There’s another angel in heaven right now, as my friend Cheryl Dawson Castillo makes her way to the next stop on her spiritual journey. She lived 59 years on this earth, yet she had a much older soul.
Cheryl lived in my guest house for two years in the mid-1990s, and it was due to her guidance, and sometime her firm hand, that I learned many lessons. She taught me to listen more to my heart, and she helped me to open up to my intuitive capabilities. And mostly she taught me how to play. Cheryl could predict future events (or so she said), a talent I was very skeptical about when I first encountered her. When my daughter was 12, Cheryl told me Angela would be leaving our house to start a new life on her own in a couple of years. I thought she was downright crazy, and I remember getting very upset with her at the time for telling me such a ridiculous story.
In spite of our different approaches to life, we had grand adventures together. One road trip had us visiting various sites in Arizona and New Mexico. As we left the Desert, we stopped to see my friends at Chiriaco Summit, and they gave us each a souvenir 50-gallon hat to wear on our adventure. I wasn’t sure where we would use them, although I knew they would come in handy at some point. They were so big, it was impossible to wear them in the car, so most of the time they were stowed away in the back end of the Jeep, where they took up most of the storage area.
One of our stops was at the quaint little mining town of Jerome, Arizona, where the streets, and some of the floors in the buildings, slant downhill. This town had a real cowboy vibe to it, so we put on our 50-gallon hats and entered one of the local bars to get something to eat. We had to go in the swinging doors sideways to keep our hats on. At that time, I was a smaller white woman and Cheryl was an abundant, sassy black woman. To say that we got stares, as we navigated the downward slanting floor in our obscenely large hats, would be a gross understatement. It was a blast, since both of us actually liked making people a little uncomfortable and getting them out of their comfort zone.
We stayed at The Enchantment Hotel in Sedona, an area of Arizona that Cheryl loved, and where her life would ultimately end. Visiting the Painted Desert in the Petrified Forest, being tourists in Santa Fe and meeting the people at the Taos Pueblo were highlights of that adventure.
On another trip, I rented a suite in Newport Beach, where I was working on a book, and Cheryl came to inspire me. OK, that’s not really true. She came to play. The facility was a lovely refurbished older hotel located directly on the water. Cheryl complained every morning that there were a lot of male ghosts coming and going out of her room at night, and there was very high sexual energy. As usual, I rolled my eyes and thought “Yeah, right.” At the end of our stay, as we were checking out, the clerk asked how we liked our rooms. Cheryl relayed the story about the comings and goings in her room, as I looked on with chagrin. The clerk said, with an absolute straight face, “Well that makes sense. The room you were in was one of the old brothel suites in the hotel.” Cheryl looked over at me with that “I told you so” look. Nothing more needed to be said.
Cheryl moved from my home to Catalina Island to marry the love of her life, George. They held a beautiful ceremony on the bluff overlooking the Avalon Harbor, and Cheryl was radiant, both inside and out. Sadly, we all returned three years later for George’s memorial service, when he passed away from brain cancer. Cheryl wrote about her love affair with George in a story titled “Love Lost and Found,” which is published in one of my books, Courage of the Soul.
Cheryl died in Sedona, Arizona. She let me know the last time we spoke that she was happier than she had been in a long time.
She was an avid traveler, and she loved to cook – mostly because she loved to eat! She adored her sister, Robin, and she loved her Mom and Dad. And she felt a special kinship with her nephew Brandon. She saw that inner spark in him (that perhaps others missed) and she had great hopes for the light that he would ultimately bring into the world.
I will miss you, my soul sister and my earthly angel. I know you are in Heaven’s hands.
And by the way, two years after Cheryl moved to Catalina, my daughter approached me, at age 13, with the request that she be allowed to move away and go to a boarding high school in Claremont, California.
Cheryl had obviously wanted to prepare me for that inevitable event, and I know that was a large part of why I was able to let Angela go.
Yeah, Cheryl was right again!