• I wake before my alarm and lay quietly in bed, waiting to see if I'll rise or slip under again. A minute later the phone rings--it's my step-brother calling from the hospital five hundred miles away in Southern California. He tells me that my terminally ill Father may not survive the day. "His gaze drifts...he's doesn't make eye contact. We think his brain is shutting down." I thank him for the information and hang up the phone. Minutes later I'm back in the dream, bare feet cool on patio tiles.

  • I rise with the alarm and head to the UC Santa Cruz campus for a final exam. At 7pm I'm back home and calling my step-mother. "He's gone, Dan. One-thirty this afternoon, after Mark called you." She tells me he went peacefully, surrounded by her, Mark, my sister and her husband. I pass the evening without mentioning anything to my housemates, still laughing with the crowd. A moment of contemplation finds me alone in my room. I sit in a meditation posture and form the strong intention to send a message to my departed father. I don't necessarily believe in channelling or communication with the dead, but I am certainly willing to entertain the possibility.

  • My father's presence becomes very strong and everywhere I look in the room I see the luminous outline of his face and body. A flood of images pour into my mind as from an astral slide projector. I see my father at various times in his life, all depicting an aspect of fatherhood. There are many scenes of him from my childhood on vacations to Alaska, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Israel. There are others from before I was born: I see him as a younger man in Venezuela and Panama with my sister; I see him even younger in Florida with my brother. He wants to acknowledge a special bond with my step-brother, Mark, who always reminded my father of himself. In response to his visual communication I call to mind my favorite moments with him...I remember riding on his back as a toddler as he swam in the swimming pool. I remember late nights in the Alaskan wilderness, trading off reading aloud from Moby Dick. I remember his distant gaze out the window of an airport shuttle, driving at dusk up the Sonoma valley; the sun has just set and the sky is a perfect rainbow from sun-gold to starry black-blue. After this a bubble of long-buried emotion rises to the surface as I mentally confess to him the years of fear and moments of hatred that his sharp words caused me. I forgive him all of this. He thanks me for the long silent prayers while I sat with him in the hospital--never have I felt my body so full of light--funnelling the energy of the universe into him.

  • As I come out of the trance I reach over and turn on my computer. While it boots up I send a final request to my father's spirit. I ask him for a sign that our spiritual exchange was a true event, not just the hallucination of a bereaved son. My computer randomly chooses a background image from a collection of hundreds of images, the vast majority of which are photographs of my girlfriend & friends, and computer-illustrations. I ask my father to choose a background image that will unambiguously communicate to me that he is here with me. When the screen lights up, the painted face of Jesus Christ stares back at me, the only image of its kind on my hard drive. To most people, a religious icon would be significant in this context. To me personally, Jesus the Christ specifically represents the idea that death is not an end, that the soul continues to walk the Earth in the form of the resurrection body. The message was as unambiguous as they come.

  • Only now do I understand the frequent visions of my father that began to visit me more than two years ago, before I even knew he was ill. Consistently, his image would appear whenever I used my spiritual sight; often I would see his face growing rapidly old, his body becoming thin and weak. At the time, the idea occured to me that the visions were a harbinger, premonitions of his death, but I didn't put much faith in the accuracy my apparent hallucinations. These last few months have seen all those visions of illness come true. Perhaps I should have had more faith. But I am exceedingly thankful for tonight's visions of fatherly love and immortality.