A Dream about Jesse

First of all let me say I don’t feel entirely comfortable with the idea of communicating with the those on the “other side.” It seems like dangerous territory to me – like going into a foreign country you know little or nothing about. You know or believe there is a good and loving being in charge of the place. You know or believe your loved one is there. But you also suspect there are other entities along the way who would like take advantage of your love, your desire to talk to your loved one, and your utter ignorance to deceive you.

On the other hand, the thing about losing a child is that you can no longer pretend that death of the body is far away or irrelevant to your existence. Part of yourself has gone into the beyond and the rest of you wants to go there too. At least I do — since he died I have only been half in this life and the spiritual world seems very close, so close I can reach out and touch it. I cannot stop wanting to talk to Jesse, to see what he is doing. I’d be happy with a distant glimpse — as long as I could see for myself that he is okay. Since he died, three people have told me they saw or heard from him in a very real way: one in a dream, one through electronic phenomena, and one during a near death experience. But I have not seen him, even in a dream. I often think I hear his voice or get messages from him, but I cannot be absolutely sure it is not my active imagination.

Last Sunday was a miserable cold rainy day and I couldn’t stop thinking about Jesse. Different days I think about different times in his life. Sunday I was thinking of his young teen years. As I got ready for bed I prayed that God would let him come to me in a dream like he did with that other person. Since I rarely remember my dreams, this would be an unusual circumstance for me. And do you know – that night he did! It was a highly symbolic dream but so full of his essence and personality. I was awakened suddenly by a noise at 3:30 am and there was the dream, so close and vivid I wanted to go back to sleep and get back to it. But I couldn’t.

The dream was about his death. It seemed to be about helping me to understand — not why it happened — but rather how it happened. Perhaps it answered, or tried to answer, some deeply underlying questions I have had, questions I was barely conscious of. Consciousness is a complex and multi-layered thing and the dream seemed to help me understand at least a little more about it. Dreams are notoriously hard to explain, so if you don’t like people talking about their dreams, you have my permission to sign off now.

The narrative, as I have said, was very symbolic, but much of the dream’s reality came from the feeling. Jesse looked about as he looked just before he died or perhaps slightly younger. He seemed to be on some sort of school field trip and I guess I was tagging along. There was this row of queen-sized beds, made neatly with white sheets and lavender-colored bedspreads. Here’s where it gets weird(er).

These beds had swimming pools under the sheets, covered with white plastic lids. Jesse went into one of these pools, exploring and being mischievous. We (me and unseen others) realized at some point that he was gone and knew somehow he had gone into the pool. We wondered how he did it without disturbing the sheet or bedspread. Then somehow we knew he had drowned and I had a feeling of great grief.

A little time passed (who knows how the perception of time works in dreams) and I found out he had somehow sent message from the pool before drowning. I was in a room, like a funeral home room, and there was a small poster propped on a table with a note written in his cartoon writing with lots of clouds and doodles. The note said, “OMG. The MOiB!” This part was very visual. I can still picture that poster, even though the rest of the dream is fuzzy.

That’s when I woke up, the poster still clear in my mind. I had no idea what a “MOiB” was but I felt strongly that it related to the lid of the pool which, in the dream, he realized was locked or stuck. Since I could not get back into the dream I reached for my phone and searched DuckDuckGo (Google alternative) for “MoiB.” Apparently this can be an acronym for several things but the definition that jumped out at me was that it is a term that somehow relates to GPS — Global Positioning System — technology. I had the sense that the dream was about Jesse leaving his body and then finding himself locked out of it.

It did not have a scary or ominous feeling. Had I dreamed this while he was alive, I might have been terrified, but since he has already passed on, it seemed to have more of an explanatory nature. Beds and sleep issues were a huge theme in his life from babyhood on, and in the end, his bed is where he died.

I believe it was a message from Jesse. It had his slightly warped sense of fun and a bit of both art and technology.  That essence was present in the dream. I will take whatever messages I can get, however they are delivered. We are still awaiting delivery on his tombstone, which will be engraved with “Artist ~ Scientist.” 

537″]hardnocksent The poster in the dream was similar in style to this picture[/caption]

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Thoughts and hopes the night before the solar eclipse 

It is the night before the total solar eclipse. I am sitting on the porch of a cabin in Bryson City, North Carolina, writing and listening to my brother-in-law playing country songs in his guitar, music that blends perfectly with the mountain air and crickets of this lovely evening. The cabin is called the “Trot In.” It is surrounded by tall trees that encircle a disk of clear blue sky. It so happens that the sun will be visible right in the middle of that patch of sky when the eclipse happens. I look forward to the celestial show but I am hoping for something more than a show, however spectacular. 

This solar eclipse is probably a providential sign of Big Doings. There are many theories that have been put forth by watchers of signs in the sky — war, the end of the world as we know it, the second coming of Christ, a counterfeit second coming to be staged by enemies of humanity, etc. — and I do not doubt it is a sign of something. But I am hoping, probably as Linus hopes for the Great Pumpkin, for a more personal sign– at least that the eclipse might show me something or tell me something or cause me to realize something that up to this point in my life I have missed. 

I am hoping that by driving the eight hours to this place in the path of totality I will find an essential key to the puzzle of life and after it is over, some new understanding will snap into place and things that don’t make sense today will make sense tomorrow. Like why my son Jesse, who would be so fascinated by it and would have so many funny and interesting things to say about it, is not standing beside me on this mountain, watching the eclipse.


Will he see it too? Will he see it from the other side of the sun? Does he know the meaning of it all? Will he somehow clue me in? Does he know things that no one here in earth knows, like why the shadow of moon will travel west to east when the moon generally travels east to west? Does he know if God uses such signs in the heavens as harbingers? Does he know if I will see him soon? 

I will just watch and listen with all my heart and soul and see what happens. Whatever happens I do not think I will be disappointed.

Grief and hope after five months

I am having such a hard time getting back to all the writing projects I used to think were so important. And yet I still think writing has something to so with my mission in life, so I still do it every day. I just can’t seem to squeeze out much I want to share with the public. I used to write about books nearly every day, and in fact, I am still reading quite a lot, but my books and my life seem to melt into a blurry puddle and I cannot seem to extract a clear enough thought to shape into words.

I go about my life, going to the office, grocery shopping, cleaning house…. but when I sit down to do my life’s work, writing, I find that my spirit has melted into a lump of grief, all smooshed into a gray ball that is trying to find its way to the light. As you see I am doing a lousy job of expressing this in words and even if I could, who would want to read it? What good are words when it comes to knowing the truth? The truth is beyond words. Words can only capture the general direction of it.

The world seems so full of heartbreak now that grief is as common as breathing. Yesterday I read about a 21-year-old guy killed in a car crash on Route 58 near my house and I thought about his parents and said a prayer for them. I dread the thought of the horror they are now going through. The guy’s crashed car ended up hanging from a tree off the highway. Every day someone is facing the loss of a child, the regret, the guilt over every harsh work, every argument, every time you didn’t give them enough attention, every time you could have spent with them but chose to do something else, like pay a bill or go to work, or God forbid, do something just for yourself like read a book or go out with your girlfriends.

Blessed are the oblivious. I wonder at how oblivious I once was to the grief that permeates this world. How can this be given that I had lost all four of my grandparents, my own parents, and my in-law parents? But all of them departed with life in the right order: grandparents first and then parents. I was supposed to be next.

Sometimes an acquaintance would lose a child and I would think how horrible that would be, in fact unthinkable. So unthinkable I didn’t think about it, at least not in terms of such a think happening to me. We all witness death practically every day on the news and in the movies and on TV. We get used to seeing death as a remote fact that happens to other people on glass screens and cannot touch us. When it happens to someone we know it hits home and makes us think; but in a week or so, or 24 hours, we file that thought and continue on in our belief in our own immunity. We are so practiced in putting death in the glass box, a sanitized wall between us and the messy blood and grief of it.

It is now just over five months since Jesse’s death. Not long enough to recover from the mere shock when I see all those hundreds of photographs of his radiant face, usually such an innocent and trusting face. Not long enough to get my mind around the fact that though Jesse still exists, that particular life in the photographs is over.

When he was barely four he asked me if he was going to die. I told him everything that lives will die but he did not ave to worry about that for a long long time. “But what if some people don’t want to die?” he asked, starting to cry. “It’s just like going from one world to another,” I said.

And I am convinced that is the truth. But why are we so blocked out from that other world into which we so easily slip when we leave our body? What is it about these bodies that makes us so blind to the eternal reality? According to the many near death experiences I have read, the minute we leave our bodies, we see the expanded reality and what is going on in this world too. It’s like our physical body is a locked room with the shades drawn.

Here is what I think I understand about it. There is very little we actually understand about the nature of reality, either in this world or the next, but it seems there is an element of choice. Just as I might decided to concentrate my pen on a single piece of notebook paper or limit my attention to a single book I have committed my attention to living this material life with its full set of natural laws as a resident of this material body. The body is  the bottom line of the contract. When the body can no longer house the spirit, our contract with this world ends.

Our bodies and minds come with certain limitations, and some souls live in bodies with more limitations than others. When the spirit leaves the body it also leaves the limitations. Jesse’s brain had some issues with the processing and organizing of information, issues that he struggles with most of his life. He did an amazing job of compensating and overcoming his limitations.

He researched ADD and knew his condition well. He found workarounds, many natural and lifestyle oriented, but also found that certain drugs seemed to help him function better. He wanted to be a productive person so he used the drugs, and as far as everyone knew, used them carefully with close attention to safe dosages. But apparently he make a mistake with drug combinations and this led to his early death. There is recent research that says people diagnosed with adult ADD have a greatly increased risk of premature death. I did not know this until afterwards.

I believe that when Jesse left his body he experienced freedom from his information processing issues. I believe he found that his full intelligence was free to explore, understand, experiment, understand, and do whatever project or mission God had in store for him. That’s what I truly believe he is doing right now – his next project, one perfectly suited to a soul with his curiosity, desire for adventure, and intellectual abilities.