The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives
fully is prepared to die at any time. ~Mark Twain
When I was very young, there was a time period of about 7 months when I experienced 3 very tough losses. I was 8 years old and these experiences were my first memorable encounters with death. In March my grandpa (Pops) passed away. In July, my Uncle Robin died and then in October, we had to put our dog Gretchen to sleep. It was during that year that I really started to understand what it meant to die. Not in the Biblical sense, but in the physical sense. I understood the permanence in a way that I don't think most third graders are able to.
Anyway, about 4-5 months after my Uncle Robin died I had a dream about him. It's a dream I can still remember vividly to this day. In the dream we were in a 2 story house- which is strange because at the time of his death he lived with us in a ranch style home. He was in the living room on the couch and I was sitting on the floor. He seemed very torn- like he shouldn't be there with me. I could tell he wanted to be downstairs, to explain to me what was going on, but that he knew he couldn't be there. He started walking up the stairs and I asked where he was going. He told me his dad was up there.
Of course at 8 years old I didn't really know what to make of this strange dream. I remember talking to a friend about it several years later and she said maybe he is telling you not to worry about him because he is in Heaven with his father. Did my uncle really come to me in a dream to tell me he was at peace?
Years later, a few months after we graduated high school, a former classmate of mine passed away. We weren't close friends but his death really upset me. Maybe it's because just a few months earlier at graduation he walked across that stage with all the potential in the world and now he was gone. I went to the funeral, tucked the obituary and the memorial card away in a high school scrapbook and went on with my life. The following June, I had the strangest dream about him. At the time of his death, his high school girlfriend was pregnant with their baby. In my dream, he was talking to me about his daughter. Again, I had the feeling that he was torn between where he was supposed to be and being in my dream. The next morning I woke up and went through my old scrapbook. I found the memorial card and realized that it was his birthday. I had a dream about him the night before his birthday! I didn't know it was that day and I don't think I ever even looked at his date of birth before that morning, but sure enough another very surreal dream about someone who has departed this life.
So what's my point in all of this? Do I just have an overactive imagination? Am I just overly sensitive? I'm not sure...but what these experiences further reinforce to me is that the loved ones we lose along the way aren't lost forever. We will join them again one day in a perfect place. I can't have a conversation with my uncle, or see my high school friend, or hold my baby in my arms...but I am given something much better than all of those things. I am given the promise that when I depart this life I will be united with all of them for eternity. There will be no torn feelings and no pain. Just peace and love in the glory that is the kingdom of heaven.