How To Bring A Loved One Back From The Dead.

When the person you love most in life dies, it doesn’t hurt.  The word “hurt” implies that you can feel something, but the truth is, all you really feel is numb.

I had a year and a half to prepare for the death of my father, starting with a phone call to my homeroom class.  This was 1985, long before cell phones, and I was a senior in high school.  Our classroom had a wall mounted rotary phone in it, but it could only be used for communicating between the classroom and the administration building.   When it rang my teacher picked it up, listened intently, and then hung up.  “You need to go up to the front office, there is a phone call for you”, he said somberly.

When I arrived there and picked up the phone it was my mother on the line.  She began to give me the “facts” in her WASPy style, a style of which I have much too often heard come out of my own mouth in the ensuing years.  It’s done in a measured concern type of tone that tries to convey the message, “yes, we have a situation here, but let’s take it step by step and not get ahead of ourselves.”  I stuck with her until the part about a “brain tumor” came up.  Everything after that was a blank.

During a presentation at his office, my father had frozen on a word.  He could not get it out of his mouth.  Then he had a seizure and fell to the floor.  After being rushed to the hospital, he was given a cat scan where they found the source of the problem, one those pesky cancerous tumors had decided it would call his brain home.  The next year and a half had many moments of sorrow and pain, and surprisingly, some of joy as well.  But still, nothing in those eighteen months could prepare me enough for the day we lowered his casket into the ground.

In the twenty-five plus years since, I have thought about my father often.  He was without a doubt the greatest person I have ever known.  At the time of his death I loved him more than I had loved anyone else in my life, and only with the birth of my children have I loved someone more.  I always say he was like me, but without the “asshole” part, because he had all my good traits and none of my flaws.

I had long since come to accept the fact that he would not be there with me for the important and special events in my life.  Yet the only thing that I could never come to peace with was that he would never get to meet my children–or they him.  Then I had something amazing happen to me, something I never would have expected, and something I never would have believed.  I had a dream.

Once I was at a party, and there was a lady with a decent size group of people standing around her.  As I listened in to the conversation, I figured out that she did dream interpretation.  She was being peppered with all sorts of questions from enthusiastic and hopeful people, wanting to find out the hidden message in their dreams.  Questions about unicorns, and rainbows, and swimming with dolphins.  It was a regular new age conclave.  I walked right in the middle of it and said to her with a straight face, “I had a dream I was in a pit of naked men, covered in honey.  What do you think that means?”

Suffice to say, that is how I generally feel about dream interpretation.  But this dream I had was such a powerful dream.  A dream where you can hear, and smell, and feel the people in it.  You know, like that dream you had about the girl who sat in front of you in social studies, but never gave you the time of day.  A “sheet changing” dream.

Man, my dreams are never this cool.

In this dream I was at home with my wife.  My daughter was playing in the yard.  With her grandfather. My father.  There he was, albeit somewhat older, doing his patented “I’ve got your nose” gag, and making her squeal with laughter.  I watched from inside the house, as my wife went about making dinner.  It did not strike me as unusual, that my father was alive and well, and playing with his two year-old granddaughter.  I just felt a sense of calm, of peace, and of all things being right with the world.  Then in an instant it changed.

My daughter suddenly turned and ran into the street.  A sense of fear and dread that only a parent can understand ran through my core.  I saw cars at the end of the street coming her way.  I saw the joy of my life ending.  I saw my reason for living gone.  Almost instantly my father ran for her.  I followed out from the house, but he had a head start and was closer.  She ran down the street and though he tried, he could not catch up with her.  I pushed my legs furiously, seeing that the cars were closing in and my time running out.  I passed up my father, and came within a few feet of her.  I made a mad lunge forward, stretching out as far as I could, and scooped her up into my arms, and to safety.

I awoke to a stillness in my room that clashed with the frenzy of my dream, and at first I was disoriented. Slowly I began the process of coming back to reality, where you remind yourself that “it was only” a dream.  Then suddenly, something inside of me made me stop.  Something made me want to not only hold that dream, but to make it real.  For the first and only time in my life I chose the Orwellian concept of “doublethink”, where you not only choose to believe something untrue is true, but forget your choice to do it, and it becomes reality.  I chose to believe that my father had visited and played with my daughter because the feelings associated with it were as real and as valid as anything else I have felt in my life.

I also chose to understand that my father chasing after my daughter, and I passing him up and bringing her to safety was a metaphor.  That the days where I would watch my father at his workbench, slowly and steadily bringing to life some project that my young mind couldn’t conceive of, were, despite how much I longed for them linger, gone forever.  I had gone from being the admirer to the admired, from the protected to the protector.  A message telling me that I had passed from just being a son, and now was a father in my own right.

That dream helped me to understand that my children could “meet” my father every day, through me, from the parts of me that were from him.  It is years later and I now have a two year old son.  As I watch him play, and learn, and grow, I look forward to the day my father comes to visit him as well.

Brilliant stuff like this rains down like..well, rain, on my stream during the week. If you want to get wet, follow me on Twitter and StockTwits. You can also pick up my book Trading – The Best of the Best: Top Trading Tips For Our Times by clicking here.

51 Responses

  1. Your post touched me immensely. I just lost my dad to cancer. I feel that a part of me died with him and all I want is to reunite with him. But I have a husband, a baby girl and my mom to live for for now. I hope someday I have that same revelation you had and be able to come to terms with his leaving us. I hope there really is something called a soul and an afterlife.

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  3. If a loved one dies don’t worry when you die you will see them in the afterlife think this to yourself when someone dies :)

  4. Since my Dad passed away in 1994 (age 72) I’ve had trouble dealing with it – because in hindsight I didn’t even try to take advantage of all of his knowledge & insight to life. One moment about two weeks before he passed, has and will continue to haunt me my entire life. In short, it was an opportunity to tell my Dad that his son loved him very much. Again, I knew I should, I wanted to, but again I didn’t say it. The words ” I love you,” I never uttered to my parents as an adult to that point.
    I got married in 2003. My only biological child, a daughter, was born in 2004. I also have an awesome daughter through my marriage to my wife. I’ve been really struggling since my Mother passed in 2012 (age 86). Although I have made it a point to always tell my wife and daughters how much I love them on a daily basis many times a day, about a year ago (2013) I realized that I had become very much UNLIKE my parents (ESPECIALLY my Dad) in how they treated people and how they lived their lives in general. Near as I can figure and for some reason this really ramped up after I got married. I do not know why this happened. When I realized this was happening I stated to make a conscious effort to be the person I was – like my parents. After reading this blog post I know now how important this is. I would like my daughters to know their Grandparents, especially their Grandpa – my Dad. I also want them to know me, or rather what I consider the real me is – the way I used to be – because that is how I want them to live their lives – like my parents did.
    Thank you very much from a 50yr old man with tears in his eyes.

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  6. Can anybody tell me if a dream can come true , or someone is trying to get ahold of you ..
    I’m 16 I lost my gram 6 years ago , me and her were so close , closer then her and my mom , I spent every day with her , helping her all that , one night she was rushed to the hospital .. I didn’t no what was going on , I had to stay in bed …. Few weeks later after I saw her and stuff in the hospital … She had past , I cried for about 2 months straight .. After a year or 2 I started to think about it even more that person I lost and I felt as if it’s my fault so I started self harming myself , I’m not proud of it …… But now after all my crying and wishing and all that for some reason , she came to me in a dream last night ….I woke up bawling my eyes out so much I wanted to scream right now it’s 5:26 am , Pittsburgh .. So people are sleeping right now … I just wanted to no if anybody new if dreams like this could come true , or if someone is trying to tell me something …

  7. Thanks for sharing, a great read. I too have the “my parent (mother in my case) will never know my kids” emotion from time to time as a watch them grow up. Some days it is a harder emotion to deal with than others, but your point that they can “meet” their grandparents through you is spot on. I see my son (3 yr.) starting to pick up on the little sayings and lessons that I learned from mom and it certainly helps me take comfort in her absence. I realize that in time these lessons will help build the foundation for his life (and my daughter’s) in the same way they did for me all of those years ago even though she is not here to give them. Keep up the great work Brian!

  8. That’s beautiful ! I lost my husband 15 months ago and i see him all the time in my dreams. Even thought it hurts we will meet again . We are meant to be with the ones around us and when it’s are time i will be by his side till death do us part.

  9. wow very moving what you share with us… I’m 41 .. I lost my father when i was 16.. I relate to your feeling of numbness….like “this can’t be real….I just lost my father!” It takes years to assimilate the experience of loosing my father…and in all honesty i don’t thing I ever will……

  10. Wow. Amazing writing. I really can relate after losing my Nan, my guardian angel. Goosebumps! Had an amazing dream which I like to think was astrotravelling where we held each other and I could smell her once again. My Nan was in the most beautiful place and at peace… “Live your life to the full Jacqui, we shall meet again.”

  11. Brian, my eyes are filled with tears, I lost my Dad in 84 and my older brother in 95. I miss them quite often. My mom just had surgery for breast cancer and I keep telling my father and brother it would be nice if you guys would have stuck around and helped me with mom instead of checking out early. Just as my sobbing started, in to my room walks my youngest son who rubs my back and asks “what’s the matter dad? why are you crying? I look at him and see both my father and brother telling me it’s alright, what can we do to help your pain? So I guess they are still here and helping me to take care of mom in the form of a young strong handsome version with no bad habits and a heart as big as Texas. Thanks again for bring things in focus for me today Brian. It was something I needed to hear. Your blogs inspire me more than you can imagine.

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  13. Stories and metaphors … a gift of understanding, I think. All that love and the acceptance that it’s your turn now. So heavy a loss and it needs time to be understood, I think.

    Thank you. Your story is so bittersweet, so touching.

    My mother slipped away and there was no way of pulling her back. It was so strange that she was gone and that really I didn’t know where she was anymore. Yet everything looked the same, the same roads and trees and houses. As if my mother were still here.

    For me, it was a ladder dream with her stepping off in a soft blue silk bias cut dress, waving as she was lost behind some clouds and it was my turn to step up the ladder, no one left ahead of me.

    • I love the way you beautifully describe that Madeleine.

      The mind is a strange thing. In these cases I guess our sub-conscious is just trying to sooth our feeling of loss.

      Thanks for reading and for the great comment.

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  16. Hi Brian! I just stumbled upon your blog (Your Mom never told me you have one!).
    I have just read this post and am still crying. Your honesty is breathtaking and heartbreaking at the same time. I remember that same day you found out so well too. I was with Amy at Sowers when she was told. Some things you just never forget…(It was also the same day Jerry had his 1st heart attack).
    Your dad was such a great guy and fantastic soccer coach. He was so loved. Your dream sounds like such a gift from him. Your beautiful children have one heck of a Guardian Angel!

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  18. Thanks for sharing. My dad passed away from cancer two moths before my first son was born 4 years ago. Every 3-4 months or so I have these same vivid dreams you describe and wake up wishing he were there like he is in the dreams. It saddens me greatly to know that he will never meet his grandsons but in a way it feels like he comes back in my dreams to check on me and let me know he is okay. Glad to know someone else has these same experiences.

    • Really sorry for the loss of your father, that unfortunately is something I can truly relate to. Like I said in the post, I am not really religious or even spiritual but I’ll take those “visits” from my dad. Your son will always have a connection to his grandfather through his relationship with you and the parts of you that come from him.

      Thanks for reading buddy.

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