Cousin Eugene Explains it All

This post goes hand in hand with my last post, How I Learned to Stop Hating Christmas. I had this dream a year or so before the one where I went back to 1976. I had it at the beginning of The Dreading Time – the couple of years between the decline of my parents’ health and my mother’s death.

I was really suffering over the dead family thing and really dreading losing my parents. I didn’t think there was any way I could face life in a post-parent world. I didn’t think there was anything in my future but becoming a Crazy Cat Lady.

I had a lucid dream where I found myself in a mansion. I’d been to this place before but not for many years. The rooms go on one after another in all directions to infinity. In each of the rooms there are people engaged in a different activity. I was wandering around in this place observing. If the inhabitants noticed me or realized that I was not dead like they were, they didn’t give any indication of it.

After wandering around for a while I found a room where they were playing cards. “Hot damn! The Aunts will be here!” I thought. The room was pretty crowded and I am elbowing my way around looking for my aunts. Then I saw a man sitting at a table like he was waiting for someone. Like maybe me? As soon as I made eye contact with him I knew he was a family member, even though I didn’t recognize him as anyone I knew. I went over and sat down across from him.

“Look, I know it is probably against the rules,” I begged. “But I REALLY need to talk to the aunts! Can you call them here? Even if you can just call Aunt Gerk – can I just talk to Aunt Gerk?”

Editorial comment: they all had weird nicknames. We have Aunt Biggie, Aunt Margie, Aunt Gerk, Aunt Mainie, Aunt Lo Lo, and my mother was Snooks.

This guy looks at me very compassionately and starts to tell me this story about how he was orphaned as a child and grew up in an orphanage. On and on this story went each part being more fantastic than the last … he totally blew my mind. When he finished I was sitting there with my jaw on the table.

Then he asked, “Do you think this would have been any easier to live through if I’d know about it before it all happened?

I shook my head no.

He walks around the table, puts his arm around my shoulders, and says, “It’s not that we don’t love you and care about you. It’s just that if we tell you things, sometimes it just makes it worse. Poverty is better endured in ignorance.”

Then I woke up. I thought what the heck? First thing I did that morning was speed dial my mother (who was at this time still alive). I told her the entire dream.

“Oh!” she said. “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.”

Click. That’s it! That’s the place! She could toss out a Bible verse off the top of her head to explain any paranormal experience.

“And that guy? That’s my cousin Eugene. You never met him. The last time he was in Pennsylvania was in the early 1960’s when he came back here to erect a tombstone on his parents’ grave. All that stuff he told you – he told ME the exact same story over at the Aunt Farm, and I was just as shocked as you were! And it is all true! His parents really did die when he was a child and he did grow up in an orphanage.”

I took several spiritual lessons away from this encounter. 1) Poverty is better endured in ignorance. Generally dead people don’t say a whole lot. But when they do it is usually very profound. I took this statement to mean spiritual poverty – the state we all exist in while living in the material world. Sometimes it does more harm than good to know what is going to happen before it happens. It is bad enough that it happens at all! It can really ruin your ability to deal with the present.

2) Don’t get so hung up pining after that dead that you ignore the living. OK, people die. And then they go back to the other side and they are fine. Our relationships with them don’t end. We are just separated for a while by a barrier that isn’t quite real. But it is still a barrier. Meanwhile there are almost 7 billion souls groping their way around the material plane with us. We’ve got all of eternity to hang around with our dead loved ones, but only a finite amount of time to have experiences with our fellow sojourners on Earth. And the bonus is you get to take these new relationships with you when you depart as well!

Cousin Eugene says: Go find someone who is still alive and pay attention to them today.