Suzanne Giesemann answers the question

What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?


Suzanne, Ty, Gretchen, and Rudy

Wow, hearing that question, it's very hard to pin it down because there have been so many gifts of niceness throughout my life, and I hope that everybody feels the same way. But thinking about it, I feel that the things that stick in our mind the most are memories that have strong emotions attached to them, and to get to my story of the nicest thing anybody ever did for me, a non-family member, I need to give a little bit of background first. 

On September 11, 2001, I was the aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I was a Commander in the U.S. Navy, and I was in the air with the Chairman, in the last aircraft in U.S. airspace at that time. We had to turn around and return to our office building, The Pentagon, on the day it was attacked. 

Suzanne and Ty's sailboat,

So I had some very strong emotions with that day, and that day showed me life is too short not to live your dreams while you can. So when I was eligible for retirement with exactly 20 years of service in the Navy, I retired so that my husband and I could live our dreams — and our dream was to sail off into the sunset on our sailboat. We were both sailors. So we did it. We sold our house. We sold our cars. We put all our belongings into storage and off we went for several years, sailing and enjoying an idyllic lifestyle. We actually sailed across the Atlantic Ocean — that was a major milestone and a dream of ours. 

We were sailing off the coast of Croatia, when we got word that we needed to call home. It took us a day to get to an island where we could find a phone. We called home and got the worst news that any parents could ever get, that my husband's daughter, Susan, my stepdaughter, a sergeant in the Marine Corps, had been struck and killed by lightning crossing the flight line at work. 

Suddenly, all of the things I basically ran away from on 9/11 — the tragedy, the pain of so many lives lost — caught up with us and we couldn't run away from that anymore. So we had to get back for her funeral, and we just found a place to put the boat in a marina. We didn't speak Croatian and we had to explain to this man, "We don't know when we'll be back. Our daughter has died. Just keep an eye on things.“

We found our way back to the States taking ferries, buses, taxis, planes. It was an ordeal and we were numb, and the whole week was a series of kindnesses by strangers, certainly by those in the Marine Corps, the way they took care of our family in our greatest moments of need. But we had to get back to the boat eventually. So a week later, we made that horrible long trip in reverse. It was a transatlantic flight from North Carolina, but it had taken us 26 days to sail across the ocean. But now we flew back again and we flew into Venice; that was the routing. Then we had to catch a train through Slovenia on our way to Croatia; it was ridiculous routing, and the trains went on strike. We were not able to focus. We weren't able to think straight. All we could think is that our whole life had come to a grinding halt. 

Ty with his daughter Susan

Somehow we ended up finding a bus to take us where we had to go with the trains on strike, and then we got a ferry. It’s now the final leg of this ordeal; maybe our life can get back to some semblance of normalcy, even though we knew it would never be normal again with Susan across the veil. What's really important to realize is now I am a medium. I teach classes in mediumship, but at that time in my life, I had no idea there was a greater reality. I was praying for Susan to make her presence known to me — and along this trip, she was doing so in ways that I wasn't quite sure at that time was her. 

But getting back to this trip, we ended up getting off a ferry in Croatia for the final leg of the trip. We needed a taxi or we needed a bus and basically we were dumped out in this parking lot and there was nobody around but this tow truck. We had to get back to our boat. We didn't speak the language. We were exhausted. We were numb from the grief. I looked over at this tow truck and I said to my husband Ty, “Well, that's our only hope right there.” I don't know what we're going to do because this was before cell phones, this was 2006. 

So I approached the tow truck driver and I said to him in English, “Can you give us a ride?” He didn't understand me at all. I just thought, What am I going to do? and I thought, Wait a minute, I speak a little Italian, and I tried my Italian with him, and lo and behold, this guy spoke about as much Italian as I did. He was able to understand that we needed a ride and we needed to get to this little town in Croatia. He looked a little bit put out, like, "Why am I going to take these two Americans?" But I was begging him. I said, "You're our only hope." And he said, "All right, I'll take you." So he pointed to our bags and in Italian he said, "Just throw them on the back of the tow truck." It was one of those flatbed open trucks, and he took our luggage and he had to strap it down on the back because the back didn't even have sides. And he pointed to this suitcase, this black bag that I had about this big, and he said, “E quello (and this one too),” in Italian. I said, “No, that bag stays with me.” He didn't argue but he was making it clear that this was a little bit of an imposition. 

So our bags were strapped down and we climbed in the cab with him. So here's this driver; here I am squeezed between him and my husband, my legs up against both of them with this bag on my lap. And we get going and I'm trying to make small talk. I'm trying to explain to him that our daughter had died and that he was doing a great kindness to us. But I don't think that he really understood what I was saying. After about 15 minutes, I realized that I needed to take care of something and I reached down to this bag and I unzipped the top of the bag and out pops our little dog's head, our little Rudy, who you might be able to see across the room there lying in that bed. In 2006, he was just a year old. He's almost 16 years old now. 

Of course, he's our little boy and he had to go with us on that trip. He made the whole trip with us, trains, planes, ferries, buses, taxis, transatlantic flight, comforting us the whole way. I don't know how we would've made it without that dog, and so of course we weren't going to put him in the back of the tow truck. Well, when his head popped out of that bag, you should have seen that tow truck driver — his eyes went open wide and suddenly his heart opened. What is dog spelled backwards? It's God. It was that connection with the heart that spoke every language there is. It was that soul connection. 

All of a sudden he became human. We became human to him. And all Rudy did was just sit there and be as cute as could be. We began talking in Italian and I tried to explain more about what a favor this man was doing for us, and I think he finally understood. At the end of that ride — he drove us well over an hour — instead of just dumping us in some nearby town, we were able to communicate exactly where we were going. He drove us directly to the marina, into the marina, and dropped us off right at the dock. 

That was the kindest thing anybody ever did for us — in our greatest moment of need where we would have been stranded, when we didn't know what to do. He followed, I know, the nudging of the soul. And I know now that our daughter Susan was there the whole time. When I look back at that trip... we had a layover in Venice in the hotel... and there's a memoir and a documentary about our whole story on YouTube called “Messages of Hope” — and you see the magical things that happened on that trip. One of them was that in that hotel on the layover, I was reading about the afterlife and how those on the other side send us signs when they're around and the TV in the hotel room went on by itself. 


At the time, I couldn't explain that. That had never happened. Now, I know it was a sign from Susan. After we got back to the boat and got underway, a butterfly followed us at sea for two whole days. A butterfly swarmed around our boat, visited me on a trail the next day. So many magical signs that I didn't recognize at the time were soul-to-soul communication. Now I teach people how to notice those signs. But I know that that man was in the right place at the right time, that somehow Susan's spirit was orchestrating all of this with the Great Spirit that brings everything to us when we need it at the right time to let us know we are never alone — even when you think you are. 

So I'm just grateful for the signs that we all get. I'm grateful for that man being in the right place. I'm so grateful to our little dog, God, Rudy, for being that little ambassador of hope at our greatest time of need. So the nicest thing anybody ever did for us is very clear and I'm just so grateful.

Man's best friend (and reading companion)

Suzanne Giesemann is a Messenger of Hope and the founder and teacher of The Awakened Way℠ — a path to knowing who you are and why you’re here. She is a former U.S. Navy Commander who served as a commanding officer and aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11. Today, Suzanne provides stunning evidence of the existence of Universal Consciousness and our interconnectedness.

Suzanne is the author of 14 books, including Messages of Hope: The Metaphysical Memoir of a Most Unexpected Medium... Wolf's Message... Still Right Here: A True Story of Healing and Hope... and In The SIlence: 365 Days of Inspiration from Spirit.

She has been a keynote presenter for numerous organizations, including Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, the Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies, the Afterlife Research and Education Institute, and the International Association for Near-Death Studies.

She has led weekend retreats at well-known spiritual centers, including Omega Institute, Lily Dale Assembly, The Monroe Institute, and Unity Village. She has written and narrated the popular Mediumship series of Hemi-Sync® recordings.

Suzanne’s gift of evidential mediumship has been tested and verified. Her work has been recognized as highly credible by noted afterlife researchers and organizations.

Whether in her books and CDs, her classes and workshops, her Messages of Hope Unity Online Radio show, or her one-on-one sessions, Suzanne brings messages of hope, healing, and love that go straight to the heart and illuminate the light of self-awareness within.

Click here to visit Suzanne’s website.

Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 23: Beyond the Veil Summit