My parents have been dead for some time. My mom died first. My dad died a few years later. It took a while for my mom to make contact with me. I was pretty angry about it because we were very close and I was not prepared to wait years in order to hear from her again. Of course my expectations were unrealistic. I know now that when a loved one dies it takes some time to figure things out. There is work to do on the other side and I am sure there are protocols for contacting the living.
My mom has never been good at the dream thing. She was more partial to being “the voice inside my head.” She was great at that from the beginning. When planning her, I guess you could call it “wake,” I wanted to line the mantle of the fireplace with pictures of he when she was young and performing on stage. I wanted them all in black frames but when I went to the store to get them, I was having a hard time finding enough to fit the pictures. In my head I could hear her: “Oh honey, you don’t have to do that. All this trouble is not necessary!” And though I knew it was her intention to take some of the stress off of me, her arguing was STRESSING ME OUT! I finally got fed up and said out-loud,”Mom! I know! Let me do this,” just in time for the sales clerk to ask if I needed help. I’m arguing with a ghost, dude. What do YOU think?
She died after a long battle with breast cancer and I was her primary caretaker. The disease transformed our relationship. It broke us down and brought us together. When she finally started showing up in my dreams she was always sick. It’s hard to explain how I knew that the dreams were her attempts at contacting me. I guess the biggest clue was that I felt somehow removed from the flow and context of the dream. I would reluctantly go along with the images and/or story line waiting for “the point” because the things she usually showed me pissed me off. ~I~ knew she was dead. And even though I felt instinctively that she was using the experience of her illness to get my attention (because it was the only way she knew how) I remember that there was always a point in the dream, usually very early on if not immediately, where I would give her a ~look~ and say “You’re not sick. You’re dead.”
I know! I sound like a horribly impatient daughter! And, admittedly, I was! The only good thing that came from her death was the fact that neither of us had to deal with the pain and struggle anymore. The last thing I wanted to do in my sleep was revisit it!
Now…my dad was a different story. We were mostly estranged during the later years of his life. We had only been in contact for the last few and even then, it was only by phone. He was living in a different state when he died.
The first time I saw him in a dream, my mom was the one to bring him through. I had just gotten my first tattoo. It memorialized them. That night, my dad showed up. He had so much to say! He wanted to apologize for all the things and was eager to show me where he had lived out the last years of his life. You would think that I would have been overjoyed to get a visit from both parents. But forgiveness does not equal trust. The energy he put forth reminded me of who he was when he died. And it garnered a ~look~ to my mom who told me to “Just let him do this.” I understood then that this visit was for him, not for me.
Of course, I acquiesced, if not a little reluctantly. I let him take me by the hand and give me a tour of the life he lived during our time apart. Mom stayed mostly quiet. She was aloft, somehow, her presence much more ethereal, like a shepherd watching the flock.
Dad’s visits weren’t always in my dreams. But, save for one particularly memorable incident (which I will likely write about in a future blog), my mom was always the one to bring him. Keep in mind that my parents went through a ~bitter~ divorce. But that divorce did not change or nullify the dynamic of their relationship. She was destined to be his guide in both life and death. Even though I knew that things were exactly as they were meant to be, I felt a little bad for her! Would she never be rid of this child she has to raise? Well, last week I think I got my answer.
Thursday morning I woke up from a dream. My Dad had visited. My reaction: “Huh! Interesting.” I got up, walked the dog, and, while making breakfast, began telling a friend about it. Thank goodness I was talking about it over text because as I relayed the details, I found myself moved to tears which caught me entirely off guard.
The actual dream was brief but I realized that it was full of symbolism. I was leaving my bedroom and, as I tried to close the door behind me, it was pulled from my fingertips which caused me to stumble forward. I was on the verge of anger. My thought? “Is there another ghost in my room because I JUST SMUDGED!” (I actually did just smudge my room for reasons I’ll explain later.) Ready to deal with this disturbance, I flung the door open and, as I suspected, there was a ghost. It was my dad. He was standing next to my bed. I think I caught him just as he was materializing because one of his arms was not yet fully formed. Really weird.
I paused for a moment, stunned, before I finally spoke: “Daddy?” I knew he was dead. He knew he was dead. And when I rushed forward to hug him, I expected him to disappear like some kind of cruel joke. But he didn’t. He stayed. He felt solid and real. And I remember thinking how odd my reaction was but I didn’t have time to dwell on it. I started crying and said “I miss having parents.” To which he replied, “I know.” And that was it!
As I relayed the simple details, I realized how much meaning they contained. The outfit he chose was from a time in our relationship before disillusionment, when I trusted him and saw him as my father instead of a child. It cut straight through my defenses and rationalizations regarding his ~many~ poor choices and it brought me instantly back to the foundation of trust on which our relationship had been built. Our very brief conversation represented my deepest grief, a grief which, as of late has been heavy on my mind. Most importantly, for the first time, my mom did not have to bring him through. He came on his own. He was responsible, had a purpose, was more mature. He had continued to learn and grow and he was ready to be my ~dad~ again.
A week prior to this dream I was working in my studio. It’s the room (more like a glorified hallway) in between my bedroom and the back bedroom. My brother came walking through to continue a conversation we were having. I watched him walk right by me, focused on my room. Out the other door he went at which point I said “Where are you going?” He stopped, looked back, blinked, then turned and looked at my room. Confused, he came back and stared at me. Apparently, he thought I was in my room. He thought this because he saw what looked like someone climbing into my bed and he assumed that someone was me.
Ghosts are not allowed to visit my room. I say that like it’s a normal every day standard rule of all households. And I get that, for most households, it is not. However, I have found this boundary necessary to set and to maintain. Rarely is it usurped. This is why I smudged my room. As I was doing it, I felt like whoever my brother had seen was not a random visitor. It made me second guess my wording. In the middle of saying: “Unless you’re my mom, you need to leave,” I stopped with the need to rethink my words. The feeling, though subtle, was notable. But I stood by my original boundaries. Less than a week later, I dreamt of my dad.
Yes. I think that the shadowy visitor was him. I think he was trying to figure out the best way to get my attention so that he could convey his message. I’m glad he stopped trying to materialize in my bedroom..cuz..creepy. The dream was more real than any apparition could ever be. His symbol language was perfect; memorable and visceral. It will remain one of the most memorable interactions with “the other side” I’ve had.
Written by: Heather of EVP