02/20/2014 12:31 pm ET | Updated Apr 22, 2014

I See Dead People


The sea was rough that morning. As the ship was being tossed from side to side, the sound of the waves could be heard slapping against the ship's hull. We were just sitting down to a meal but were short on chairs. I looked around and only saw three empty chairs in the dining cabin: one was wet, one was missing a leg and one had an iPad sitting on the table in front of it, signaling that it belonged to someone else. My mom walked out onto a small balcony adjacent to the dining area and called to me that there was an empty folding chair outside. There was no rail on the balcony -- instead it was open to the ocean, and water was lapping up onto the floor while my mom stood trying to balance in her red tennis shoes and navy blue capris. Uncharacteristically, she stretched her leg over the balcony's edge and dipped her toe into the water. With nothing to hold onto, she nearly lost her balance as she stood on one leg with the ocean splashing madly around her. I yelled to her to come inside.

"I will," she said. "Just come get this chair and let me enjoy this a little longer."

I couldn't quite grasp my mom's sudden love for the water. She's never been a water person. Ever since her canoe turned over on the Detroit River as a teenager, and she nearly drowned, she always avoided anything to do with a potential drowning.

I reached onto the balcony and -- as I grabbed the chair from my mom's hand -- she fell into the ocean and disappeared under the waves. She made no sound as she went under -- just slipped into the blue, not a trace of her left behind.

My dog barked and my heart jumped as I transitioned from the world of the ship to the world of my bedroom. I didn't want to open my eyes, but instead, wanted to dive into the water to find my mom. I wasn't finished talking to her. I needed to see her for just awhile longer. I tried to muster the dream back up, but it wouldn't come to me. So I stayed in bed for awhile, on my side, squeezing my pillow when suddenly I felt my mom's hand brushing the hair off my forehead, saying goodbye to me for now. I knew I'd see her again sometime, and thanked her for yet another blessed encounter.

Since my mom died in December 2011, I've had several nighttime visits with her. In my dreams we reconnect, talk, cuddle and communicate. I've never seen these as simply dreams, but as actual connections with my mom. I can feel her. Our hearts seem to connect on an other-worldly level. I've had dreams about other people, as well: former boyfriends who have passed away, friends, my grandmother and even my beloved dogs.

These are called visitation dreams. Medium and psychic Anne Reith explains that:

It is actually easier for spiritual entities of all kinds (e.g., deceased loved ones, guides, angels) to communicate with us while we are sleeping.  Why?  Because when sleeping, we are in that 'in between place' between our Earthly reality and the other side of the veil (the spiritual world).  During this time, our rational mind and our ego are not engaged.  Things can happen in our dream world that we would normally stop or discount while awake.

Not all dreams, of course, are visitation dreams. Visitation dreams differ from normal dreams in that a visitation dream is very real. It's something that you wake up from convinced the person or animal you saw was truly there with you at your side. You'll remember these dreams for days -- even years to come. The dead will communicate with you very clearly and offer some sort of a reassurance that they are okay. You'll wake up from these dreams, not upset or scared, but filled with a sense of peace and unbelievable love.

Dreams aren't the only way we're able to communicate with the dead. I often strike up conversations with my mom during the day, talking to her as if she's in the room with me. I feel her spirit everywhere -- always have -- and I know she can hear me because I feel a sense of comfort after we've communicated.

My deceased dogs often make appearances in my life, too. The other day, as I came into the house from a long day of work, my four dogs met me at the door. Oddly, I could feel a very strong presence from my dog Lulu who had passed five months before. She was there, in the fray, pressing up against my leg as I struggled to put the mail on the kitchen counter and walk through the sea of dogs to set my purse down on the dining room table. She was a part of the pack again, and not for one second, did I doubt her presence. I spoke to her and thanked her for greeting me. I told her how much she was missed and told her she was welcome to come back anytime.

I always tell friends who have recently lost loved ones that the person is not gone. They are still in their lives. I don't believe the flame of the spirit can be forever extinguished. When someone dies, a piece of their spirit remains with each person whom they loved and who loved them and can be accessed at any time if the heart and subconscious are open and willing to connect on the spiritual level. This connection can't be forced, but has to be ushered in naturally. The more still I am, the more visits and encounters I receive.

Try it tonight. You can do this exercise anywhere: at home, in bed, in your office, outside under the stars. I love using my time stuck in Los Angeles traffic to talk to my mom. Just find a relaxing position, fill your lungs with a few deep, clean breaths, open your mind and heart and reach out. Call out to that person you want to talk to and listen for a response. You'll feel their presence in your heart as they enter the conversation and you'll know it's time to start talking.

And if you're lucky, you'll catch them tonight in your sleep. Sweet dreams!

Photo licensed through ©

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
We’re basically your best friend… with better taste.