Dreams

I know hearing about other people’s dreams isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but this one was pretty monumental for me, so I want to document it.

I had a dream about my Grandpa Tom last night. He passed away about several years ago, when I was 13 or 14. Whenever I dream about someone in my life who’s passed on, I wonder if it’s their way of trying to communicate with me, or if it’s just my subconscious working something out. The logical part of me says that it’s the latter, but I’ll never fully believe it.

Here we go…

He stepped out of a white van onto a street corner busy with people. He was dressed in military clothing – it was old and frayed, but he wore it proudly. He seemed a bit disoriented, looking around as if he wasn’t sure what do to next. I took this as my cue. “Grandpa?”, I said, in disbelief. “Oh, hi.”, he replied. I went over to him and gave him a big hug. I wasn’t sure if he knew that he was dead or not, and I didn’t want to disrupt the natural order of things, I said nothing of this fact.

“How are you?”, I asked, not really sure what else to say at this point. “Good, good.” I’d never known him as a man of many words.

Immediately, I had the idea to capture his presence with a photo – so I could share it with my family. For some reason, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to call them while he was there, and a photo was the next best thing. I saw a friend on the street and asked if she had a camera – she said she did. As she searched for hers, I remembered that I had mine with me as well. We both found our cameras at the same time, and I asked if she would take a picture with mine – turning it on and preparing to hand it over. As I set the mode to “Auto”, I noticed several lights flashing on the camera that I’d never seen before. When I tried to take a picture, nothing happened. I changed the mode and tried again. Still nothing. My friend tried with her camera – the same thing happened to her. Something about his presence made our cameras not work. I found it odd, but decided not to spend anymore time on it and just enjoy the visit.

A part of the dream gets foggy here, but somehow we end up one of my company’s branch offices – a different location than where I work. I know a few of the people at the office, but am not completely sure where we are. We ask take a tour of the building.

We walked through the building, saying hello to people and making small talk. At one point, Grandpa Tom asked, “Can they see me?” I reply, “I think so. Then, you know that you’re…?” “Yes, I just wasn’t sure who was able to see me.”

Later on, still at my work, I ask, “Do you get to choose where you’ll go when you visit?”

“No, we have no idea where we’ll end up.”

We arrived back at the reception desk, and the other people who had joined our tour needed to take care of something before we could leave. My grandpa knew his time was short, and he had to get back to be picked up. He walked out of the building without saying goodbye. It took me a few seconds to realize he was gone. I stepped outside to see if I could find him. I spotted him among the crowd, about a hundred feet away. First, I yelled. “GRANDPA!!” He didn’t hear. Then, I started to run. At first it seemed like the distance between us wasn’t getting any shorter – his wide stride dwarfed my efforts. Then, he slowed down and I was able to catch up.

We walked in silence for a bit, then I asked “What’s heaven like?”

“You’re all alone. You don’t do anything or see anyone all day, except for meals.”

“So it’s sort of like a retirement home?”

“Yeah, exactly.”

“Huh.” (I found this odd, but didn’t remark beyond this)

We continued to walk, then I asked, “Do you see anyone else there? Family?”

“Only the people I eat meals with.”

“Did you know that Missy passed away?” At this point, I was speaking rather low, and he had a hard time hearing me. It was then that I noticed that he still wore hearing aids. I got closer to his ear and increased the volume of my voice. “Did you know that Missy passed away?” I said, perhaps too loudly, as I heard feedback coming from his hearing aid.**

“Yes, yes. I knew. I wasn’t all that surprised, actually.”

I stopped in my tracks and looked at him with bewilderment. “But, she was only 30.”

“She was under an incredible amount of stress. Too much.” This comment made me think of my own life – she and I were in the same profession, made many of the same life decisions. As I get closer to the age when she died, my own mortality becomes more and more apparent.**

We continued to walk down the path, hand in hand, until we arrived the same street corner from where he would depart. It was a tough goodbye. I asked if he had any messages he wanted to pass along to anyone else. He said he did, and pulled out a bill fold with numerous checks to different people, and a letter, which I assumed was to my grandma.

“Grandma misses you a lot. We all miss you.”, I said. Fighting back tears, he continued to flip through his billfold and find the items he wanted me to pass along.

At this point, my mind was racing with things I wanted to tell him, wanted to ask. I knew I had to choose wisely, as I only had a few more minutes with him. Finally, I asked, “Did you know I got married last October?” “Yes, I knew.” I didn’t ask how he knew, just took comfort in the fact that he did.

We said our goodbyes and parted ways. I watched him board the white van and drive away.

I woke up almost immediately after that. Although the time that passed seems short, it was an entire day in my dream. I know that’s not everything from the dream – there is dialogue I’ve left out, details I’ve missed, but that’s all I can get out of my head right now. I’ll revise it later as I remember more.

**For those of you who don’t know, Missy was a cousin I greatly admired who passed away unexpectedly in 2001, at the young age of 30. I’ve had numerous dreams where she’s come to “visit” me – some of them she knows she’s gone, others she has no idea… none of them have made it down on paper. It’s still too fresh, too soon, too hard. Maybe someday.

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1 Response to “Dreams”


  1. 1 Mila Munden August 10, 2007 at 7:36 AM

    I miss them both.


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Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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