- Religion and Philosophy
A True Experience
When I was 16 years old, my brother Danny, who was 19, died.
He was a seaman recruit on a Navy ship called the Midway. He fell from a smokestack 40 feet in the air, where he was repainting the call letters of the ship, onto the steel deck. His head was crushed. His body was crushed. He died instantly.
The circumstances surrounding his death were murky. It was possible that he died as a result of a hazing incident that got out of hand. We never really knew for sure what happened.
Our whole family was knocked right out of its orbit. Our siblings were close: we had formed deep ties forged in the adversity of our upbringing. Our parents were strict fundamentalists; too strict--though they did not realize it and so must be forgiven, Dad was a child batterer--we were all just terrified of him, just terrified at the sound of his feet coming up the stairs--and Mom, though she did not realize it, was his enabler.
This is...this is really hard to write about. It's hard to think about. But, for some reason, it's keeping me up tonight.
We were all just shattered, just...destroyed in our hearts by Danny's death. No one expected it. It was my first experience of death in the family and the first sibling we lost.
My sister, who was seventeen at the time of Danny's death, had a distinct premonition of his death the night before he died. She told me of this--oh, we were so close, us three kids, Danny, Carole and me--we shared our daydreams and our nightmares. Carole had a dream that Danny fell from somewhere very high up to his death, on the night before he died.
I pooh-poohed her and tried to reassure her, though I could see she was disturbed by this dream. It was a week later that we heard of Danny's death.
I had no premonition beforehand whatsoever that Danny had died. His death came as the biggest shock of my life. But I remembered my sister's dream...
It was about three months or so after Danny's death that he came to visit me. I remember it well to this very day, so many years later.
I lay in my bed at home, in that twilight state halfway between sleeping and waking. I saw Danny come into my room and sit on the edge of my bed. I saw him just as clearly as I see the computer in front of me and the view from out my window. I could feel him, too. I knew it was him and he was really there and he had something he wanted to tell me, and to make sure I told my sister Carole.
He wasn't unhappy or distraught or bitter or fearful or angry. He wanted me to know, he was alright. He wanted me to tell Carole. I've always wondered why he didn't visit her, too.
He wasn't in heaven nor was he in hell. He was travelling.
That's the closest I can get to what he conveyed to me. He was travelling. He was hitchhiking on the road to Paradise. It might take him awhile, but that was all right. He was happy travelling.
Oh, I found such comfort from his visit! There wasn't anything bad or scary or harmful about it. He has never visited me again, nor has he ever visited Carole, but I'm sure he's arrived long since, and waits for us both.
I remember the feeling, the comfort I found, from seeing him again. It lifted my heart and got me through a very bad time.
I really don't know what I believe about the afterlife. I don't know if I believe in heaven, or in hell. I don't know what to believe about religion. I do believe, we have some kind of spirit, some kind of soul.
And I do believe my brother's ghost visited me after he died to let us know he was all right.
I haven't talked very much about this visitation before to my friends or other people. I think people won't believe me, I guess, or maybe, until now, the feeling has been too personal to share. I don't think my sister talked very much about her true premonition, either, maybe for the same reasons.
I'm glad I'm writing about it now. I think it's the right thing to do, the right time to do it. I'm not sure why...Just a feeling I have. There's some Scottish in our backgrounds. I believe we're all a little fey. I was born with a caul, too, you know.