My parents live in Atlanta and I live in Houston with my husband and two children. We don't get to see each other as much as we like and in the last few years Dad had been forbidden to travel.
Instead we e-mailed each other. Nearly every day. I would get into work and have an e-mail waiting for me. Initially when I didn't get an e-mail I would worry and call Dad and he got tired of admonishing me for worrying. Assuring me that if anything happened to him he or Mom would call me.
The last e-mail I got from him was Friday, January 25, 2002. He was waiting on some medical results. I didn't hear from him Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I was tempted to call him but didn't want to be admonished!
Tuesday morning, January 29, I awoke with a start from a disturbing, vivid, religious dream. I glanced at the clock and saw it was, coincidentally, 6:00 a.m. The time I usually get up. As disturbed as I was by the dream, I was relieved too, because I realized I had not set the alarm the night before and would have overslept. (Note, that I NEVER forget to set the alarm, but if it had gone off, it would have gone off before 6:00, interrupting the dream)
I nudged my husband, saying, "I just had a really weird, religious dream."
The dream: My 10 year old daughter and I were at our church, St. Vincent de Paul. It's one of those dreams where you know where you are, but it doesn't seem to look right. Instead of being in the church, we were outside, in the field area that the school uses for sports. There was a ceremony of some sort about to take place and I remember being initially confused as to whether this was with the Catholic church or Native American. My husband and family participate in Native American Pow-Wows which are usually held outdoors in an outdoor arena setting. (Pow-Wows are often considered religious ceremonies--the dancing arena considered sacred and coincidentally, the Monsignor of the church had a love for Native Americans, having lived with them, and having Native American arts and crafts in the church office). But that was just a momentary thought in the dream. Then I realized that I was surrounded by people I knew--but that was just a sense I had, I didn't see anyone specific. There were lots of people around and lots of people in religious garb: priests, Cardinals, Bishops.
I realized a Catholic ceremony was going to take place and in my dream, with my daughter standing next to me, I try to figure out what it is. I go through the list of Sacraments: "Is it a Baptism? No because my children have been baptized and my youngest nephew was baptized in October." "Is it Reconciliation? No, because my kids have already made their First Communion and my oldest nephew won't do that until later in the Spring." "So it can't be First Communion either. Could it be Confirmation? No, because Matthew (my son) has already made his, Katlyn isn't old enough and my nephews are too young." I am actually having this conversation with myself.
Then I notice that Katlyn has separated from me. She is off a little distance away, perhaps in the entry of the church. There is a figure standing next to her. At first I think it is a very masculine looking nun, then I realized it is my father wearing a white nun's habit (with perhaps some red on it). I notice that the hood looks like an inverted triangle, with the flat part on top and he is wearing glasses (like Dad did). Katlyn is standing next to him and I realize she is crying. I can't get to her and I am getting angry that Dad is letting her cry. I say, "Comfort her!" And he says, "I can't touch her." And I say, "Well then kiss her!" And he leans over and sweetly kisses her. And i woke up. I woke with the sense that the dream was very complete.
After my comment to my husband I got up and started getting ready for work. I wasn't out of bed 5 minutes when the phone rang. I knew that wasn't good. When I saw the caller ID said Atlanta, I especially knew that wasn't good and thought of the dream. Mom answered and said Dad had died at 3:00 a.m. Atlanta time (2:00 a.m. Houston). I figured the dream was connected to Dad's dying, but was kind of surprised that it happened so many hours after his death.
told me (when I told her of the dream), that 10 minutes before she called the
priest had come to the hospital and had finished giving Dad Last Rights--a
Sacrament--one of the Sacraments I didn't get to when I was going through my
Did you sense an awareness or presence of the deceased without actually seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling them ? Uncertain
Describe: it was a dream, but I did feel "haunted" by the dream upon waking.
Did you hear the deceased or hear something associated with the deceased? Yes
Describe: My father spoke to me
Did the voice or sound seem to originate externally, or outside of you, inside of you, or did you not hear a voice or sound but had a knowing of what was communicated? upon reflection, I don't believe I saw him move his lips to speak in the dream; I just know he spoke to me. So perhaps it was inside me.
If you heard a voice or sound, was it similar or dissimilar to the voice or sound the deceased made when they were alive? same
How clearly did you hear the deceased? very
Is there any possibility that what you heard was from any other source in the surroundings at the time of your experience? no
Was there any possible impairment to your hearing at the time of the experience? no
Did you feel a touch or experience any physical contact from the deceased? No
Where and how were you touched? No, and that seemed to be his point--being deceased he COULDN'T touch us. Yet he managed to give my daughter a kiss. Like a kiss is a different kind of touch.
Was the touch familiar? The kiss he gave my daughter was on one cheek and Dad was famous for kissing on both cheeks. But I felt this was a more serious kiss, like a blessing.
Was anything communicated by the touch? Yes, I feel like he was blessing Katlyn--and because of my love for my daughter, blessing and comforting me.
Is there any possibility what you felt was from any other source present in your surroundings at the time of your experience? no
Did you see the deceased? Yes
Describe the appearance of the deceased: In the face, the appearance was the same, not quite as old as my father was; more middle aged as I tend to remember him. I remember his nose and the fact he was wearing glasses and had a kind of serious look on his face; perhaps like he was preoccupied until I told him to "comfort her." And then he looked compassionate. He was wearing a white nun's habit. Later I thought this was perhaps a shroud?
How clearly did the deceased
appear? a very solid nun!
How much of the deceased did you see? All of him, albeit all but his face was covered in the nun's habit. He kept his hands at his side, reinforcing that he "couldn't touch."
Did the deceased appear or not appear to be the age at which they died? Younger. More like middle aged, which is how I think of my father.
How healthy did the deceased appear to be? I remember thinking he looked "sturdy." Which upon reflection is in contrast to his increasingly frail health while he was alive.
Is there any possibility what you saw was from any other source present in your surroundings at the time of your experience? I can't imagine how.
How long did the experience last? Of course, I don't know how long the dream lasted, in actual time. I do know that I had a total sense that the dream was completed, from beginning to end. And if it wasn't for me forgetting to shut off the alarm, the snooze feature that I use would have prevented me from even having this dream. And you know I'm still not sure I DIDN'T set the alarm that night. Nevertheless, it didn't go off.
Was the beginning and end of the experience gradual or more sudden? The beginning was more gradual leading up to some ceremony. The ending was more sudden. He kissed her and didn't simply disappear--I was awakened.
Could you sense the emotions or mood of the deceased? I have the sense that there was peace and calm on his part, yet concern for me and my daughter, like unfinished business.
Describe: I have the sense that there was peace and calm on his part, yet concern for me and my daughter, like unfinished business.
Did the deceased give you information you did not previously know? I feel he was honoring his prior statements to me that he would let me know if anything happened to him. He was hospitalized later in the day, the day before he died. And he waited in the ER for many, many hours before being admitted. He wasn't in a room until close to midnight, which prevented him from calling to let me know he was in the hospital--something he assured me he would always do. He also knew (from a previous friend's death) that I thought the deceased could visit you in a dream, and he knew I didn't like waiting!
How do you currently view the reality of your experience: Experience was definitely real
What other attitudes and beliefs about your experience do you currently have: Joy
Was there any emotional healing in any way following the experience? Yes
Describe: Comfort in knowing Dad came to me. Please that he was there to comfort my daughter (who, upon hearing of Grandpa's death that morning, threw her arms around me and sobbed). I was able to later tell her that Grandpa came to give her a kiss.
Did the experience give you any spiritual understandings such as life, death, afterlife, God, etc.? Yes
Describe: But I'm not sure what.
Was the experience dream like in any way? Yes
Describe: I was sleeping, it was a dream.
Did you see a light? Uncertain
Describe: Upon reflection, there was a different type of light around my father. I had the sense that he and Katlyn (and perhaps me) were no longer outside, but were in the narthex of the church, accounting for the different light. But maybe that wasn't the reason for the light difference after all.
Did you meet or see any other beings other than the deceased? Uncertain
Describe: There were many people around. I had the sense that I knew them, or they knew me, but no one specific. There were many religious people around as well. I had the sense that one or two wanted to communicate with me, but didn't
Did you experience a review of past events in your life? Uncertain
Describe: I did go through the listing of Sacraments, knowing which ones my children and my nephews had already attained.
Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? Yes
Describe: The fact that a Sacrament was going to take place. And my mother later telling me that at the same time they had had Last Rights performed. It was a sense that my father invited me to this last ceremony!
Did you have any sense of altered space or time? No
Describe: It felt like totally normal time; in a familiar location
Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience? Yes
Describe: I do believe the dead can communicate with you, especially in dreams.
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes
A few people genuinely share the joy of the experience and could understand that
Dad did indeed come to me as a last gift, as a blessing. I am surprised by some
people who just shrug it off. Not even at least acknowledging the coincidence
of it. (Of course, it is beyond a coincidence in my mind).
Have you shared this experience formally or informally with any other researcher or web site? No
What emotions/feelings did you experience following your experience? Initially, wonder, curiosity and surprise at the intensity of the dream. Then of course, upon learning it was prophetic, intense grief. And it is because of that I felt that I was visited.
anything else you would like to add regarding your experience?
I feel Dad was saying goodbye to his only daughter and
only granddaughter. He was keeping his word that he would let me know if he was
hospitalized, or anything happened to him. It was like a final e-mail from
him! He knew it mattered to me that he comforted my daughter. And curiously,
Dad had a very strong work ethic. One of those guys who never took a sick day.
I couldn't help but think that he timed my dream or vision perfectly, so that he
could wake me up on time so we wouldn't miss work or school! (And we didn't.
Stunned, we all went to work and school that morning, making arrangements to
take time off for the funeral)
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience? No
Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Yes
One question that I had was if your daughter has any recollection of your dream or any behaviors that might be a residual memory on a subconscious level?
Experience description WITH ROBIN: