Grandpa’s Message

I’ve got a story for you. One that offers undeniable proof, to this heart & soul of mine, that those no longer in this physical realm are not lost to us. That if we open, we can connect to them, reach across the threshold of life and death and speak with them. So pull up a chair and roll up a sleeve – I want you to see the goosebumps prickle along your forearm.


On the night of March 8th, 2021, I dreamt. I dreamt I drove hours and hours through a familiar dream landscape of red rocks and deep canyons. I was going to visit my grandpa! I haven’t seen him in over a decade. (He died when I was in middle school.)

When I arrived, we sat in the living room of his apartment. He never lived in an apartment, but in this dream, he did. The air was hazy, shimmering. I was laying on the couch feeling drained from my drive and wanting to crawl into bed, yet choosing to rest in his presence. Grandpa was sitting on the carpet, leaning against the other end of the couch. His body seemed younger, stronger and leaner than in the years I knew him. His face showed the truth of his many years. A soft golden glow was emanating from a TV in the corner, one that neither of us were watching.

He told me stories of his life – his childhood, his family. He was a thespian & a dentist when he walked the earth, and he was getting really into the stories – jumping up onto his knees to mime his sister’s body language; using a thick Italian accent and proper gesticulation for his mother’s responses; all with a familiar mischievous grin stretched across his face! At one point he paused, laughing as he looked at his watch, and said “oh, yesterday was her birthday!” before continuing the story and telling countless others since forgotten.


When I woke form this dream, I wrote it down & sketched a whispered inspiration for a new weaving. (Weaving has emerged as a powerful tool in my process with death work – more on that another time). Before I got out of bed, I typed out a message to my mom in California. “Hey, random question, but do you know when great grandma Noto’s birthday was?”. I hoped it wouldn’t wake her from her early morning slumber as I hit send and went to greet the sunrise.

Several hours later, I’m well into my day and glance at my phone. Mom had texted me back.

My Great Grandma, my grandpa’s mother, was born on this day, on March 8th, 1892.


There may be folks who will brush this dream and this date off as chance, as a fluke, a bizarre coincidence. But for me, it is another beautiful reminder of the potential for extraordinary magic if we open ourselves to the invisible realms.

This isn’t the first time I’ve received a message from my Grandpa since he died, but it’s the first in a while. In this message, I feel a door opening to my great, my great-great, my many oh-so-great grandfolk in that particular rivulet of my ancestry. As I commit deeper to exploring the edge between visible and invisible, I am strengthened by this message from my Grandpa, this open door before me, and the many messages I pray I am wide enough to receive.

My Great Grandmother sits in a black dress, hand resting on her son’s knee.

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