When we pass the night in our sleeping fantasies, do we really get to see people who have passed on? I have to say yes. To awake with the solid certainty that I have been in the presence of a loved one is a feeling I cannot question. If somehow it is just an illusion, then I will gladly remain behind that curtain.
Many years ago I lost a partner to a drug overdose. We’d been together for a few intense, sometimes violent months. Beneath the storm of our external relationship there was a deep, true connection that could not be severed.
His goals in life were to be the next Great American Poet and to make sure he never ran out of beer. My goals were to write the Great American Novel and to get him to quit drinking. Something we had in common was that we wanted to have a child together.
On September 29th, 1995, I learned that he had died the previous evening of a heroin overdose. That night, after finally passing out from the exhaustion of crying my soul out, I dreamed that we were in each other’s presence again. I told him we needed to make love again, to try to make our baby. He just smiled a really big, peaceful, joyful, knowing smile, an expression that clearly said, “Don’t worry about it,” and hugged me. As we embraced there was no boundary between us, where his arms ended and mine began.
On October 13th I discovered that I was pregnant.
In the last week I had a dream about my Grandma who died in December of 2009. In the dream she was laying in a bed, curled up facing away from me. Somehow I knew that when she turned around, she might have any kind of face, even the most nightmarish rotting flesh from a horror movie (and I avoid that genre for just that reason). But I knew that it was my Grandma, no matter what she ended up looking like, so I curled up behind her, just to be near her. As she turned around we both sat up to face each other — and she was very young, early 20s, the age I imagine she would choose to be if she were given the option. She was glowing with joy. She somehow morphed into a young man, or he came on the scene and the focus shifted away from her, but however it happened, I knew in that moment I would be granted a wish. I immediately begged with tearful sobs to be healed of my poisonous anger, the explosive frustration that attacks me and the people I love all too frequently. (As you may know, anger is something I’ve struggled with for a long time, such as in this earlier post.)
Well, since then I’ve had the same frequency of outbursts as usual, but yesterday at the thrift store I found a book called “Anger” by Thich Nhat Hahn. It seemed to be a little gift from the universe, a little push in the right direction (hopefully.)
I don’t know where the certainty is that I’ve really seen the deceased person. As I say, it may be wishful thinking, it may be a foolish desire to hang on to something I’ve lost, but no matter what, I , who am pretty open to critical analysis and alternate explanations, refuse to doubt.