Rhonda R's ADC
My relationship with my dad was cold and troubled. He was a very angry man and a serious alcoholic. My brothers and I grew up terrified of him. When he died in 1997 at age 68, I hardly shed a tear. I sometimes tried to excuse Dad's behavior because I knew he was raised by a neurotic mother, but my attempts at understanding and forgiveness were half-hearted. Though I'm not one of those people who dwells constantly on their awful childhood, I think having an enraged, hyper-critical father probably did damage my life and relationships.
I had this dream about my dad approximately a year ago, which would have been about nine years after his death. At the time of the dream I was a fundamentalist Christian who believed anyone not "saved" by accepting Christ was going to burn in hell forever. Now, my dad had accepted Christ as a youngster, but he went on to live an actively non-Christian life. He deeply hurt a lot of people, especially during his drunken rages. The family still thought Dad was in heaven, however, because my mother reported that right before he died he asked for God's forgiveness. Of course for us there were just two alternatives: Either you said the magic words and were therefore in blissful paradise with Jesus, or you were writhing in the eternal flames below.
As to my beliefs at that time about after-death communication, fundamentalists think all that is Of The Devil. You may believe you're dealing with your loved one, they warn, but what you're actually hearing or seeing is a cleverly disguised demon.
So, with this background, I'll tell you about my dream. I was standing in a large room, and many people were moving about. I don't remember faces, just the sense that there were a lot of people who seemed to be going here and there in a purposeful way. As I stood there, wondering where I was and what was about to happen, a door to my left opened and Dad walked in. He appeared to be about 40 and quite handsome and fit. (At the time of his death he was obese, ravaged by liver disease and crippled with rheumatoid arthritis.
Dad was wearing a dark gray work shirt just like those he wore when he worked at a lumber mill. I don't recall the pants, but probably jeans. I was astonished to see him, because even in my dream I knew he was dead. He walked toward me, looking very somber. He wouldn't look me in the eye, and my impression was he assumed I wouldn't care to speak with him. This made me sad. Finally he mumbled, while still looking down, "'Hello, Rhonda."
I don't know whether I responded. I remember I was excited to see him, but heavy-hearted because he looked so sad and ashamed. Then he just turned and started walking away. I cried out "Daddy, Daddy!
Where have you been?" He kept walking and never looked back at me.
But as he opened the door to my right, he said quietly, "Oh, just a little farther on." The door closed, he was gone, and I woke up with a pounding heart, saying "Wow! What was that?"
As I look back, I realize this dream was the beginning of a major spiritual search for me. It also was the beginning of a long process: starting to forgive my dad.
I began questioning whether the afterlife was as stark as "either heaven or hell," and whether it was true that God only accepts born-again Christians and sentences everyone else to endless torment. I wondered whether life after death was a bit more complicated. It seemed my dad was "working" and slowly progressing. He wasn't in either hell or paradise, he was "just a little farther on."
My dreams are normally fragmented and nonsensical. This was a clear, logical episode with a definite beginning and end. I've never had another dream quite like it. In fact, I believe that was the one and only dream I've ever had about my dad.
During the months after the dream, I became curious about near- death experiences. At first I only read those that confirmed my fundamentalist beliefs. But then I started looking at others, and realized the vast majority of people encountered a loving God or their loved ones in a beautiful place. When I researched the fundamentalist explanation for this, it was that the few fundamentalist Christian near-death accounts were these incredible spiritual experiences, while the huge numbers of conflicting experiences were satanic. Common sense told me this just could not be true.
After spending quite a bit of time looking at NDE's, I cautiously started researching after-death communication. (Remember, I had been taught these were Of The Devil.) It was at this point I began to realize the dream about my dad was most likely a dream-state communication.
Since then I have had other experiences I believe were communications. On a couple of occasions, I smelled the strong odor of cigarette smoke when absolutely no one was around. (Dad was a lifelong heavy smoker.) Unfortunately, I didn't know then about ADC's through smell, and I was just confused about where the cigarette odor was coming from.
Then, in November or December of 2006, I woke up one morning to my dad calling my name. He sounded agitated and excited, and it frightened me a bit. There was something disturbing about the tone of his voice.
About a month later, my youngest son died from a drug overdose. I am still in the throes of grieving for him, but I believe that in the months leading to his death, God was gently preparing me. By the time my son died, I had decided there was more to the afterlife than heaven and hell. If I were still a fundamentalist, I would have had to believe that my beloved son, so miserable and hopeless in this life, was in hell forever because he didn't believe Jesus was his savior.
And somehow I would have needed to reconcile that hideous knowledge with the biblical concept that "God is love.'' Somehow I would have had to accept that when I died and went to heaven because I happened to believe in Jesus, my son and most other people were being tortured. Apparently fundamentalists in paradise are blessed with some sort of God-given ignorance about what's happening to the rest of humanity.
All this new knowledge is still difficult for me, because I grew up on hellfire, damnation and a literal interpretation of the Bible.
But slowly I am beginning to hope that God loves and accepts us all, regardless of our dogma and theology. God has impressed on me that I need to trust him with my son and everything else.
As to my son, I have had two experiences I believe could have been communications from him. I am a neat-freak who never allows anything to pile up, and that includes messages on my answering machine. I always delete them as soon as I listen to them. My son had called on Christmas Day to thank me and my husband for his gifts and wish us Merry Christmas. I smiled as I listened to the message, and then I deleted it. A week later he was dead. I cursed myself for being the kind of person who has to clean up everything. I told several people I was afraid I was going to forget what his voice sounded like. A few days later I played my messages, and his was there. I gasped when I heard his voice. All other old messages were gone.
Then a week or two ago I was driving my car, windows rolled up tight, thinking about nothing in particular. Suddenly I smelled an overpowering scent of flowers. There were no flowers either inside my car or out.
Although I was puzzled, I would have forgotten about it, except the exact same thing happened when I got home. I was in my kitchen, no flowers anywhere, when again I detected the strong aroma of flowers. Both experiences lasted just a few seconds, but I couldn't deny they happened and there was no physical explanation for them.
I'm looking forward to more communications, and to an ever- stronger belief that God adores and accepts every single one of us who lives, and has ever lived, on this planet. I am grateful for the NDERF and ADCRF sites. They have helped me tremendously in my spiritual journey, and in dealing with my grief.