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Tree S's ADC

Experience description:  

This is about a dog.  Merly died on my grandmother's 100th birthday. He has expanded my world extraordinarily since his death.

Most of my life I have lived separated from my family and apart from relatives. "My" animals became my steadfast family.  

I am a fraternal twin. My twin brother, Daniel, died eleven days after we were born. For as long as I can remember I have felt he is watching over me...and that we both live, though perhaps not in the same place. 

A stray dog showed up in my life when a frightening period was beginning to unfold.  He came with the name Merlin. A cool little guy who was half Australian Cattle dog and half Australian Shepherd.  He was calm and intelligent, with prick ears, starred crown, and a black patch over one eye. The day he appeared is the birthday of a long-cherished friend.

He was a comic and a dancer. During the most frightening years of my life, he gave me love and laughter. His pupils were large with love when he looked at me. His coat was exquisitely soft to the touch. 

Merly had a hard old age. My life had become quite wonderful. I was a wreck for quite some time following his death. He had been the one protective and loving constant spanning fourteen years of my various lives. Losing him was unbearable. I was really not okay. Then some interesting things followed. About a week after Merly died I was stepping out from a dark garage into the bright sunlight. As my eyes were adjusting I was alarmed to see a very heavyset woman racing from across the street straight for me...like an assault. Well, she stopped in front of me and breathlessly said, "Tree, did that little dog die?" I was stunned because I had never seen her before, because she knew my name, because Merly had just died. So I very slowly said that my dog Merly had died, not knowing for sure if she knew me or Merly. She was momentarily speechless and then said, "Oh, I was wondering where he was. I'm so sorry. You were a good mom." 

A week after that I was standing at a corner with my other dog considering which way to walk. The sun was very bright so I was surprised to suddenly see a man a short distance away and moving with great haste along the sidewalk in front of me. He moved like a Charlie Chaplin in a silent movie. He hadn't been there seconds before. I thought to myself, boy, that guy must really be in a hurry (to appear out of thin air and to be moving so fast). To my great surprise, he was running up to me. He stopped abruptly in front of me and said "Where is your other dog." I said he had died 2 weeks ago so I was heartbroken. He then said, "I'm so sorry. I've always seen you together." There was something sweet about him. He peered under my hat brim and said, tilting his head bird-like, "And your dark glasses. You always wear dark glasses. Where are they?" So I told him I'd stepped on them (shortly before Merly had died) and they were broken. He smiled kindly and said, "Oh you're not having much luck lately are you". An odd thing too was that while he was looking under my hat brim I was forced to look at him more closely and I was amazed by how much he looked like me. My age, fine-boned, silver white hair with a youthful face, blue green eyes, and just a little taller than me---something like my twin brother Danny might look. He made such a nice impression on me. As I stepped away from him he hesitated and then followed me, held out his hand and introduced himself. Barry. Not my twin's name. He walked back casually from the way he'd come, in no hurry at all. I am certain I had never seen him before that day. I never saw him again. 

There is more to the Merly Barry story.  I'll just mention one more thing. Within a few months I moved to Barry Avenue, though when I met Barry, moving was nowhere on my horizon.

Was this experience difficult to express in words?  Yes

Parts, yes, because I can't explain or describe an undercurrent I sensed.

Did you ONLY sense an awareness of presence of the deceased without actually seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling them?           

Uncertain

Did you hear the deceased or hear something associated with the deceased?          Uncertain

            Describe what you heard, how clearly you heard it and what was communicated:    Barry  and the woman, on separate occasions, asked questions about the deceased. The following relates to question #4: As I walked home I remarked to myself that Barry was like Merly, sweet and a little goofy ( Barry didn't keep the social distance  that a stranger normally would and smiled a lot), like a person with a crush might behave. I noticed that Barry looked like my twin brother may have looked.

            Did the voice or sound seem to originate externally or outside of you, inside you, or did you not hear a voice or sound, but had a sense of knowing what was communicated?  no

            If you heard a voice or sound, was it similar or dissimilar from the voice or sound the deceased made when they were alive?           n/a

            Is there any possibility what you heard was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience?           n/a

            Was there any possible impairment to your hearing at the time of the experience?   n/a

Did you feel a touch or experience any physical contact from the deceased?            Uncertain

Barry reached out and shook my hand.

            Was the touch familiar or unfamiliar?   Familiar. He did not feel like a stranger.

            Was anything communicated by the touch?  Yes. That he did it with the intent - felt an urgency -  to communicate or underscore something more before he departed. I think I left before he had finished and he tried to think of something fast to complete his communication.  He thought of a handshake and hoped the handshake and introduction would be enough.

            Is there any possibility what you felt was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience?  no

Did you see the deceased?         No

I did not  see the deceased unless Barry was my twin brother and/or Merly and not solely an emissary

            How clearly did the deceased appear?            n/a

            How much of the deceased did you see?       See # 7

            Did the deceased appear or not appear to be the age at which they died?       Barry was about my age

            How healthy did the deceased appear to be?            n/a

            Is there any possibility what you saw was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience?           no

Did you smell a distinct smell, scent, fragrance or odor associated with the deceased?      No

How long did the experience last?        A few minutes with the woman. At least five minutes with Barry

Was the beginning and end of the experience gradual or more sudden?         As described in narrative

Could you sense the emotions or mood of the deceased?           Yes

Very kind, happy, thoughtful. He reminded me of a kid with a crush. He smiled a lot. He was sweet.

Did the deceased give you information you did not previously know?  Yes. What I previously did not know was that Barry always saw Merly and me together, that he knew about my dark glasses because I did not know him at all. Also about a month after meeting Barry my husband and I were notified out of the blue that our landlord was going to sell the condominium we were living in and wanted us to move in June if not ASAP. One of my favorite streets was Barry Avenue. When I began to look for an apt I walked Barry Ave with a friend and commented: "Maybe his name was Barry because I am going to live on Barry Avenue."  But that did not happen.  Several weeks passed. It was urgent that we find a place because I was also having a show in June. I made a short list of  features the apt must have. I asked my husband if we could look for a place in the few weeks after my show opened. He said Yes, but first he had a commitment to see two apts. We looked at one place and then drove to the other location. The building was old and unattractive but the apt was lovely and huge. When the manager said it was the only apt with an air conditioner I paid attention. This was on my short list. The apt had everything on my short list but did not accept dogs. As we left the manager said, "Oh the dog will be all right. You are just what we are looking for. You can have the apt."  When we drove away I asked my husband what street the apt was on. He said "Barry Avenue". I learned later that the apartment was available because the previous occupant had recently died. Hmmmmmm...

How do you currently view the reality of your experience?           Experience was definitely real

            Please explain why you view the reality of your experience as real or not real:           Both people were strangers who approached me abruptly.  Both opened with a question about Merly's death/whereabouts. Both had personal information about me.

            Was the experience dream like in any way?   No

Not dreamlike, but surreal.

Describe in detail your feelings/emotions during the experience:           I was grieving. I was confused by the extreme depth of my grief. I'd grieved before and I could only respond, "Yes, but this is different."

Was there any emotional healing in any way following the experience?           Yes

The Barry experience eventually broke my grief and I understood its depth. It had inexplicably nagged me that he had said "I've always seen you together" instead of saying "I've always seen you walking together." Why that small difference would tug at me was a puzzle that wouldn't go away. Eventually I asked myself, "Okay. Who have I always been with?"  The answer came pretty quickly: I did not come into this world alone. I came with someone. Until my twin died, we were always together. For some reason, this answer broke my grief.

What was the best and worst part of your experience?      The best part was that it may be evidence that Merly still is and can still connect with me. Maybe my twin brother really does watch over me. Maybe life continues. I was so sad already that there was no worst part.

Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience?         Uncertain                  Describe:            I am far more interested in this and related subjects

Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience?
   Yes     Life continues. We can connect with those who have died, especially if we pay attention

Did the experience give you any spiritual understandings such as life, death, afterlife, God, etc.?            Yes     I am sure life continues.  Reality is more than we can understand. Barry really  did seem to appear out of thin air.

Death Compacts are when two or more living people promise among themselves that whoever dies first will try to contact the other(s).  Have you ever made such a compact?        Yes

I did with my husband but I doubt he took me seriously.

Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later?          Yes My puzzled husband said that it was true. I had said that maybe his name was Barry because we were going to live on Barry Avenue. My friend remembered the comment. My husband also admitted that it was clear I  had not known the apt was on Barry Ave because of the question I had asked the manager re. parking permits. I'd thought we were still in the town where we had viewed the first apartment.

What emotions did you feel during the experience?            A sense of wonder, possibility. I was happier.

Was the experience witnessed or experienced by others?           No

Just my other dog, which is perhaps of note because he uncharacteristically stayed calm and did not react at all to the strangers. Characteristically he was unfriendly with strangers and would at least put on a stern face.

Did you have any sense of altered space or time?   Uncertain

Reality seemed altered

Did you become aware of future events?       Uncertain

As it turned out, yes

Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body?     No

Did you meet or see any other beings other than the deceased?            Yes

Barry, the woman

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

Except that both were surreal

Have you shared this experience with others?        

Yes     Their eyes glaze over, usually--as in Good Grief !! All this about a dead dog?!  My husband can't deny it but has difficulty believing. Some friends have been very moved. Others just listen with little reaction.

Have you shared this experience formally or informally with any other researcher or web site?   No

Were there any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience?            No

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?         Yes 

Merly still keeps in touch.

Did you ever in your life have a near-death experience, out of body experience or other spiritual event?           Yes 

When I was 12 I moved to Spain. A new friend took me for my first walk there. When I found myself standing in Roman ruins I felt a sense of vertigo. Time collapsed into one moment: Now.  All my little adolescent concerns were as nothing. I briefly saw the place as it had been  and saw the people of that time going about their daily business. The moment passed. I looked at my friend. She had obviously experienced nothing. I said nothing and hardly touched the memory for many years. 

When I was in my twenties I dreamed that my Grandfather had died. In the dream I first saw my grandmother looking at his body, so familiar yet now forever silent. I then saw him in his home, absolutely filled with joy. He was sitting at his kitchen table recalling that here was where he used to eat, here was where he did this. Here was where he did that.  These reminisces gave him extreme pleasure. People weren't on his mind, but this was not due to any negative reason. He was tremendously happy and waiting around until his body was taken care of. The dream was beautifully colorful. Palpably  joyful. I can't describe the joy. 

He did die that day and had not yet had a funeral. His body was found in a pasture where he had died of a heart attack.

Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?               Yes

There are smaller details  I could add, and other experiences, but I have covered the most significant. 

Please offer any suggestions you may have to improve this questionnaire.    Include animals