I was asked about this recently so I decided to do a post about it. This was not a topic that resonated with me at first. It was frowned on in most church circles where I travelled in my younger days. However I had many family members who believed in it, one being my Tibetan Buddhist sister, who used to tease me about being buried twice in the same grave!
At this point I am back to believing in it again as it is the only explanation I’ve found for many of my own experiences and the experiences of many other people I’ve known. My mother believed that I was reincarnated from her sister, Emily, who died in 1938. This story came to me by way of my sister, who has it further documented in letters our mother sent to her in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Emily, was 12 years older than my mother. From what Mom told me she spent a lot of time with Emily while she was growing up. Emily got married in about 1937 and shortly thereafter became pregnant with her first child. Early on in the pregnancy she developed a complication called hyperemesis gravidarum. This condition is basically morning sickness on steroids – you are so sick you can’t eat anything for months on end. As this was 1938 there were not many options for treating this condition. The treatment now involves a lot of IV’s and drugs that can suppress the problem with varying degrees of efficiency and risk. But back then? They tried a lot of things but by the 7th month of the pregnancy Emily contracted pneumonia and died. There were ideas back then about a “good death”. When the doctors decided that Emily would most likely die they started bringing in this endless parade of family members and friends, including my mother who was eight years old at the time. Mom told me (while alive) that she was taken to visit Emily the night before she died. She said Emily was on a feeding tube and couldn’t talk, and looked absolutely terrified. When they took my mother away Emily looked at her a certain way, and this image of the last time she saw her sister stayed with her vividly for the rest of her life.
They buried Emily in the family plot. That is burial #1.
Fast forward another thirty or so years to the day I was born. The doctor held me up in the delivery room and I looked at her the exact same way. And she knew from that moment on that I was Emily. There were other confirmations – things I would say to her when I was little. I don’t remember most of the details but my sister still has the freaked out letters from my mother insisting “nobody but my sister could possibly know that!” I have read some very good books about past life memories and small children that confirmed this pattern as common, primarily Children’s Past Lives: How Past Life Memories Affect Your Child and Return From Heaven: Beloved Relatives Reincarnated Within Your Family, both by Carol Bowman. Both of these books explain it very well and give many fascinating case histories.
The past life memories I have that could be attributed to Emily are kind of vague and center around old kitchen appliances and wallpaper. I also have memories that I suspect are of Emily’s funeral which would suggest I was hanging around in a discarnate state, or I received the memories telepathically from my mother (as if that explanation is any easier to believe). What I remember clearly from the ages of 2-5 is feeling very shocked at how old everyone was! Crap – three out of four grandparents were already gone! And two out of three siblings were grown and off at college! WTF? I missed everything! I was born at the wrong time! I spent a lot of time pretending it was 10 years earlier and watching TV shows that were from 10 years earlier in a vain attempt to recover this time. Fast forward another 10 years. When I was 12 a series of synchronicities began that opened up a channel with my grandmother – my mother’s mother. Who, if you are keeping track of this, was once my mother, if I was Emily. In the first dream she authenticated herself by giving me a piece of information that I didn’t know but was guaranteed to get everyone’s attention. She took me into my parents’ bedroom (in the dream) and opened in the closet. In the closet was a baby lying in a coffin!
So I wake up from this dream, stagger down to the breakfast table and present it for interpretation. I get back stony poker faces. Nobody would say a word. I knew there was something they weren’t telling me! This happened around Memorial Day and that year we went to the cemetery with The Aunts to plant flowers on the graves in the family plots. I could not stop crying at the cemetery but I didn’t know why. When we got back to the house I was alone with the Aunts in the kitchen and Aunt Gerk said something about “the baby.” Huh? What baby?! Aunt Gerk was confused – wasn’t that what I was bawling about? Uh – maybe. So she filled me in. In 1956 my mother had a stillborn baby girl. When I confronted my parents about this they reluctantly admitted it was true and told me to never mention it again. My brothers and sister remembered playing in the front yard one day, and Dad coming out on the porch and telling them the baby died. And after that it was never mentioned again.
My sister, who by this point had done a lot of psychic training, told me that she felt this baby was me, and that is why I always thought I was born at the wrong time. They buried the baby in the same vault with Emily. There’s burial # 2. So from then on when she came home for holidays I got teased, “Ha ha! You’re the only person I know who was buried twice in the same grave!” Fast forward another 15 years. When I had my son, I had the exact same pregnancy complication and the exact same disease progression that Emily did. Only when I got pneumonia at 7 months, I was living in a time period when antibiotics were available, so I (obviously) didn’t die. I can’t imagine what re-living that drama must have been like for my mother. She didn’t talk about it much at the time. I was as sick as a dog so I wouldn’t have been much help anyway. I felt like the grim reaper was following me around constantly. Sure some of this could be blamed on genetics but it is still a strange set of coincidences.
I decided to dream on this one recently. I asked for information about past lives before I went to bed. I had a disturbing dream that began with a piece of old wallpaper attached to a board above the cabinets in my parent’s basement. In waking reality I saw this wallpaper as a small child and I was told that it was in my brother John’s nursery when he was a baby. It was blue striped wallpaper with little Donald Duck characters. The dream started out with an image of this wallpaper and this space the wallpaper was inside (I think the wallpaper was attached to a board that was recycled into the cabinet). The space changed into a dark cave that was full of water, and my aunt was trapped in there and was going to drown. I woke up from this dream feeling kind of upset and not really understanding it, so I went back in and tried to send a scuba diver in to rescue my aunt. She politely declined and explained that this was supposed to happen and she was in constant contact with family outside of the cave, so I should stop worrying about it. Once I was wide awake this all resonated strongly with the story I related above. I can only assume that if I had been born 2 years after John (instead of 16) I would have been put in the same nursery with that wallpaper. Does this prove it is true? No. But until science comes up with a way to attach a radioactive tag to someone’s soul to track it from body to body, there isn’t going to be any proof. This is the best I can do.
I will finish off with Mom’s own re-incarnation story. She told me this while she was still alive. Mom said that her earliest memories are of looking at people and being shocked at how “white” they were. She felt that she didn’t belong here and she should find a way to get back to “her own people”. She hated wearing clothes and took them all off at every available opportunity. When she was about three she was down in the creek (naked) making clay pots. She decided she was going to fire her clay pots and was in the process of assembling the materials to do this when her father came after her. She was nervous because she knew she probably wasn’t allowed to light a fire, and she did her best to act innocent. But little did she know that he had figured her out.
“You can’t go back to your people,” he told her. “They’re all dead.“
She stared at him in shock. “All of them?”
“The white men gave them blankets infected with smallpox. They got sick and died. I’m very sorry, but you’re going to have to get used to being one of us now.” Then he left her to fire her pots in peace. After that she accepted being part of the family and life went on. Did she have a past life as a Native American? Or is there some other explanation? As this happened in about 1933 I think it is safe to assume she didn’t see it on TV.
I found it fascinating that in that distant generation (grandpa Anderson was born in 1884) people in our family were aware of reincarnation and figured out what was going on, either by observing my mother’s behavior, or via clairvoyance, or some combination thereof. Acknowledging the child’s past life memory, re-assuring them that it is over, and encouraging them to live life in the present is exactly the advice given to parents in Carol Bowman’s books. But this happened decades before books like these were written. How did he know? I guess I should dream on that sometime!