On the twenty-first of May, 2001, one of my great uncles passed away in his sleep after a brief struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was just one week away from celebrating his seventy-seventh birthday. Though we were not related by blood, I still remember being very close with him. As a child, I would frequently travel to my great aunt and uncle's house in Whitby with my grandmother on Friday nights. Some of my favourite memories were of the nights my great uncle and I would stay up late watching television in the downstairs den as well as viewing slideshows of old family photos.
The day I was informed of his passing, I felt as if I had lost a best friend. Up until a year later, I desperately wanted just one more opportunity to speak with him again, but simultaneously felt a strong sense of dismay knowing that it was impossible. At around the same time, I realized that I never had any pictures of him in my possession. I remember tirelessly searching through one old family photo album after another with the hopes of eventually coming across one depicting my great uncle.
I eventually found one photograph depicting both my great aunt and uncle during a fancy dinner party, perhaps sometime in the mid-1980s.They were sitting together with some mutual friends while the main course was being served. They all appeared to be in high spirits, smiling cheerfully at the camera. Feeling a sense of overdue gratification, I decided to tear off the bottom-right corner of the photograph depicting his face. I kept that segment of the photograph in the drawer of my bedside table so I could look at it every night before going to sleep.
Roughly three weeks later, I occupied some time during a Friday night by playing some Nintendo games in our downstairs den. My mother suddenly asked me if she could speak with me for a minute. I reluctantly said yes because at first, I assumed that there may have been an issue. I joined my mother upstairs in the master bedroom and she proceeded to describe a very peculiar dream she had the previous night.
In her dream, she said she distinctly remembered standing within the kitchen when the phone suddenly rang. When she answered, she heard my great uncle's voice on the other line. She told me that he mentioned that he was in a better place and that he was happy to speak with her again. After a few pleasant moments, my great uncle concluded the conversation by saying:
"Tell Scott that I miss him too."
My mother had also informed me that on that day, she was in the middle of cleaning my bedroom while I was at school. She was doing a very thorough job and ultimately came across that segment of the photograph I had torn off. The dream then made perfect sense to her.
Of course, many would dismiss such stories, since anything is capable of happening in dreams. My mother was fully aware of this and then specifically mentioned that even though most dreams are nothing more than vague sounds and images present in our subconscious minds while we sleep, this one appeared so vivid, it felt no different that the discussion we were having at that moment. She strongly felt that the two instances involved were too closely linked to be coincidental. In the two decades since being informed of this, dream interpretations became another strong fascination for me and I owe a great debt of gratitude towards my mother for informing me, since it especially gave me a great feeling of closure and eventually helped me come to terms with my great uncle's passing.