I never heard her complain. She taught us what it meant to be strong.

There are times, I can imagine Miriam smiling brightly and telling us: "All the hard work's been done, we're almost there."

RCRuskin - It was odd. I can still remember the image of that woman. But I didn't connect any dots until I looked at the wedding photos again. When Miriam was going through chemo, she lost so much weight and became very fragile. Like she was made of glass, almost 'transparent'. Just like that seeing that woman in the carpark. It might be I had a glimpse into the future of how she would appear.

Rajine - Some days, I still find myself thinking: "I must check on Miriam and see how she's doing today." Then, I remind myself that she's gone. But it might be that she's not really gone after all. It's comforting to think that somewhere, somehow, she still brightens the place with her beautiful smile.

Thank you everyone for all your kind words.
Jubeele (25 stories) (882 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-22)
lady-glow - Miriam was such a beautiful person. She had this special glow about her that came from the heart. We were blessed to have known her.

(Btw, you're the inspiration for a wisewoman in my latest teddy bear adventure story: Abuela Gloria 😘)

Manafon - Being a sensitive is a double-edged sword. That grief was really overwhelming and a bit scary. The last time I felt such heart-pain was when my father passed away. But I knew it was someone else's anguish. Rex was quite alarmed to see me suddenly so upset.

I think it's because we've known her for all these years, that it could have formed a connection between us. But not something I expected at all.

Valkricry - I was inclined to explain the incidents away as they happened. But months later, when I sat down and reviewed my journal, and thought about all of them, they were hard to ignore. Which proves the importance of keeping a journal...

You could be right about Miriam wanting us to keep an eye on Dean. Last week, it was past 11pm when we were woken up by a call from him. Dean had fallen on the floor and couldn't get up on his own. There were other neighbours nearby, but we were the ones he felt comfortable enough to ask for help. Fortunately, he was alright and apart from a bruised pride, nothing else was hurt. We're currently setting up a network of neighbours to be on hand for him.
Rajine (14 stories) (718 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-22)
Hi Jubeele

Condolences on the loss of your friend, I'm certain that she will always be around the people she cared about and will let them know in some subtle way that she's around.
RCRuskin (9 stories) (807 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-22)
May Miriam's Memory be Eternal.

And now that you mention it, it probably was her ghost in the carpark that you saw. I do not believe that ghosts, the spirits of our deceased family, friends, even pets and animals, are not bound by the limits of time and space.
Sleeping-with-steve (guest)
3 years ago (2021-06-22)
Hello Jubeele,

Oh my goodness. I sobbed through the first half of your post and when I finally settled down and continued reading, I couldn't stop.

I'm so sorry that you and Rex have lost such a dear friend.

My thoughts are with you at this time.

Best wishes,
valkricry (48 stories) (3256 posts) mod
3 years ago (2021-06-21)
I recall you telling me of this when it happened. You're right separately nothing too odd; but together in sequence?
In my mind, I think Miriam wanted to be sure you'd be there for Dean.
Manafon1 (6 stories) (712 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-21)
Hi Jubeele--Once again you present a compelling and sensitively written account. So many of the incidents you describe are straight out of "paranormal 101" that it seems almost certain that's exactly what they were.

I was particularly interested in the overwhelming sense of grief that overcame you which caused you to cry uncontrollably. I had a similar sense of emotion assail me when what I believe to have been the spirit of my departed mother paid me a visit. Whether you were somehow sensing Dean's grief or picking up a telepathic message from Miriam, your sensitivity provided a beacon that allowed the intense emotion to be conveyed.
lady-glow (16 stories) (3144 posts)
3 years ago (2021-06-21)
Hello Jubeele.

Thanks for sharing this sad, yet sweet experience of friendship and love. I'm certain that Miriam was thinking about you at the moment of her passing and went to see you one more time.

I'm sorry for the loss of such a nice friend.

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