Last week, I dreamed about my grandmother. She passed away in December of 2000 when I was a teenager. Her death affected me profoundly and played a role in my conversion as a Latter-day Saint.
The story there is that she was killed by a catastrophic stroke 13 months after my dad was killed in a car accident. Both deaths had me questioning the purpose of life and the possibility of life after death. Being agnostic, I struggled with the possibility of nothingness after life. The event that was a turning point in that struggle was attending one of my first LDS church meetings which just so happened to be a testimony meeting. A woman stood up and spoke of her grief at losing her mother to a stroke recently and she bore her testimony of the after life and the promise of being reunited with her mother again. She had the testimony of the knowledge that I wish I could have. At that point, I sought it and believed that sisters testimony was a sign to me. The similarity and the message given was exactly what I needed and seemed evidence that God was leading me to where I needed to be to find peace and comfort.
A couple of years later, I was a baptized member of the CoJCLDS and was attended the temple to perform her baptism by proxy. It was a commonly held belief in my family that the person who would have had the hardest time accepting my Mormonism would have been this grandmother. It was with some trepidation then that I approached the ordinance where I offered her an LDS baptism. The spiritual experience I had was unexpected. She is the only person for whom which I have preformed a temple baptism and felt it manifested to me at that moment their pleasure and appreciation at that opportunity being extended to them. The feelings I had were a unique combination of joy and elation that the next time I felt it was when I prayed to confirm my choice of marrying my husband. Both of these experiences are special, spiritual experiences that highlight my testimony.
In a way the dream I had was an extension of that impression I got from her baptism. Again it became clear to me of her happiness and joy at accepting an LDS baptism. (In life, she had been a devout Episcopalian).
I dreamed that I was visiting with a friend in a store where we had happened to run into each other. We were chatting and our conversation turned to the LDS belief in the afterlife. I shared with her how strongly I wished to be visited by my father or grandmother in a dream or vision. During the conversation, a person unknown to me came up to me and mentioned that someone was going to be coming to speak with me soon. This person, a young man slightly older than me, mentioned that he needed some help finding something nearby that he had been missing. In fact, it was a Subway sandwich. He was very excited about the idea of a Subway sandwich since according to him it had been years since he had an opportunity to eat one. I excused myself from the conversation with my friend and set out in search of the nearest Subway. Then, strangely, I realized that I had left my shoes behind so we had to return to the store where I left them before setting out again.
As I turned around to walk outside, I saw my grandmother walk through the door. She was wearing a bright turquoise tunic over ivory linen pants. Her hair was in her characteristic white teased shaped do (anyone who knows her know what I'm talking about) yet she looked younger than how I knew her in life. The sparkle in her eye was the same and she seemed so happy and healthy. I exclaimed, "Grandma!" and we embraced joyfully and then started chattering with each other. I caught the eye of my friend who realized the significance of this moment and cheered that I was seeing my grandmother again.
In the course of our conversation, I asked my grandmother a couple of questions about the afterlife and she communicated to me that the young man so excited about Subway was a guide from the spirit world to help make sure that she and I found each other. She told me about other men and women who were in the spirit world and how their bodies are made up of matter. At the end of our conversation, she held out a tray of cookies that she had made and offered them to me. This led to another series of questions about whether food existed in the spirit world. Obviously it did but something was lost in translation as it was difficult for her as a spirit to manipulate the matter of the cookies properly. She told me that it was done using the power of mind and visualization (similar to the concepts described in the book What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson). Because of the travel required from one plane of existence to another (spirit to temporal), the cookies did not materially appear the same to me as they did before she left. Not that this was an important bit of information, but it was still an interesting concept to learn.
As I began to think of other questions that I could ask her and wondered at how long I would be able to visit with her, I hugged her again. As I pulled away from her to ask her more questions, she disappeared from my presence, just as my father once disappeared mid-hug in a dream I had about him.
I woke up feeling so very happy to have been visited by my grandmother. I greatly miss her and feel at a detriment that I have not been able to learn from her as the last role model in my family to be a stay at home mother. I find myself similar to her in many ways especially as I show my love to my children through cooking with them and buying them toys. Those are my fondest memories with my grandmother and I find myself recreating those memories with my young ones.
As I pondered the dream, I realized the young man was a guide and I noticed the many similarities to how the afterlife was described in What Dreams May Come and how compatible those concepts are to the LDS understanding of the spirit world.
I am so grateful for this dream and for the happiness it brought into that day and the memory now that I can cherish.