Jenny G's ADC
Robert was my best friend in middle school and high school (we graduated in 1993). We were friends following graduation for about a year or two until we drifted apart about 1996-97. I have not had any contact with him since that time. I guess I am not a very good friend.
The experience began on 11/28/09 with a dream which featured my friend Robert. It was a very ordinary and pretty unremarkable dream I can't even remember the exact content of the dream. I have dreamed about him before so it was unremarkable. He was just part of it, but it made me think about him during that day. He was on my mind all day long, sort of a nagging thought.
At 5:00pm 11/28/09, I was scheduled to film a video segment with a co-worker. She was running late. Since I had a few minutes of downtime and had closed out all of the projects on my computer I decided to try and google Robert. I don't use social media sites, but the feeling that I needed to contact him and reconnect was strong that day. When I googled him I found two things. His myspace page and his obituary. I was surprised to see that the funeral viewing was happening that evening within a few minutes of my search. I was stunned and shocked and saddened. My co-worker arrived at that time and asked me what was wrong and I explained. She was stunned by it too. We rescheduled the filming and she sat with me for a time and consoled me. I did not go to the viewing because it was over by the time I left the office. I was in a state of disbelief for some time after.
At the time I was also 3-4 months pregnant and the pregnancy became complicated. The only medications I consumed during the entirety of my pregnancy was an antacid tablet and vitamins. I was placed on strict bed rest and hospitalized for 6 weeks also. So the events of 11/28 slipped my mind for a time. I had my baby on 6/5/10 and returned to work in August 2010. After I had adjusted somewhat to being a mother I began to have nagging thoughts about Robert. I felt very strongly that I needed to visit his gravesite, pay my respects, and place a flower on his grave. This urgency was really strong. Finally in mid-August I was able to get to his gravesite and place a single silk, red rose. I don't know why I felt a single rose was appropriate. It just seemed right.
After I placed the rose I began to worry about it and worry that it was going to blow away or get lost. I began to brainstorm a way to place another rose and make it more permanent. I didn't want to stick it to his gravestone however, because I felt it would be an imposition. Finally, I struck upon the idea of a piece of marble with an inscription, somewhat like a trophy base. I contacted a local trophy shop and ordered one. I had them schedule to have it ready by November 26th 2010, the first year anniversary of Robert's death. I even planned to take the afternoon off from work to place it.
On November 26th, I went to the trophy shop and found that it was closed. I called the phone number many times with no response. I was determined to place the rose. it was a very urgent feeling. So I spent most of the afternoon looking for a substitute. I finally found a marble heart-shaped paperweight and found a way to attach the rose. By the time I was done it was almost sundown and the cemetery closes at sundown. I considered waiting until Saturday. But the urgency was really strong. I felt I had to get there. So I drove over hoping to beat the sunset. When I got there I had about 15 minutes until sundown. I also had a sort of premonition that someone would be at the gravesite. Which I thought was absurd because it was almost closing time. The urgency and premonition persisted.
When I drove into the ceretary I saw that someone was there. I did not recognize the person. She was praying so I sat on a bench near the gravesite and waited for her to finish. When she finished she turned and saw me. I said, "Sorry, I didn't want to interupt you. I just came to place a flower." She looked at my hands and saw the stone paperweight and flower and said, "You are the one who placed the rose!" I said, yes, and that I had worried ever since that it would blow away. She said it had a few times, but she kept locating it and bringing it back when she visited. We introduced ourselves and she informed me that she was Robert's mother. I had never, in all of my years of friendship, met her because she had worked an evening shift job. She explained that she attends the church adjacent to the cemetery and checks on the gravesite occaisionally. She said that the rose had given her a lot of hope and comfort. The mystery of it helped her with her grief. She was grieving very strongly at the time. No one ever thinks they will lose their child at 34.
We spent about 20 minutes, until the sun had gone and we had to leave, talking. She told me how she was in nursing school because caring for Robert during his illness made her want to help sick and dying people. I shared with her that I work at a hospital and that she should come work there.
8 months later she was working at the hospital, on the hospice unit on same floor as my office. We were able to connect and share many more memories. She moved later to the hospice office and works there at this time. We still keep in contact often.
I feel like Robert was reaching out to me to let me know he had passed away, and to let me know that his mother needed someone to share her grief with. She told me once that her family was very tired of hearing about her grief and had become a little detached from her during the process of Robert's illness. He was homosexual and ill for over two years, actively, slowly dying from AIDs. (if you can omit that from your publication that would be appreciated. The family is hesitant to share the nature of his illness). I mention it because it had tested family ties. Some in his family felt he could have prevented it. It had somewhat alienated his mother from others in the family. I feel like Robert knew she needed someone, especially someone who could help her realize her dream of becoming a nurse in hospice. I felt an immediate closeness to her, even though I had never met her before. I still feel very close to her and would come to her aid at any time. I feel like he needed to know someone would be a support for her if she needed it.
As a sort of penance, for my neglect of my friendship with Robert, I have committed to being there for her and have begun to be an active support for LGBT (gay) people at my workplace and in the community. I am currently working on a committee to help promote welcoming and open support for LGBT persons who seek out care at our hospital. This has challenged my former beliefs about homosexuality. I feel like these changes in me have refined me to become a better person.
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Did you ONLY sense an awareness of presence of the deceased without actually seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling them? Yes
Did you hear the deceased or hear something associated with the deceased? No
Did you feel a touch or experience any physical contact from the deceased? No
Did you see the deceased? No
Did you smell a distinct smell, scent, fragrance or odor associated with the deceased? No
Could you sense the emotions or mood of the deceased? Yes A sense of urgency
Did the deceased give you information you did not previously know? Yes, I didn't know he was deceased until the experience on 11/28/09. Also, I had never met his mother until the one year anniversary 11/26/10.
How do you currently view the reality of your experience? Experience was probably real I knew things I couldn't know, such as the fact that he had died. I felt an immediate connection with his mother, who I had not previously met.
Was the experience dream like in any way? Uncertain It started with a dream, and then had "live" awake elements following
Was there any emotional healing in any way following the experience? Yes I think it helped his mother a great deal. It also helped me change my thinking to become more accepting of gay persons.
What was the best and worst part of your experience? Best part was the sense of being connected. Worst part is that I wish I had reconnected to him before he passed away. I regret that. His mother has shared so many things about his life after highschool that we could ahve connected on. He was a lover of all things British, like me. Big Dr. Who fan, like me. I wish we could have talked about it.
Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes I began to reassess my thinking on gay persons. I don't buy the opinions of the conservative church. There has to be more compassion for all humans. Hate, disgust or distain is not christian. I guess I had never thought of it in great detail before. It made me questions a lot of things.
Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience? Yes I believe that the afterlife is not as cut and dry as traditional christian beliefs dictate. There is more to it. It is a greater mystery then we think.
Did the experience give you any spiritual understandings such as life, death, afterlife, God, etc.? No I have always believed in an afterlife of some sort. I am not sure of the nature of afterlife and I am a bit more confused than ever following this experience.
Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? Uncertain I don't think so. I knew he was deceased following the experience on 11/28/09. The date of his funeral service can be verified and my witness could probably recall the event. But it could not be airtight proven. I can prove I was not taking medications, because I was pregnant. I can prove his mother came to work for the hospital and that I helped her get the job.
Was the experience witnessed or experienced by others? Yes When it happened there was a witness, a person who came in to meet with me about 60 seconds after the event. They witnessed my emotional response immediately following the experience.
Did you have any sense of altered space or time? No
Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose? No
Did you become aware of future events? No
Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience? Uncertain His mother and I have had a connection since. It's not really psychic or paranormal but it was so easy to connect with her. Almost like it was assisted in a supernatural way. Robert was VERY devoted to his mother and I can imagine that if he could possiblly reach out to her from beyond the grave he would.
Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body? No
Did you meet or see any other beings other than the deceased? No
Did you see a light? No
Did any part of your experience seem to occur in a place other than the location described above? No
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes My witness was understanding. Robert's mother was understanding. My mother thinks it is strange. My best friend thought it was crazy. My sister thought it was hormones. I haven't told many other people because of the reactions I got.
Have you shared this experience formally or informally with any other researcher or web site? No
Is there anything else you would like to add regarding your experience? if you publish this, please exclude Robert's name or change it. And please omit the part about his medical condition.
Were there any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience? No No meds or anything, but I was 3 months pregnant at the time
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience? No
Did you ever in your life have a near-death experience, out of body experience or other spiritual event? Uncertain I have had dreams that were warnings before. I have had feelings of dread prior to events that I didn't know would occur. Others on my mother's side of the family have had experience of seeing people (living and dead) who give warnings in dreams, getting warnings, feelings of dread prior to events. My grandfather's experience during WWII is documented and he was awarded a Bronze star for his actions to save his unit. I think we are just highly intuitive, not psychic or anything.Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Yes