Saturday, May 14, 2011

the visit

I would not call myself religious by any stretch of the imagination, although there was a time in my life where the church was a big part.  Circumstances beyond my control left me jaded, angry almost, for the god that was never there for me and I have yet to recover.  Maybe someday I'll share but for now this story is about spiritual things I cannot explain.

When I was in college I worked in the restaurant business.   Waiting tables and tending bar was both flexible and good money.  Shortly before finals one year a co-worker at the restaurant, Tall Paul, died in a car accident when he fell asleep at the wheel driving home from work one night.  It wasn't the first peer death I had experienced but his hit me hard.  I went to the services alone and was not truly able to process my grief because I had to focus on finals.  Once I moved back home for the summer, perhaps because of the slower pace of life, the sadness of it all started setting in.   I didn't really talk about it because I'm not even sure I was aware of it consciously.

One night early in summer I had a dream about him.  In this dream a few co-workers and I were sitting in a booth making light conversation while counting our tips and enjoying the quiet of the closed restaurant.  The front door swung open and in walked Tall Paul with his brown leather bomber jacket.  He had a big smile on his face and, although no words were spoken, we had a conversation between us.  I looked at him and asked what he was doing here.  I knew he was dead.  He looked back at me and indicated that he knew he was dead but he wanted to stop by and let me know he was okay.  And then he turned around and left. 

I woke the next morning and told my mom of my dream.  I don't recall now the timing of events but at some point thereafter my mom asked me if my sister knew him and I said that I didn't think so.  The three of us got to talking and it turned out that my sister actually did know him through a different sphere of friends.  And, interestingly enough, she too had received a visit from him in one of her dreams.  The similarities were eerie, almost identical in fact.  Since then I've come to believe that when a person dies, they have the ability to come back and "visit".

I don't know why Paul chose to visit me.  Maybe he sensed the difficulties I was having with processing my grief.  But one thing I know is that he absolutely did visit me, and my sister.

When my mom passed away I kept waiting for her to visit. Months went by with nothing and I felt alone and abandoned by her because she never materialized in my dreams.  I desperately needed her to give me the reassurance and comfort I felt from Paul's visit.  Instead all I felt was a big, vacant hole.  Eventually one night she paid me a visit but her visit was not comforting like Paul's.   In my dream we were having a party and there was a knock at the door.  I opened it to find my mom standing there and I invited her in.  Again no words were spoken but I could tell she was sad.  She just stood there and looked at me with deep, sad eyes and then she was gone.  I've always felt she was sad because she was dead and not able to be with her family anymore.  But maybe she was sad because I was having such a hard time with losing her.

It's been years since I thought of those dreams, of that visit from my mother and Paul.  In fact, when my Uncle passed away in November, the idea of a visit from him never crossed my mind.  But he came two nights ago.

I woke on Friday morning feeling incredibly drained and sporting nice puffy eyes.  As I stared at myself in the mirror I kept questioning why my eyes looked like I had been crying all night.  And then the memory of that night's dream flooded me.  The pieces of the puzzle came together and formed a picture of my dream that went something like this:

There was some major phenomenon coming, an event that people were preparing for and it had to do with ghosts.  People were excited to see if they could see any ghosts and I was too.  At one point I saw one, some famous actor from the Brat Pack days and I reached out to shake his hand.  Fully expecting my hand to pass right through the vision in front of me, I was shocked when I felt the ring on his finger.   I could not believe I actually touched a ghost. 

The next piece of my dream is a vision of my Uncle.  He looks good, like he looked before he got sick.  Mostly bald with graying hair.  A nice pot belly.   And he was wearing his black and white plaid quilted coat that I gave him for Christmas the previous year.  His favorite coat that he wore all the time.   We didn't speak but we hugged.  It felt so comforting and I felt so happy.  In the next instant I am walking by an outdoor table, past two men sitting in the sunshine just enjoying the warmth.  I look down to realize it's a much younger version of my Uncle.  He had a full head of hair and no glasses.  He looked youthful and the only way I knew it was him was looking at his eyes.  They were his eyes.  And he was happy.  It was his way of showing me all was well.

Another part of this dream was me expecting, waiting for my mom to visit, but she didn't come.  My husband and another man kept pointing to a mountain in the distance.  My husband pointed out a white spot and told me to look there for my mom.  In my dream I was expecting her to come through this "portal".  Now I think it was telling me that she is watching from above.

I cannot tell you the intensity of the emotion as I pieced together this dream.  I was sobbing so hard it was difficult to breathe.  I know now that I must have cried in my dream as well and that is why I woke to puffy eyes.  I've done that before so I know it's possible.

I also realize that I've yet to fully process the grief over the loss of my Uncle, but that dream was a good start.  I feel happier knowing that he is happy.  And I feel happier knowing that my mother is watching down on me.  Two for one, not bad.
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