I was unprepared when my mother phoned me and told me that my child hood friend Donna just passed away. My first reaction was that my mother had gotten it all wrong. But as she read the obituary I realized that it was true.
The obituary, however, did not reveal the circumstances of Donna’s death. I couldn’t rest that night, so I wrote a letter to Donna’s mother, telling her how sorry I was and asking if she could tell me how Donna died. While I wrote, I cried. I wept into the night.
In the early morning hours I fell asleep at last, and I dreamed of Donna, It was like no dream I had ever had; it had a different, ineffable quality. There was a heavy, palpable, gray mist surrounding the dreamscape, and Donna’s image rose from the midst of it.
She was sitting in a wheelchair. I paid no attention to the incongruity of seeing an able-bodied person in a wheelchair. ” I knew my mother was wrong. I knew you were still here with us, ” I cried with sheer joy, running toward her.
She spoke to me, though her lips never moved.” No, ” she said and help up a hand so that I would come on closer. “I’m only here to tell you that there’s no reason for you to grieve. If I had lived, this is what I would be.” I realized that her arms and legs were atrophied and that she looked nothing like she had in life, full of expressive beauty. Instead, she slumped in her chair, inert. ” If I had lived, I would never have been the same,” she said.
“But you’re here”, I argued.
“Yes,” Donna assured me, “but only to help you understand that this was meant to be- that I have done what it was I needed to do. And now I have moved on. It was time and my body was broken.” With these last words Donna’s image faded.
I awoke feeling drained, but somehow healed. Weeks later, I received a response from Donna’s Mother. She reported that an aneurysm in Donna’s brain had ruptured while giving birth to her daughter. Prior to the birth, no one had known about the aneurysm, including Donna.
Then the words in the letter echoed what Donna had said in my dream: ” If Donna had lived, she would have never been the same. I put the letter down in awe. The dream had been a prophetic preamble to the letter. I knew that Donna had survived, but in a different world, While I had always believed that our consciousness survives death, the dream confirmed it for me. That was Donna’s gift to me.
She did not visit my dreams again until years later. I had suffered from asthma for many years, but in 1993 I experienced such bad attacks that I felt they could become fatal. When they intensified, I felt physically and emotionally as though I might die.
The feeling was so strong that I began scribbling letters of love and affection to my family, tucking them away in my nightstand. My intuition warned me that something ominous was about to happen.
At the height of my illness, Donna visited my dreams again. The same unmistakable feeling followed her sudden entrance. It was almost like having a television program interrupted for an important announcement.
She stepped forward and came right to the point. “What do you want?” She asked , as though I had called her away from something important. “You are grieving again.”
” I feel death all around me,” I told her.
“Yes, there is death around you, ” Donna confirmed. “Does it have to be?” I lamented. “When will it happen?” ” In July,” she told me.” But it’s almost July,” I cried.
” There will be a death in July,” She reiterated.
I had the impression that she had given me foresight to steady and ground me, just as her appearance in my dream had helped me come to terms with her untimely death. But it was not my own death that she heralded. On a Sunday morning in July, we received word that our twenty-four-year-old nephew, Ed, had died in an car accident.
I began to realize that my dream conveyed something more than prophecy; it communicated a deep spiritual message, confirming that all things in life go according to a divine plan.
How could there be foreknowledge without some form of predestination in the cosmos? How could I be informed of something that hadn’t happened yet if no plan existed?
I felt enlightened and transformed, the same way someone who has had a near-death experience might feel. I sensed in the deepest part of me the presence of a wondrous force that gave my life purpose and traveled with me as I made choices.
The grandest gift of the discovery was that I could draw on that knowledge to find comfort and healing during times of turmoil and tragedy.
At last, I learned to pay attention to dreams, to appreciate their truth and wisdom. I found that dreams can guide us, help us find solutions, clarify choices, enhance our relationships, avoid and survive tragedy, and generally stay in tune with the people and events in our lives.