Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Dream?

by Leigh

Jack and his great grandfather
I feel compelled to tell you a story although the story does not have so much to do with photography. Actually it's about memories and being open to things that God has to tell me.  I really don't even know where to start as I type this late at night.  I'm afraid that if I don't get the words down now that the emotion behind them won't feel as true.  I rarely remember my dreams.  Occasionally there will be one that is just so random, so funny, so strange that it sticks in my brain but for the most part I wake up with a blank slate each morning.  But one morning last week was quite different.  At 3:43am to be exact I woke up not so much in a panic as in shock.  I remember opening my eyes and my very first thought was that what had just happened was not an ordinary dream.  In fact, I don't feel as though it was a dream at all. I knew for sure that this was something I would not forget and decided instead of waking my husband to tell him of this experience that I would rather quickly close my eyes to try and get to that place again.  Which unfortunately did not happen....I did not get to that place again and I did not remember in the morning.
My grandparents-Mom and Dad
Fast forward to a few days.  Often times after I pick up the kids from school we take a short cut home through the cemetery.  To some this may seem morbid, but for us it is normal.  There is a sense of calm and peace as we drive through.  This particular afternoon my six year old daughter informs her five year old cousin that Mom and Dad are buried here.  Mom and Dad were my grandparents.  My son was four when Dad died with Mom following behind him a year later.  My daughter was four months old when dad died and my niece was born the next year a couple months before Mom died.  Molly says quietly that she wished Mom and Dad were still around.  And as I listened to the kids talk about my grandparents a sudden spark of electricity shot through me as I remembered my "experience".  I began to tell the kids that a few nights before when I was asleep I had this dream that I was in a car in this very cemetery and a movie was being projected onto the windshield of my car.  It was a movie of my grandfather.  He was younger and dressed in a suit with a hat.  As I watched the film I felt someone grasp my hand and as I turned to see the person sitting in the passenger seat next to me I was stunned to see my grandfather.  Everything was so real.  I felt him holding my hand.  I smelled his cologne.  There was a very strong sense of familiarity.  He did not say a word as words began to pour out of my mouth telling him all about Jack and how proud he would be of him and as I began to tell him about Molly I woke up.

What happened next brought chills to my body.  From the back seat Jack, my 10 year old, said "I saw Dad a few nights ago too."  "Why didn't you tell me about it?" I asked.  "I couldn't figure out if it was a dream or an encounter (his words, not mine) so I didn't say anything. And actually I kind of forgot about it until just now."  He said it was similar to the experience he had before that involved Dad.  I should take this time to mention that Jack has an amazing memory for detail.  A week after my grandfather died in 2006, Jack (who was then a 4 year old) came into the living room one morning and in a matter of fact voice said "I saw Dad in my room last night." My husband and I were both taken aback but tried to hide our surprise as we asked Jack to tell us what happened.  He told us that dad was sitting on the floor looking at him.  He described in detail what Dad was wearing and  mentioned that Dad did not have his glasses on because he didn't need them anymore in heaven. (remember this is coming from a 4 year old!) When asked if Dad spoke to him he said "nope, he was just checking on me and then flew away into my boat picture on my wall." (which coincidentally Dad had given to him).  Fast forward to this week, Jack said that Dad showed up very much like he did that night 6 years ago.  Except this time they had a conversation and Dad told Jack how proud he was of him.

Have goosebumps yet? 

When we arrived home from school I began to tell my husband of everything that just happened...the drive through the cemetery, my instant recollection of my experience and then Jack's account of his story.  As I tell the story I can see the color draining from Shawn's face and he keeps saying "you think that is freaky just wait till..." but I kept shushing him because I had to get all these words out and in my head I knew what he was going to say. He also had a dream a couple nights before involving Dad!  In his dream they were having a conversation and when Shawn awoke he had the same feeling that I had.  A feeling that it was more than just a dream yet in the morning he had forgotten all about it until I came home and began to tell him this story.

Yep, that's me!
 I don't know how to explain this other than to say I truly believe that Dad visited the three of us this week.  Why now?  I don't know.  But that dream, that vision, that encounter as Jack calls it, has left me feeling stronger in my faith and more connected to my family.  I am thankful that Dad still lives in me today and always will.  I can feel him around me and it gives me  peace to know that Shawn and Jack can feel him too.  His spirit is very much alive in us.  

A letter sent to Jack from Dad when he was little.
As I type this tears are rolling down my cheeks not of sadness but tears of gratefulness for this connection and this reminder of one of the most special people in my life.  And as I shut down the computer now and close my eyes I hope that one night soon I will see him again. 


Jeanne said...

What an amazing and awesome story this is! How lucky you are to have had this experience, and it is one which would really help you to see that you are still surrounded with "a cloud of witnesses". Awesome! Thank you for sharing this!

Carol said...

Leigh - Thank you for sharing such a personal experience - and yet one that is so universal! I am a big believer. In fact, when I wrote the post this week on my grandmother going to art school, I felt a little of the same thing. I had started writing about my father's cameras, but started thinking about the artful influences in his life - began to think about my grandmother and suddenly it was all about art school and women - which were her causes. I kept looking at her picture - and I really believe she was directing my thoughts. There is so much we don't know and I think art helps us sustain the ability to be intuitive, and to look deeper. I'm so happy that this happened to you, and whether or not you see them again, you know now that they are there.

susan said...

Leigh...thank you so much for sharing such a personal experience. As I was reading it, the tears began to well up as I began to 'feel' the emotions of you and your family. You gave something to me today...and that something is 'hope'. My Dad died suddenly, 14 years ago...and oh how I wish to just even get 5 minutes with him again. As the time goes by...I often question, and he really there a God...why does it still hurt so much? Well...this put 'hope' back into my life by opening up and writing this post. So thank you Leigh...thank you so much. Your photos, your writing, your honesty are cherished.
~ susan

Jan said...

Wonderful story about some true blessings for your family. I know these experiences are real. They have happened to me and to my children. We all call each other when they do and share, as it lets us know that we all remain connected and that death is no barrier. I view each as the gift that it is, and I am happy for you and your family that you have received and recognized it as that, also.

Dotti said...

A powerful story, Leigh! Thank you for sharing. I can't say I've had a similar experience but I do believe strongly that as long as we keep people we love in our hearts, they're always with us, still alive to us in some way. Memories are powerful things. And ... our blog is about life ... so this is a perfect story to share.

Roxi -Coppercurls Designs said...

I'm so glad you shared that. It helps to know others have dreams that speak. And that your children are part of it. What a blessing.

Barbara said...

Leigh- Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of love and connection in your family. xo, Barbara

CarolHart said...

Thank you so much Leigh for sharing your experience. I have no doubt that your grandfather did indeed visit you and your family. I had a similar thing happen to me the day after my father past away. I believe these experiences are a gift and a reminder...where there is an open heart, those we love are never far away.

kelly said...

thank you for sharing such a beautiful, heartfelt post leigh. i've had freinds share similiar experiences with me and i just have no doubt that your dad was there with you in spirit. so glad that your experience gave you peace and comfort. love is so awesome that way. love, kelly

terriporter said...

Oh, Leigh, this is such an amazing post! What a blessing that you have been able to keep your parents with you even after they are gone. I lost my sister to breast cancer in 2005 and there are so many times that I feel her with me and it is such a comfort. Too many stories to tell but I'm so happy you shared yours here.

AFishGirl said...

Thank you, sweet Leigh. Thank you.

Deanna said...

I am so glad that I know you and have the privilege of you sharing your life as well as your dreams with us. What you and your family encountered with your dreams was a true blessing, showing us that those who loved us and were such a part of us are still with us. Sweet dreams, my sweet Leigh.

Kim Stevens said...

Sorry I'm just getting a chance to comment here....I have quite a few stories...I'll have to share someday when we get a chance to meet, too many and too long for here. But I will say, that I do believe that your grandfather did visit you, not just that day, but is with you always, watching over you. Thank you for sharing this Leigh!!

Tamar said...

Leigh, I just read this yesterday and how wonderful it is! sent chills down my spine. x

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