At some point in my writings on this blog, I had planned to share with readers some metaphysical experiences I have had in my life. Without editorializing about the below experiences, let me simply say that they are altogether true and that I have not embellished the stories in anyway.
My father died the day after Valentine’s Day in 2000. During the last week of his life, I had had an urgent need to be with him. When I called him the day before he died, he told me that, if he were not able to communicate later, I should take him to the VA Hospital in Milledgeville, “if it has to be,” he had said. I thought that was an unusual request. My father had had medical treatment at the VA in Atlanta, but not at Milledgeville. The Milledgeville VA was where incapacitated veterans were housed for long-term nursing care. I called my brother. We made a plan. My brother would travel to our father’s home several hours away, and then transport our father to Macon. I would travel to Macon to receive him, and take our father to the VA Hospital in Atlanta. My brother would call me as soon as he arrived at our parent’s home, so that I could leave immediately for Macon.
I was in a doctor’s office awaiting the call from my brother. I could not get my father out of my mind, so I opened the Bible, in that office, to a random page and the verse I read was, “Do not fear, he has his son to take care of him.” I do not remember where in the Bible that verse appeared, other than it was from the Old Testament, but later it would prove to be prophetic. My brother and his wife arrived at our mother’s and father’s home 30 minutes before my father died. My brother was trying to get his car ready to transport our father, but his wife, a nurse, told my brother that it was too late, and that he should just be with his father. My father was no longer able to talk, but he had made a valiant attempt to walk to the bedroom’s adjoining bath to relieve himself so that he did not soil himself in his bed although he had been told simply to relieve himself in the bed. He made it to the bathroom floor where he fell, doubling over. My brother ran to him and cradled him in his arms. When the medics arrived, our father’s pulse had just stopped. The medics took him to the hospital where he was put on – and then taken off – life support. He was 80 years of age when he died. I was enroute to be with him, when I suddenly felt the same icy coldness I had felt when my infant son, Tom, had died. I called my brother to confirm what I feared had happened. It was true. I drove straight to the funeral home to be with my father’s lifeless body. The funeral director said I could have as much time with my father, alone, as I needed before he was embalmed. I spent an hour with my father and said my farewell to him privately.
My father’s death affected me deeply, but I could not weep. It was as if I had been frozen numb by the experience. About a month later, I had a dream in which I believe my father’s spirit visited me. In that dream, I was, again, a child of 11 years of age. My mother was in the kitchen of our home. My father was seated on the sofa in the living room. I had my head on his shoulder as he read to me, with his arm around my shoulder. Then, as I saw my mother move in the dream, I realized that she was actually alive presently, and then, somehow, I realized – in the dream – that my father was not presently alive. I looked at my father in the dream and I said to him, “You are not alive, are you, Daddy?” and he said to me in the dream, “No, honey, I’m not.” But he had a sweet, knowing smile on his face that showed he was proud of me because I had figured out – even in that altered state of dream consciousness – what was really true and what was only the dream.
I had felt, in that remarkable dream, as if I were in several realities, or dimensions of reality, at one time. I was simultaneously a character in a dream as a child (my past), an adult actually dreaming the dream (my present), and the all-seeing narrator/observer who could step out of both roles (and outside of time) and ask my father to acknowledge for me that, although he was alive in my dream, in fact, he was not alive in the the conscious, or awake, reality. When I awoke, I could not stop sobbing because I had experienced the same emotions that I had felt for my loving father when I was eleven years old. I felt, on a visceral level, that I had lost him forever. My husband comforted me. That dream had been the vehicle through which I was finally able to release my deep, deep feelings for my father. I believe that is why my father’s spirit had chosen to come to me in that dream – so that my pent up emotions could finally be released – and for the gift of that final visit in which we shared a profound consciousness, together, with love.
My father’s brother had died seven years before him. I loved Uncle Paul very much. He was dying with cancer. I had told him in my last phone call that I was coming to visit him and I asked him to hold on as long as he could for me to arrive. We made it in time to his hometown, but I made one wrong decision. My father, who had seen his brother the previous month, asked me not to go by the motel where we would be staying, but to drive directly to his brother’s home. I felt that we should call before heading to my uncle’s home so I chose to detour briefly to the motel to make that call. On the way to the motel, I felt that same eerie coldness I had felt when Tom and my father had died. My cousin, Frank, told us to hurry from the motel because Uncle Paul was going fast. It was as if Uncle Paul knew, on some level even though he was semiconscious, that we had gone to the motel instead of to his home, and he just could not hold out any longer. As we arrived at the street where his home was, Frank said that Uncle Paul had died just seconds before. I was compelled to rush up the hill to his room. I rushed in. His brothers, my uncles, were at the foot of his bed. My sobbing was uncontrollable. His wife, my Aunt Kat, placed my hand on his still warm arm so that I could touch him, as I had wanted. That gracious and perceptive act by my wise Aunt Kathleen will always be appreciated by me. I kissed my dead uncle’s cancer-ravished face. I knew, without a doubt, that Uncle Paul’s spirit was still in the room and that he was observing me. My aunt said to me, “He held out as long as he could.” Uncle Paul was not alive, technically, when I arrived, but his spirit was there with me. A few minutes later, the people with the body bag arrived to take his body away. He had held on until I had gotten there.
Once when I was visiting with my mother and father in their home, we experienced a common dream. I was in my thirties, at the time, and my parents were in their fifties. The next morning one of us described our dream to the other two, and we each, in turn, acknowledged having had the very same dream. I still remember the dream we shared although the three of us were in separate bedrooms. The dream reminded me of Plato’s version of reality. We had dreamed that actual reality was above us – in the heavens – and that what we here on Earth were playing out, like puppets, was simply a semblance of that greater reality. In our dreams we felt that actual reality, in other words, was outside of the Earthly realm of consciousness. I described to my parents the stars I saw above me in that dream, and they said that they, too, had seen those same stars in their individual dreams of the night before.
When my daughter was about ten years old, she and I shared a dream during the night. We, too, were in separate rooms. Upon waking, for some unknown reason, we decided to describe to one another the dream each of us had had the night before. To our amazement, our individual dreams were exactly the same dream.