Saturday, May 21, 2011

When A Loved One Dies

I'm sitting here thinking about my wonderful neighbor who this week lost his younger brother to cancer, and who had to make the choice, along with other family members, to take him off life support. Will his brother comfort him in a dream? Can he help his brother gain better footing on the other side; is there anything he can do for his brother now?

So many people have told me wonderful stories of dream visits from their beloved, and even not so beloved, dead. I take it for granted that dreaming provides a solid connection for people on both sides of the great divide who want to get through to one another. When people don't pay attention to their dreams, the hope of connecting to their beloved is sometimes the catalyst to bridging that gap and, perhaps, becoming a life-long dreamer.

Last post I quoted Robert, "a dream is a place." Death is a place, too. Perhaps, as Shakespeare intuited, the places we go in dreams and the places we go in death share a lot in common. All things are possible in dreams; perhaps the same is true in death. Robert has written about our lack of an "art of dying" in western culture; he believes the art of dreaming true provides connection for those leaving and those grieving. I heartily agree.

I remember the dream support I was able to offer my own mom when a few weeks prior to her death, she told me a dream where my dad, who had died six years earlier, was lying with her in bed. I shared with her how if it was my dream, I would feel my husband's loving presence and know he was there for me, waiting to help me cross over. Dreams offer immense comfort for the dying and the grieving; they can also provide a bridge across dimensions that allow relationships to continue and grow.

An art of dying? I've read that the majority of citizens of this planet believe there is some "afterlife". How many believe it involves bliss or damnation, reward or punishment? Religions promote various dualistic scenarios which involve these concepts in some configuration; followers are encouraged to tow the party line or pay the price.

What if after our personal experience of death, we have a personal experience of the afterlife? (A wonderful discussion of this is to be found in Deepak Chopra's book, "Life After Death: The Burden of Proof"). What if it depends on how acclimated we've become to inhabiting non-material planes, a continuity of dreaming in some fashion? Can dreams rehearse us for a possible afterlife; can they help us choose what that afterlife can be?

From my perspective, living on this side still, I feel great joy when I remember the dreams that have shown me what my soul might want after the crossing. Eternally? I don't know; perhaps we just keep dreaming our path. That dream self I see in almost every one of my night dreams, she might be my avatar. The better I get to know her, the better I know myself. I've seen her fly, face her monsters and dance her spirit; she makes me feel hopeful and gives me confidence that I will be alright when the moment comes to leave the material plane of my beloved planet Earth.

I know that the experience of being left behind by some dear person or sometimes, a beloved animal friend, really, really hurts. I've lost my mom, dad and others who have meant so much to me. If I suggest to someone newly grieving to pay attention for a dream visit, I phrase and time that suggestion carefully. I don't presume to offer a quick fix for the pain. I know from my own experience and those of many others who've shared theirs with me, that there is comfort in dream visits. For me, these visits have offered so much more than solace, as you may have read in some of my previous posts on this topic. I'm also careful to explain that dream time is very different than our time; a visit may come instantly or take months, even years to arrive. Usually, if we're paying attention, it comes just when we need it the most.

May each soul who crosses find a path of joy and fulfillment; may each soul who remains stationed here on Earth find a link to his or her beloved dead in the safety of dreaming.

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