Not long after Nathan died, I had a dream.

It wasn’t just an ordinary dream.  It was more vivid than normal. In it, I was sitting someplace talking with Nathan.  He was clueless. He didn’t know he’d died. (That is something I am quite sure is true.  He never knew.) I was explaining, and he said, “You are shitting me.”

It was quintessential Nathan, exactly perfect.  Eleven years later, I can still see his dream-face, and hear his dream-voice.  It’s very easy for me to think of that dream-conversation as a real event.

I had this same dream, or similar ones, off and on for about a year. They became less frequent over time, and the vividness began to fade.

Since then, I’ve noticed that lots of people think that when you have a dream like this, it’s a sign that the dead person is visiting you, that they are coming to you in your dreams to tell you that they are okay or whatever.

Nathan was not visiting me.

Last night, I had a very short, sudden dream.

I distinctly heard a voice call to me sharply and urgently, “Sal—wake up!”  The voice was clear, just as clear as Nate’s was in those immediate post-death dreams. I knew exactly who it was. I woke up immediately and it all felt so real that I got up and went to check on the wood stove and make sure everything was okay. It was so real and so profound that I was awake for about an hour afterwards.

A common phenomenon among people who live together for a long time is that a surviving person will actually see glimpses of their departed spouse or partner sitting in their favorite chair or standing in the hallway or standing at the sink washing dishes.  They literally see this. They aren’t imagining it or making it up.  Or they hear the voice of their loved one, quite audibly, talking in the next room.

Their brains are creating those images and those sounds. Their brain is putting together the thing they expect to see or hear.  Brains are funny things, and memory is weird as hell.  This is just one of those weird things that it does.

So, did some dead person come to me in my dream and speak to me so clearly?

Uh, no.

The voice was Dave’s and he was sound asleep the whole time.




15 thoughts on “Beyond”

  1. I had a very similar dream after my brother died. We we in a car driving in the mountains at a high rate of speed. It was so strange because we dont live anywhere near the mountains. I can still remember having the tingly feeling in my stomach that you get when you drive over hills sometimes, and he clearly told me not to worry about him anymore and that I needed to move on with my life unafraid. It was comforting to me at the time, and it seemed so real. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. When I woke up I knew logically he was still dead but I felt like a moron for wanting to call him just to make sure that his death wasnt just a dream.


  2. Sally, I had a similar dream when my Dad died. I was so sad that he would not know my children. I pretty much grieved specifically over that! I had a 1 year old when he passed. I then went on to have 3 more children. Each time I mourned my father. After the birth of my 4th child, I had a dream. I was actually still in the hospital, (hospital births are a wonderful thing), in the dream, my dad came to me. I was confused. I said to him, “Dad, you’re not supposed to be here, what’s happening”? He answered, “I always come to see the babies”! Then we walked down the hall and he looked at my daughter, through the glass! I woke up balling my eyes out. A nurse asked me what was wrong. I explained my dream. She said, “I believe he was here”! I stopped grieving the fact that my Dad wouldn’t know my kids. I choose to believe somehow he does. I may be an idiot for believing that but it helps me get by!


  3. The weirdest dream I’ve had was when I was abducted by aliens.
    It was a pleasant evening and my husband and I were both sitting in bed reading.
    There was a strange scratching at the bedroom open window, and my husband, who normally would never talk that way, said, “sounds like aliens trying to get in”.
    We both laughed and went back to reading, neither of us wanting to be the one to investigate the cause of the scratching.
    Later, I turned out the light to go to sleep.
    My husband was already asleep.
    A few minutes later, being very tired, I started to fall asleep, but, still not totally asleep.
    Suddenly, I was very aware of something grabbing both of my legs and felt myself sliding towards the bottom of the bed.
    I thought, if this is happening, I do NOT want to be awake for it.
    I immediately fell into a deep sleep, and what seemed like seconds later woke up to the room in full sunlight.
    My husband was still asleep. Also unusual, as he is an early riser.
    Well, I checked my pajamas and they were still on straight, no weird puncture marks, no bruising… too old to be pregnant… everything seemed okay…
    Either the aliens had been extra careful… or I had a very weird brain experience.

    I do occasionally have vivid dreams where I know I’m dreaming and can actually control what I do in a vivid dreamscape. So far it’s always been entertaining.
    I guess the aliens lost interest in me…
    They’ve not been back and I hope it stays that way. 😄


  4. I may be an idiot for believing that but it helps me get by!

    Whatever works. I don’t do well with fantasy.

    No matter how bad the truth is, I want the truth.


  5. My three year old knows her brother died when they were ten days old. We have some beautiful pieces of art to commemorate him… one of them has these beautiful pieces of crystal that send rainbows dancing through our breakfast nook each morning. We have discussed how those rainbows can be a nice way to remember her brother.

    Cue a relative who heard this then telling my child, “Aw, look Johnny sent us a rainbow! He’s saying hi to you”. Before I could say anything, my daughter looks up and says, “uh. He can’t say hi. He’s dead, don’t you know? Rainbows come from prisms not dead people.”

    While I can be respectful of other people’s need to create a narrative that helps them deal with their loss, that would be incredibly unhealthy for my family. The human brain does lots of randomly odd things, it searches for patterns and if it can’t find them, it will create one. It randomly fires off electrical impulses that do all kinds of awesome and ridiculous things. My brain is no more infalliable than my immune system which requires constant chemical warfare to keep it from destroying my joints, or my son’s genetic mutation.

    Sally, I love the picture of you and Nathan. Thank you for reminding me that grieving my son doesn’t mean I need to surrender to fantasy.


  6. Like you, I don’t believe in angels,etc. But I do love dreaming about those that I lost. The dreams are so real, so vivid! It’s a present to myself.


  7. Shortly after my Pappy passed away I had a dream about him. I dreamt that he was still alive. I was close to my Pappy and took his death hard. I knew the dream wasn’t real, but I still woke up crying. To this day I still wish he could have been there for my wedding, and to see his two wonderful great grandkids.


  8. I love those dreams. The ones I hated were the ones I had after my breakup of my first marriage. I had vivid dreams of my ex taunting me and embrassing me and flaunting new girl friends in front of me. The funny thing is I left him and in my dreams I was upset that he was having a life without me. The dreams were very very real like. I would wake up feeling humiliated after those dreams. Thank goodness they went away. I have since found out that those dreams are quite normal. When my niece broke up with her BF she went through it for about six months.

    I still love the dreams where my love ones come and visit. Silly I know, but it gives me some kind of comfort. And I like the idea that there is life after death. (My children never met my dad and I wasn’t one for talking about my childhood to them, two of my sons have my dads exact way of walking and looking around, hard to explain. They don’t look anything like him, but their mannerisms is dead on to him. My youngest son can pick up any instrument and play it. He can draw anything. His paternal grandma was the same way. I guess we do live on in our future relatives DNA. I tilt my head exactly like my great grandma. They say that if you had traumatic back grounds it can stay in your dna for generations. They did a study on it with slaves. Sorry, don’t know how I got off the dream subject. My mind wanders. Lol)



  9. And I like the idea that there is life after death.

    I have a friend who is basically an atheist but says that he believes in life after death because he “wants to.” 🙂 I understand.


  10. I had pneumonia a few years ago. My oxygen was terribly low although I didn’t know it at the time. I ended up in the hospital for ten days. Four of those in intensive care after my O2 went all the way down to 70%. While it was so low I had the most vivid dreams. They weren’t scary nightmares. They were comforting dreams of like my parents coming to me. In my dreams I knew they were dead in my dreams, but we visited and with them was my sister who died at the age of four.


  11. My mom died when I was a young girl, and for years, I dreamed about her weekly and sometimes more than weekly. Usually, she was leaving, and I was telling her to stay, but she says by and starts walking away. During her walking away, I call out to her and I really call out. My husband says I call out for her a lot and my kids tell me that when they were living at home, I often called out for my mom. I am not sure if I ever believed my dreams were my mom’s coming back; in fact, I was haunted by those dreams because they were nightmarish. I, too, have suddenly been awaken by my husband’s voice and I always hit him. Because if he was awake and trying to get my attention, yelling isn’t the way to go, and if he was asleep and I was dreaming, shame on him for intruding on my subconscious like that. Anyway, dreams, who the hell can explain any of it.


  12. My dad died in 1993, What I miss most is hearing his voice, I for get what it sounds like. I did have one memory of being fast asleep and I know I heard a voice say my name which made me jump.
    When we lost one of our doxies I swore I heard his nails hitting the tiled floor and jump inbed with us. I know he was not there but to me it was comforting. Lovely pic of you and Nathan, a remarkable man as Ihave listened to some of his music.
    On another note, I know it has to be miserable in the garden shed this morning and wonder if she isnt dragging half her clan to the shop to stay warm, if not. A pox on the both of you NN and JN


  13. Our mind is very powerful and intricate. I’ve read, humans are the only animals that comprehend their own mortality. In other words, we know that we are mortal and will die.

    Of course this is only my thoughts and opinions. I think dreams can be a coping mechanism. Signs. Also believing in a higher God. God is really in your mind, serving function there.

    Because just as our magnificent brain/mind gives us the ability to comprehend our mortality, our mind also develops coping mechanisms to deal with life challenges. To help deal with pain, trauma, grief, loss.


  14. I understand that our brains can play tricks on us, but I do believe in ghosts. My experiences have happened while awake and I can sometimes explain them after giving them some thought. Some I can’t.
    My mother died 11 years ago from pancreatic cancer, and my father has lived with my sister ever since. My sister has a daughter with severe cognitive impairments.
    One evening my sister was in her kitchen and my niece kept walking back and forth between the kitchen and my father’s bedroom. When my sister asked what she was doing, my niece replied that grandma was there, and they were talking. She said that grandma said to tell Mommy, my sister, to watch out for Sandy.
    What my niece and sister didn’t know was I was very depressed and struggling at that time.
    I don’t know how to explain the incident, other to believe it happened. It gives me comfort.


  15. if he was asleep and I was dreaming, shame on him for intruding on my subconscious like that.

    Okay, I laughed.


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