THE FIRST STEPS
Somewhere, deep inside, I had always believed in Life After Life; that is, that we continue to exist on some level or in some manner after our physical bodies die. I remember in the 1990s watching the popular television shows in which a medium would “read” audience members and give messages to people who had experienced the loss of a loved one. I would watch in awe as those receiving the messages acknowledged that no one could have known the information the medium had passed on, and express such joy knowing that they were, in fact, hearing from their family or friend who was in spirit. I would secretly wish that I had those gifts; that I could help people hear from their loved ones and let them know that they were still with them on some level. Then I would hear the sound of my husband’s and son’s voices behind me teasing, “Oh, I hear a name that starts with an M, or a T or an S or a B…” followed by hysterical laughter as I shooed them both out of the room so I could finish watching my show. Needless to say, they did not share my belief and loved to tease me about it.
About five months after Robbie had crossed over, I had the most vivid dream I had ever experienced. I found myself in a house where I could see three or four rooms all in a row, and I could see through each room to the next. Robbie was in the farthest room. Each time I walked into the room ahead of me to get closer to him, he would move into the next room, always staying two or three rooms ahead of me. Finally, as if feeling my frustration at not being able to reach him I guess, he turned to me and said, “It’s alright, Mom. I knew it was coming, and I’m okay with that.” I believe it was his way of letting me know that he wasn’t surprised or distressed at his death. I found the dream to be strangely comforting and reassuring, and I had the strongest feeling that I literally had been with him again, even if it was only at arm’s length.
A short time after that dream, we got a call from one of our dear friends and neighbors asking us if they could come over to bring us a gift. Of course, we said yes and set up a time. When they arrived, they were carrying what appeared to be a framed picture wrapped in brown paper. Our friend explained that several months prior while attending church as he regularly did, he had picked up the program as he took his seat. Inside the program was a special prayer he had never seen before, and he immediately felt he had to save it for someone, though he had no idea whom.
When our neighbor heard about Robbie’s passing, he immediately knew why he had saved that prayer. He and his wife had lovingly framed a picture of Robbie next to the prayer for us. As they unwrapped the gift, and I read the prayer through my tears, my dream suddenly made sense! Here is what it said:
All Is Well
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way, which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was. There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.
—Henry Scott-Holland, Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral
A short time later, I had another lucid dream. This one was set outside a little café with white plastered walls. I was sitting at a little bistro table with someone else, a man I think, but I was watching myself from a distance, which was kind of weird. On the wall behind me, there appeared vertical lettering, and it read: Corinthians 2. I must not have been paying close enough attention to it in my dream because when I looked back at the wall again the letters appeared four times bigger than they were before. I could hear myself saying, “Okay, I’ve got it, Corinthians 2!”
Now, I must explain that I am familiar enough with the books of the Bible only to be able to name about half of them. I certainly can’t quote the Bible or tell you where to find specific passages, quotes or information. Also, please note that I’m aware there are many versions of the Bible, and this passage may be slightly different in your copy, but this was my dream, and it referred to the version of the Bible that I own. The following morning, I awoke very early and went downstairs with my Bible in hand. While sitting at the kitchen table drinking my coffee, I opened my Bible, and as I read 1 Corinthians, verse 2, I felt goosebumps erupt all over my body. The verse was about Spirit and spiritual truths, and in part reads, “…that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.”
Whoa! I thought. Gifts? Me? I have gifts? “Gifts,” to me, meant that one could somehow communicate with spirit. I had always thought that only special people had those gifts from God. Who was I to assume or expect that I could do anything spiritual! Was I missing my son so much that I somehow created that dream? I wondered. Am I misinterpreting the message? I’ve never had a dream about the Bible before, why now? Little did I know that this was only the beginning of my lessons about Spirit and “gifts.”
Just then, Rob came into the kitchen and immediately did a double-take at the sight of me sitting at the table in my bathrobe, hair sticking up all over the place, drinking coffee, and reading the Bible at 6.30 in the morning. After nearly 40 years of marriage, he knew that I am not a morning person and was rarely up before him. In fact, he often tells people that I am allergic to mornings!
As Rob reached for his coffee cup, he kept looking back at me as I was reading and rereading the passage. After pouring his coffee, he turned around, and cautiously asked, “Is everything alright?” When I relayed my dream and read the passage to him, he smiled and nodded. He was obviously not as excited as I was about the message, and I could see the same look of doubt in his eyes as when he’d teased me about my spiritual shows. However, he listened lovingly and let me go on and on, putting my behavior down to grief.
But I was not the only one experiencing dreams. As the months passed, phone calls and emails from many of Robbie’s friends started pouring in, each excitedly sharing with me their own “visits” from him. They wanted to tell me about their happy reunion with him and how happy those dreams made them feel. Robbie’s friends just seemed to know that I would be okay hearing about these and, in fact, it did lift my spirits (no pun intended!). They all said that the dreams were so real it was as if they were in the same room with Robbie, having conversations and laughing, just as they had always done.
Even though I loved to hear about these wonderful visits and was grateful for everyone who took the time to share, I was a little sad, as several months had now passed since I’d had a dream of my own. So, I wrote a message on Robbie’s Facebook page, which we had kept active. Many people felt the need to leave messages, and now it was my turn. “I love you and miss you, but can we talk?” I wrote.
A short time later, I was having dinner with a close friend, when she started telling me about a wonderful medium she knew who was coming to town in a few months. Since he was very popular, and his events sold out quickly, she suggested I call and make a reservation as soon as possible. Hmm, a medium? I had never been to see a medium before, and I didn’t know what Rob would say about me spending the money on such a “foolish” thing. Since he was out of town, however, I decided to make the reservation knowing that I could always cancel.
When I phoned the facility they told me they would be happy to put my name down for that medium’s appearance, but they were also hosting another gifted medium called Hollister Rand the very next night and had a few spaces left. Tomorrow!! Go and see a medium tomorrow! What would I tell my husband? These and many other questions were speeding through my brain when I heard the person on the other end of the phone say, “Hello? Did you want to reserve a seat?” Before I realized what I was doing, I said, “Yes! Yes, please.”
Filled with feelings of excitement, mixed with a little fear of the unknown, I arrived at the small venue where there were about 40 people seated, waiting for the demonstration to begin. My thoughts were running wild. “What am I doing here? What is Rob going to say? What if the medium doesn’t pick me? Oh, God, what if she does?” But before I knew it, the demonstration was underway and, just as when I had watched this on TV, I was in awe of the messages and reactions of the people receiving them. Then all of a sudden Hollister looked my way. “I have a young man in spirit standing at the back of the room with a large black dog in spirit and I believe he belongs to you,” she said.
I almost fainted, and my heart started racing. Growing up, Robbie had had a big black Lab/Rottweiler mix dog. Trying to control my emotions, I nodded my head when she asked if she could come to me. This was her way of asking permission to give me a reading and relay the messages. The very first thing Hollister said to me was, “Your son said you had asked to talk to him, so he helped arrange this reading. The first thing he wants to tell you is, ‘Oops?’” Oops! Are you kidding, Robbie? Oops! I wanted to scream.
Hollister told me how sorry Robbie was that this had happened; he hadn’t meant to do this.Then, with tears flowing down both cheeks, I listened to all the messages from my son—specifics about his passing, his memorial services, his love of music, the plaque we had made in his honor, and so on. My head was spinning, and the tears were still flowing, when she informed me that she also had a message for Robbie’s dad.
That one message, so carefully chosen by Robbie for his father, was the beginning of my husband’s transformation from a non-believer to a believer. Or, at least, it started him thinking about the possibility.