We were sitting in what appeared to be a church basement. There was a stage with metal folding chairs setup. It was sunny outside. We were sitting on two adjacent chairs in the first row while my son Henry was playing on the floor nearby. He appeared to be about three years old (in waking physical reality he is 12). We were talking about nothing in particular. My attention was immediately drawn to what she was wearing. At home she almost always wore a “house coat”. This particular one she had for a number of years during my childhood and seeing her wearing it, I could remember it quite well. A few days before this experience, I found some fabric from this house coat in one of the quit bags and although I recognized it, I wasn’t sure where from. I thought maybe it was one of my old dresses. But seeing her wearing this garment, the memory came back with utter clarity. Then I noticed her face, her skin, her hair – all of it is such perfect detail! Far more detail than I could remember in waking reality. It totally blew my mind.
So finally I said, “You know, I guess I just really don’t understand enough about how this whole being dead thing works.”
In the early spring of 2010 my husband and I were talking one evening about his mother’s ghosts and her extreme fear of them. Bill’s mother is 90 years old. Her second husband, George, committed suicide about a year before my mother did but in a much more dramatic way: he shot himself in the head. I was at work the day this happened. Bill called me and after insisting that I sit down he told me what happened. George took out his false teeth and emptied his pockets onto the nightstand in the bedroom. Then went out into the back yard with a revolver, stuck it into his mouth, and pulled the trigger. Bill’s mother was in another part of the condo but she heard the noise when the gun went off. She found him in the back yard and went screaming to the neighbor’s. They called 911 and the rest is what you would expect.
Bill’s sister stayed with their mother for a couple months after that happened. During that time they could sense George in the condo. They could hear him walking around and even feel him brush past them. Bill spent one night in the condo (the night after it happened) and he said he slept with his back to the window all night, for fear he would see George standing outside in the back yard or worse – looking in the window!
I have had many experiences where I communicate with my mother via cell phone in a dream. I have posted one before, but many of these experiences are brief and I decided to post them together for this reason.
The first time I really talked to my mother following the immediate aftermath of her death it happened via mental telepathy. This completely freaked me out as I had never experienced it before. I have since read books about mediumship and learned that this is actually rather common. I think that during these visits my subconscious mind conjures up the cell phone to pacify my conscious mind, which is usually in mix since I dream lucidly. The first time this happened is in my post, The Dream Cell Phone – A First Method of Contact.
I also believe this happens more often than I remember when I wake up, unfortunately. I will be experiencing a completely normal dream when my cell phone rings. I answer it (in the dream) and it is my mother. I recognize that this is something special and that I am dreaming. I stop whatever I am doing, sit down, and talk to her just like I did when she was alive.
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.
I will come clean – I have been a Christmas hater for many years. Why? Because almost all of the people I used to spend Christmas with are gone! And the places I used to spend Christmas at are gone! The great die off in my family started in the 1990’s, although my grandparents were all gone by 1984. Once your aunts and uncles start dropping like flies the holidays have a way of becoming about as welcome as … well .. flies!
Every year it would start. I’d think about the Aunt Farm. My mother’s parents had a small farm. When they became unable to take care of themselves, three of my mother’s maiden or widowed sisters moved back in to take care of them. Once they had both died, the sisters found this to be a comfortable living arrangement and over the years you get aunt + farm = Aunt Farm. One of them had a boyfriend who became known as The Advaark. You can see why I miss these people – they were funnier than hell!
The Aunt farm is of course long gone. The house is still there owned by one of my cousin’s adult children. But the place – the endless card game, the bottomless coffee pot, the constant stream of puns and witty jokes – all relegated to the dust bins of history.
The remnant would gather at my parents’ house. No kids, no excitement, a much smaller buffet table. And then someone would remark, “Well, there’s another Christmas over with.” Cheery. Prozac anyone?
I began to realize, in the months that followed my father’s move from his home of over 50 years during the fall of 2009, that my mother was watching over him constantly. It was pretty obvious that he could not remain in the house by himself. They’d barely hung on last winter and there were two of them. The house is far out in the country and tends to get a lot of snow, has a very long steep driveway, and requires a lot of maintenance. Despite the fact that he’d never lived alone before our father was determined to get an apartment. He was not going to a “home”!
He moved into an independent living apartment that he’d visited with my mother about a week before she died. It was located in his boyhood town and was right up the hill from his major haunts: his doctor’s office, the Eat N Park, KFC, McDonald’s, and his favorite Rite Aid. The fall was fairly painless. He carried on life much as he always had. He got up in the morning and went to either Eat N Park or McDonald’s for breakfast. Then he’d watch TV in his recliner until lunch. For lunch he would either eat in the dining room or if he didn’t like what they were serving, head out to KFC. He run a few errands in the afternoon, then settle in for an evening of TV watching, a hot shower, and then bedtime. He also had a lot of visitors during this period of calm adjustment.
The first thing I noticed was how he seemed to have this lucky star following him around. The synchronicities just didn’t stop! He often went out to the house (it had not been sold yet) to help clean up or mow the lawn. My brother was very apprehensive about this – especially the mowing! One day he loaded a bag of old magazines in the car to drop off in the recycling bin at the top of the road. It was late summer and very hot out that day – around 90 degrees. He got out of the car and heaved the load into the container. When he went back to the car he discovered that the door had shut and locked, with the car running. This is a pretty bad situation – he is alone, 87 years old, and is standing in an abandoned township maintenance garage parking lot in sunny 90 degree weather and locked out of his car with no cell phone. But, one of the neighbors just happened to be driving by and noticed him there. They picked him up and took him to their house to wait in the AC for the Triple A people to show up and let him back in his car.
My first Galantamine experience being pretty over the top, it wasn’t long before I tried it again. It was during the huge snowstorm we had last winter. I took the capsule at approximately 3:00AM as recommended. I fell back asleep quickly, then “woke up” to see a large picture window on the wall across from my bed. I could see daffodils, green grass, blue skies, bird singing – SPRING! Realizing that we don’t have a picture window in our bedroom and that in reality we had three feet of snow at the time, I thought, Cool! This must be my lucid dream.” I got out of bed and hopped out the window.
So there I am, wondering around in this gorgeous nature scene. I thought, this must be part of heaven. And if I’m in heaven, God must be around here somewhere, right? So there I am, I am wondering around looking for God and starting to feel kind of slighted because I couldn’t find him, when I encounter this cranky cleaning lady.
“You people!” she said. “All you ever do is come here and make a mess!”
I wondered how anyone could be in such a place and still find a way to be a grouch. “Have you seen God by any chance?” I asked.
“Try over there,” she said, pointing to a large building.
And now for something completely different …
As a child I figured out gradually that there are basically two kinds of ghosts. There were the kind like my grandparents – a positive, loving entity who can go where they want, when they want. And then there were the kind that lived in the woods – the kind associated with Halloween, the spooky, the icky, and the scary. These ones were usually stuck someplace. Sometimes you run into a friendly one but they are still usually creepy.
Many years later in reading about spirits I learned that this is generally believed to be true. The Bible says that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Most people take this to mean there is no such thing as reincarnation, but I have come to understand this differently. Rather, at the end of (every) lifetime we die and face judgment. Researchers of the NDE (Near Death Experience) refer to this as the life review, where you entire life is reviewed and you understand everything that you did, said, and thought along with all of the ramifications these things had on others. So here is the process: you die, you go into The Light, and you have a life review (judgment). At that point you are “in The Light” a “clean spirit”. If instead, when you die, you hang around and do not go into the light, perhaps because you think you are going to hell, or God doesn’t want you, or some other such flawed idea, then you are no better off than you were when you were alive. Actually you are worse off because you are living in the physical world with no body to interact effectively with it. You are not in The Light, instead you are an “unclean spirit”. And you are probably living with a lot of self imposed beliefs like “I can’t leave this house” and your beliefs become your own prison, at least temporarily. I have come to believe that most earthbound spirit occurrences resolve themselves in time. Most hauntings you hear about are less than a couple hundred years old. If they were stuck here forever then the world would completely fill up with ghosts!
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.