As these experiences continued I started doing more research and reading, including the topic of lucid dreaming. There has been so much research done since the last time I studied this subject, which was probably at least 25 years ago.
One of the subjects being researched right now is the lucid dreaming “pill”. There is a substance found in daffodils and read spider lilies called galantamine that has been shown to increase the ability to lucid dream. Apparently you have to be able to do it before you use the pill – just taking the pill itself is not enough. The pill works by blocking the breakdown of neurotransmitters thought to be involved in dreaming and memory (this substance is also being tested in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease). Here is an article with the details. I ordered a bottle from (what don’t they carry?) Amazon.com: Galantamine (GalantaMind), 4 mg – 90 Capsules.
As directed I took the pill at 3:00AM – my husband Bill also woke up at the time and knew I was taking it. This was to ensure that he didn’t wake me up in the morning! Shortly after taking the pill, I woke up in my parents’ bed. Since I know the room was completely dismantled at that point, I knew I was dreaming! I got out of bed and wondered what to do next. This was so exciting! My first lucid dream pill dream! A few seconds later my mother walks in. Wow! We opened up the closet in my old room and it was full of my old clothes. I could hardly contain my enthusiasm.
“In a million years, I never thought I would be standing in this room with you again!” I told her.
This next happening actually ties in with research sited in Hello From Heaven by Bill and Judy Guggenheim. Research has been done on the frequency and types of ADC experiences people have. A common theme is seeing your loved one on the other side of a body of water. I was very surprised when I read this. Mine has a little twist because being a longtime veteran of lucid dreaming; I decided to cross the water. I gather from “Hello From Heaven” that most people do not attempt this – they either “know” that they cannot cross it or are afraid to cross it.
At this point we’d been cleaning out my parents’ house for several months. It took forever and was extremely unpleasant. In addition to the usual who-gets-what conflicts there is the strain of finding some place to take all of the stuff. The primary source of misery for me was the early childhood memories getting stirred up. One trait we seem to pass down is the ability to remember things from early infancy. So here I am cleaning out drawers, and on the bottoms of the drawers are little foil stars that I stuck there when I was about 2 years old. And not only can I remember that I did this, I remember why and lots of other things that were going on at the time – this is TMI when you are trying to clean out a house and cope with a recent death. The only analogy I could come up with to describe what this was like is having to dig up your own corpse and decide which parts of it should be sent to the Goodwill.
I have this silly little head game I play. If it ever comes up in conversation, I say that I never met my grandfather when he was alive. Most of the time this comment goes right over the head, but now and then someone gets my meaning and gives me either a strange or a knowing look. I will also clarify – this is not the musical grandfather – that was my mother’s father.
This happened in about 1996 so this is the first trip I’m posting in the Way Back Machine. But since Grandpa Mason was the second person to show up in my first reading, I am going to take a brief detour and post about my past history with him.
At the time this happened, my sister and I were getting back into the family genealogy project. Our family has been researching itself for at least four generations; Linda and I picked up where my mother left off. The odd thing is we weren’t even researching my dad’s side of the family when this happened.
My sister was living in California in those days. She was flying in that evening for a visit. I’d left work early so I could pick her up at the airport. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon and I had a half hour or so before I had to leave, so I decided to lie down and take a short nap with my dog. The dog we had at the time was Crystal – a nervous, yappy American Eskimo Dog.
I fell asleep, then opened my eyes and found myself lying on one of those sofas with the bumpy irregular upholstery that everybody seemed to have in the 1960’s and 70’s. I sat up and there – right in front of me – were my deceased grandparents. They were sitting in front of a window across the room from the sofa. Really bright white light was streaming in through the window behind them. Grandma was sitting in a chair and Grandpa was sitting on the ottoman that matched the chair, slightly in front of her. My mother was sitting in another chair off to the right (she was alive then, but was still in this dream for whatever reason). They (the grandparents) just radiated this intense feeling of warmth, love, peace, happiness …. Continue reading
Many ADC’s take the form of a sychronicity – something unusual that happens and you think, that just can’t be a co-incidence! It involves something closely associated with the deceased person, usually with a deeply personal connection.
The fall after my mother died I had my 40th birthday. I was dreading it for a number of reasons – heck – who doesn’t dread their 40th birthday! I wondered if I would really feel terrible having a birthday after my mother died, and I am not very excited about being over the hill either. So I pretty much decided to ignore it. Still, the dreading of it made the two weeks before a bit tense. I find it is often like this – the dreading of “whatever” is worse than the actual “whatever”. Nowhere is this more true than for Christmas – but that is another post.
So the birthday came and went. Nothing happened. I didn’t feel any worse on that particular day and I was well on my way to forgetting it.
Then a day or so later – I can’t remember exactly – I had a stream of numbers running through my dreams. 39403940394039403940394039403940394039403940 … all night! I was kind of going in the background and every once in a while it would break through and become very hard to ignore. At the time I knew that it had something to do with my mother, but it being a stream of digits I didn’t get it. It is sometimes very difficult to access the left brain during sleep, even when fully lucid. My deductive reasoning can be pretty far off and I miss the obvious.
I had a dream that my husband and I were on my parents’ deck rehearsing some music. We had a disagreement about something and started to bicker. I got annoyed and went into the house. I decided I was sick of this diet (I started a diet with Bariatric Weight Loss, and eventually did loose 50 pounds), and I wanted a dang fried egg! Besides, I reasoned, you can’t gain weight from something you eat in a dream. [Note: I Lucid Dream – see the Lucid Dream page for more information]
While I was making the fried egg my cell phone rang and it was my mother! I started telling her about the disagreement and other dumb day to day stuff, just like I did when she was alive. I ate the egg at the kitchen table, still talking to her. Then I walked out to the sun porch and noticed something strange.
The butterfly is the universal symbol of resurrection, or the transition to life after death.
Late in August my sister, my son, and I took my dad on a tourist train excursion. The Kiski Junction Railroad is located near where the Kiski and Allegheny Rivers merge and is only a short distance from where my parents formerly lived. It was a gorgeous warm day. We had been on this train trip several times when my son Henry was young – in fact we had one of his birthday parties on the train. Dad had been through so much hell between the death, the funeral, and then moving into an independent living apartment. We thought he could use an enjoyable day out.
The most interesting thing about this trip, at least for me, is the industrial ruins along the way. The railroad itself is built on top of the filled in Pennsylvania Main Line Canal. Timbers and rocks from the old canal are visible on some parts of the ride. It also goes past at least two different abandoned mines. One is the old Bagdad coal mine and the other was a tin mine, if memory servers. In any case they are very creepy and interesting, and even more so for us since my dad’s father (my grandfather) was a mine inspector (fire boss).
We choose the back porch of an antique caboose for our ride. The train conductor was also sitting out there with us. Twice during the trip a blue butterfly flew onto the train and hovered around us, sitting on the railing, the top of the door into the caboose, and once on Henry’s head! The second time it happened the conductor got a strange look on his face. He told us, “In all the time I’ve been here, that has NEVER happened even once, let alone twice!”
- Ad for 1873 Decker Grand Piano
Due to the rather intense grieving I experienced I did not have any contact with my mother for most of the summer. From what I have read, strong emotions – negative ones in particular – block out this kind of contact. Besides being miserable I was also a major bitch. I exploded at the slightest frustration. I doubted all the decisions I’d made about my life, debated putting all of my musical instruments for sale on Ebay, and almost had a nervous breakdown when I had to throw away my dilapidated old stuffed Snoopy dog that I found decaying in my parents’ attic (more about him later). One of my mother’s roles in my life was to talk me through the various ups and downs of life. When I got myself (figuratively) out on The Ledge she would talk me down. Without her around to do that The Ledge had become more or less my permanent domicile.
I took at trip to North Carolina to visit Lisa – a childhood friend with whom I was reconnected at my mother’s funeral. Being a young widow (since remarried) she is kind of an expert on grief. We sat up late many evenings talking about all kinds of things. She reminded me of how I used to play piano when we were kids. I was never really taught to do this. The church had an old piano they needed to get rid of and I was kind of in the market for one at the time. I really wanted a harp but my parents had no idea how to pull that off so they offered me this piano (don’t feel bad for me – I now own seven harps) . Three months later I was playing Beethoven piano sonatas. I had an uncle who told my parents to send me to Julliard. The politely told him to MYOB – music majors end up working in McDonald’s. Didn’t he know that? They continued to insist upon this “fact” until I met my current husband who makes a very good living teaching music, thank you very much.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not implying that ADC’s (After Death Communication, as they are known to people who research them) are a get-out-of-jail-free card from the universal experience of bereavement. Far from it. The constant sense of presence and energy did not last forever – it lasted for about two weeks. But it did get me through series of experiences I never thought I would be able to face, the primary one being the funeral.
In light of the signs of continued presence we all felt the funeral seemed very unreal. It didn’t help that she didn’t look anything like herself. We didn’t tell the funeral director that she always wore her hair up and with it down she looked like a total stranger. Even after he changed it, she still didn’t look like herself. I managed to play harp at the funeral itself. I never though I would have been able to pull this off! I remember once, a year or so before any of this happened, my dad got sick and went into the hospital. Mom was convinced he was going to die any day. This was before we realized this was coming from an irrational fear inside of her and so we believed her. She told me about this on my way to church one morning when I was scheduled to play at the 11:00AM service. She got me so upset I couldn’t play one note. Yet during a time when I should have been even MORE upset, I played the entire gig effortlessly.
That first day, my brother John arrived in PA in the evening with his wife and they stayed in my parents’ house (after ventilating it thoroughly, of course). My brother Bob was on the next plane out from California and I can’t remember exactly when he arrived, but he was definitely there – also staying at my parents’ house – by the third day.
I’d been up at my parents’ house every day since it happened, as more and more out of town relatives arrived. But the morning of the third day I remember most. My dad, my sister, and my two brothers and I were sitting around in the living room, right after I got there. I noticed we all had the same goofy looking inappropriate grins so I broached the subject.
“You know, I’ve been having the most intense experiences of Mom’s presence the last few days …”
I’d opened the floodgates. Continue reading
June 11, 2009
My mother had her knee replaced due to rheumatoid arthritis the week before Christmas in 2008. It was a difficult decision for her and being a retired nurse, she was well aware of the risks with this surgery, and also well aware that she would soon end up in a wheelchair without it. She was also beginning to experience memory loss and other signs of approaching dementia. Her mother had Alzheimer’s and we believe that is part of the reason she decided to end her physical life at that time. She was struggling with many paranoid fears, including being terrified of having to go through the experience of having my dad die. Her passion in life was her garden, and due to the arthritis she could no longer work in her garden. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the bad reaction to the pain medication they gave her after the surgery. She was very ill for 2 months afterwards and never really recovered. They put her on an anti-depressant medication. One of the risks during the first few weeks of use is increased risk of suicide. We do not know for sure if this was a factor. If she was taking it at all, it was in small enough quantities to not register on the toxicology reports.
She first mentioned suicide to my dad during the worst weeks of this post operative illness. She wanted him to go with her. He made it clear that he was not participating. She did not bring it up again and appeared to be slowly recovering. We thought she had moved beyond this idea. But she hadn’t – and it was obviously very well planned and carried out, and rather unbelievable when you consider she was in the beginning stages of dementia and could only get around using a walker!
I remember well the day before it happened. She called me that afternoon – I was working on a batch of cotton bonnets for a local historical site (I make historical clothing). We talked for a while – she sounded like her old self again. It was a very happy, uplifting conversation. The next door neighbor heard her sitting on the porch talking on the phone all afternoon. She called practically everyone she knew.