Forum for Visitation Dreams – dreams in which we are visited by someone that has died. I had the idea for this forum after I was visited in a dream by someone close who had died. It was a powerful experience that I wanted to honor him through this Forum. My story and the dream can be found in ‘Terry’s Story’.
In this Forum, you can post a visitation dream. I know that visitation dreams can bring up all kinds of feelings. Mine was overwhelmingly positive. However, there are a whole spectrum of experiences to be shared. I ask that we respect everyone’s experience, allowing each person to tell their dream and have it be treated with respect and honor. This Forum is a new experience for me. I will not be able to respond to everyone. If I do, it will be to comment on my experience of your dream, how it affected me.
It was Saturday morning, the 26th of March, 2017. My wife and I were rushing to get to the Marin General Hospital by 11:00 am. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and billowy, white clouds were colliding into each other. It was the first sunny day in a week. There had been rain on and off, and the high temperatures were in the 40’s and 50’s, low for Northern California. Today felt different, like there was an opening.
As we got in the car, we were a little rushed. With Saturday traffic, we should be okay. I was driving my red, Toyota Corolla. My wife sat next to me, and we put on cool jazz to relax. The Bay Bridge traffic crossing the San Francisco Bay was tight, but things were moving. I expected to get there between 5 and 10 minutes early.
Everyone would be there this morning. Terrence had been admitted to the 5th floor last night. He and his wife spent the night together. She brought in some of his favorite music, and she sat by his side all night. That was good, I thought. They got some quiet time together.
Terrence had built a successful business out of nothing. He had traveled across the country from the East Coast. He told me, “When I drove into San Francisco, I knew this was my home. There was just something about the blue skies and the fresh air. It was different here.”
He was a cabby for a few years. He told me that he was avoiding responsibility. He had witnessed his father die at 21. He had told his dad that he would take care of the girls and the family.
He gave a ride to a member of the local media. The reporter told him that he needed a ride to an event, a car show. Terrence would have been in his early thirties. The guy appreciated Terrence’s demeanor and attention to detail. Terrence told him that he would be happy to do it again for him or any other member of the media. That led to his business, planning events to connect the media to car shows around the Bay area. His business had 5 offices up and down the West Coast with over 100 full-time employees. He was considered a pioneer in the business.
He had employed people in his family including my wife and his step-daughters. He’d done it all with a flare of creativity, and an attitude of service and kindness to customers and employees. He was a good guy.
As we pulled into the Marin General Hospital parking lot, it was cool and breezy. The sun was peaking through some clouds. It was easy to find a parking spot, and we got out of the car and headed towards the hospital’s entrance. We walked up the walkway, past the emergency ramp, and through the front desk area. We knew where we were going.
My wife had visited Terrence during the week. I had seen him last weekend.
He was diagnosed on December 26th, three months to the day earlier. He had a tumor in his lung, lesions along his esophagus and two tumors in the back of his head. He had been experiencing vertigo. At first the doctor’s sent him home thinking that it was an inner ear thing. His symptoms had continued and he was readmitted.
I could tell as the oncologist talked to us, that he was painting a positive picture for recovery. I wanted to ask, “So, what stage are we in? Has the cancer metastasized? What are the chances for recover?” I could see my wife’s brain calculating. This was her worst nightmare. She lost her father at 8 years old to lung cancer. Her mother never talked about it.
The Bay area plus Marin County meant the best of everything. I figured that he was in good hands and put my questions aside.
He had brain surgery, followed by radiation and then chemotherapy. My wife was taking advantage of opportunities to spend time with him. She kept saying, “No one’s talking about end of life stuff. No one’s even mentioning it.”
We did healing things on our own. The Bay area is a hub for emotional and spiritual growth. We attended a family constellation practice group. These groups are difficult to explain. Picture using representatives for family members and having a facilitator work with the family system based on the representative’s emotional responses. I facilitated a constellation with Terrence as the client. My goal was to have a representative for Terrence, for life and for death. In this way he could face both, in a safe environment. Terrence wasn’t there, but we had asked if it was okay if we did some healing work for him. My wife said that he kind of said yes. In the constellation Terrence’s representative seemed to be okay with the choice in front of him, not leaning one way or the other, maybe more fascinated with death.
I prayed for Terrence. I have had a morning spiritual practice for years where I meditate, pray, visualize and read books that inspire me. I was experimenting with sending Reiki, a Japanese energy healing practice. I would do this for about an hour each morning. I included Terrence in my prayers and visualizations.
I sensed that Terrence was somewhere between being on the fence and facing his death. When I held him in prayer, I never got the feeling that he held much hope for recovery. This made visiting and praying for him hard.
I made some intense connections with him during the last three months. Looking into his eyes I could see fear and knowing. I was afraid to hold his gaze. I hadn’t asked him outright if I could pray for him. I wondered if he knew. I was afraid that I had crossed a boundary. Maybe I had.
I had the feeling of knowing too much.
When we arrived just before 11 am, his wife, his step-daughter and her husband were there. Another step-daughter and husband were on their way. It was a small room with a huge window looking out on the Marin hills. Terrence loved hiking with his wife and their dogs. The sun was peaking in and out from behind clouds. The sky was spring blue and clouds were blowing by.
My wife went immediately to his side and said, “Hi Terrence. We’re all here. We love you. You have been such a support and blessing in our lives. You just rest. It’s okay to rest.”
Terrence turned his head and looked at her. He took a deep breath. He drooled. My wife turned to get a tissue. He took another breath. My wife turned back and wiped his mouth. Then he was gone. Everyone burst into tears.
It happened so fast. Everything. Three months were nothing. What had happened? He was 67, seemed vibrant, handsome. He had a ton of hair. Just six months ago he was laughing and carrying on. I felt waves of grief as I hugged one of his step-daughters.
This was new for me, to have someone in the prime of his life taken, a contemporary. He had been kind to me, welcoming. He appreciated my work.
His memorial was a month later. I remember crying a lot. One of his step-daughters, my wife, and a long-time employee gave talks. They were touching. I don’t remember details, except for feelings of pride and compassion for my wife. When they finished, there was a screen behind the podium flashing snapshots of Terrence, friends and family. One picture of him in a cowboy hat wading through shallow water in a small mountain lake in the Sierras caught my eye. He looked to be in his mid to late thirties. He hadn’t shaved in a few days. He looked fit and tan, and had an edgy grin.
After the memorial, I bought cheese, tomatoes, avocados and bread on the way to his widow’s house. We laid out a spread and ate. We talked about the shock and cried. I drove home with my wife exhausted.
We were in bed by 9 o’clock. I fell asleep right away. I had a dream that I don’t remember. It woke me up in an instant. I looked at the clock, 12:06. Damn. Intense anxiety.
I kept thinking, “What happened? What does it all mean? He was just alive and now he’s dead. Is this how it ends? Is this how my life will end? Do I have cancer? Does my wife? How would I know? I don’t even want to know. This sucks!” I wrote in my journal and cried more. I didn’t see how I could get through this. I felt vulnerable.
After about an hour and a half of this, something shifted. I felt a lightness come over me. I felt giddy. I thought, “Holy shit. I know the answer. Love. That’s what it’s all about. Love and going for your dreams. If that’s all there is, than so be it. Look for the best. Give the best. And go for it! That’s the answer.”
I stopped, wrote a gratitude letter to God, and I fell asleep in peace. I had a dream;
I am in the stairwell of a three story apartment complex. I am sitting half way up the stairs between the second and third floor. Sitting next to me is Terrence’s step-daughter and CEO of his company. We are talking like we did at earlier in the day. She is grieving. Now Terrence appears in front of us. He looks just like he did in that picture that had caught my eye, young, fit and handsome. He is ecstatic. Terrence squared. He looks at me and gives me a fist pump across his chest. This is a family gesture. It’s a combination of funny, dorky and mischievous. I laugh. He doesn’t say much, but the message is clear. “Go for it, Chris. Everything is fine! I am fine. It’s all good. You guys were great! Thanks for being there at the end. Don’t focus on my death. Focus on living life. Have a great life and go for your dreams!”
This dream was a gift. I still grieved, but it was easier. He had reassured me, from the other side.
This forum is in honor of Terrence.