This afternoon I walked into my bank to make a deposit and my favorite teller greeted me by name. “What are you doing this weekend?” she asked. I told her that I was giving a talk on “Death, Dreams, and the Afterlife.” She had no visible reaction at first and I thought perhaps she had some judgments about the title of my talk. Then she asked, “Do you means dreams about someone we love?” I replied, “Yes, after they’ve passed.” She nodded. I asked, “Have you had a dream like this?” She said, “Yes.” “Did it feel like a visitation?” I asked. She replied, “It felt really real.” I ventured, “Can I ask who it was about?” “My father,” she said as tears immediately sprang to her eyes.
Such is the power of dreams from our loved ones.
I use the word “from” very intentionally. I believe those beloveds who leave this physical plane are fervently looking for ways to communicate with us. Most of us have not yet learned how to open ourselves to receiving their messages, but most of us do dream. Dreams are a way our loved ones can “sneak in” a visit or a message without us holding up the barrier of non-belief. We all “believe in” dreams, by which I mean we all believe that they happen. Whereas if, when we thought about our loved one, the sun suddenly shone through the clouds or a special song suddenly played on the radio, we might explain it away, disinclined to believe that their was any connection. But when we’re asleep, our logical mind is shut down and we can therefore be open to all kinds of gifts and messages.
For those of you who might be despairing because you have not yet had a “special” dream from someone you dearly loved who has passed into the next realm, it could well be that your grief is still too great. I have heard from multiple sources that ironically, intense grief can prevent our loved ones from coming through. Somehow it presents a barrier. This is why often a neighbor or a person more distantly related might receive a dream whereas you have not (yet.) *
A couple years ago, a neighbor in the village where I grew up died of cancer. He and I had known each other since we were kids, but we seldom saw one another; I lived 2000 miles away and we hung out with different people anyway. But this didn’t mean we didn’t have affection or respect for one another. Well, a few days after he died he came to me in a dream. There was no real plot to the dream, he just showed up to show me how extraordinarily well and healthy he was on the next plane. I passed along the dream to his mother and family hoping that it would bring them some level of peace.
When I was a senior in high school, I received the shocking news that a classmate and friend who sometimes attended my church had died in a fiery car crash. A bit later, I had a dream in which I was crawling on my hands and knees through a hallway that was getting progressively tighter. At one point the hallway took a turn, and as I rounded the corner suddenly I saw Danny’s face “filling the screen,” huge and brilliantly bright. It made me think of accounts of near-death experiences when people emerge from a long tunnel. Danny was emerging into his new life, and he was absolutely radiant and whole.
One time my paternal grandmother, with whom I was quite close, appeared in a dream. I was riding in a bus and I suddenly heard some chimes. I turned around and there she was, looking pretty and healthier and rosier than I’d ever seen her. She just beamed me this glowing smile. In dreams like this, that’s often enough. I think sometimes they just need to tell us that they’re alive and well and that they haven’t forgotten about us.
We are so afraid of death, and we mourn greatly when those we love leave this earthly plane. But if they had one message to tell us, I imagine it would be, “We are alive and well. There is nothing to fear. There is no death where we are. Life goes on. It’s simply in a different form.”