Looking into the woods over a pond at Mosswood Hollow, photo by Meredith Eastwood

A Seasonal Love Story…Gifts from the Other Side of Death.

“Time has no constraints for Love, and in Death no boundaries.”

“The full force of Love stands behind you.” 

Special Note: This story is inspired by a dream journey I experienced while attending “Psychopomp Training” at Mosswood Hollow in early December. The drumming begins, and I am swept into a place existing more than 40 years ago.

"Clock" - Photo by Meredith EastwoodDear readers, Imagine if you will, an ancestral wall clock, one of those long ones with a little door beneath the face where the pendulum swings predictably. I hold the metal key that winds it.  I open the glass cover to the face, and insert the key in the hole above the number seven and turn….counter clockwise.

“Tick Tock, Tick Tock”

When I hear the clock settle into a steady rhythm, I open the tiny door to where the brass pendulum swings back and forth. I notice the fine circular design on the surface. As I watch the oscillating movement of the pendulum, I am swept into the internal works of the clock, and deposited at the front door of the quaint Tudor style cottage where I lived with my husband, Tom, and our son, Kent, during the 1970’s.

I caress the weathered oak of that door, and trace my fingers across the tiny diamond shaped leaded glass window just above the circular iron knocker. I lift the knocker and let it fall, causing a soft thump. I repeat. Suddenly the door swings open, and I step across the threshold onto the slate tile entry. I pause and then take a step up to the shiny wood floor, entering the living room.  I inhale a trace of lemon scented floor polish, one I remember fondly.

Walking through the living room, I recognize all the details immediately. The oversized orange and beige striped couch beneath a wall of assorted art prints combined with some of my own water color creations that I completed in classes at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  The antique clock, portal into my journey, hangs over one of the two matching brown corduroy chairs next to leaded windows facing the front yard.  I hear the clock keeping time to the rhythm of a distant drum.

“Tick Tock, Tick Tock”

I move past the white fake fur rug beneath a teak coffee table and step toward the marble fire place. There are book shelves on each side filled with books. A tall well-tended Schefflera plant stands in the corner. I attempt to see the books on the shelves, but am diverted to a tour of the rest of the house. In the middle of the dining room stands a long Danish teakwood dining table lined by six matching chairs with orange upholstered seats.

A poster entitled “Survival of the Fittest” hangs on the wall. I am reminded that even back then we were concerned about the earth’s sensitive environment.

Behind the chair at the head of the table, there are double doors leading to the backyard where a sandbox sits beneath a baby swing which hangs from a maple tree.   I move through the two downstairs bedrooms and tiny bathroom. I smile when I enter my son’s nursery. I remember the yellow shag carpet and animal wall paper that I had hung myself. The other, an office, holds an old bookcase, a black leather couch, and TV set.  I exit this room and return to a door that is between the living room and dining area. It leads upstairs to the large dormer room, turned into the Master Bedroom Suite. I want to ascend the winding staircase, but I hear the clock’s reminder that time is limited.

“Tick Tock, Tick Tock”

Tom with Kent

Tom with Kent

Just as I am about to chance a trip up that staircase, an old gray long-haired cat, named “Poppy” appears and says, “He’s in the front yard next to the old tree.” I rush outside, and there stands my husband Tom holding a camera.

A wide grin spreads across his face. “Do you remember when we first brought our son home from the hospital in our little MG?” He says.

“Yes,” I reply. “And you stood right in this same place and introduced him to this beautiful oak tree. You said, “Kent, this is Tree. Tree, this is my precious son, Kent.”

Tom smiles. “This tree became his guardian while he was growing up.” he said.

I laugh. “And when he went to school and was instructed to create an art project, he always colored, painted or sculpted a tree. Even after you died, he continued to create trees. And today, these same giant trees grow in his front yard, where your grandsons play.”

Tom smiles again. His eyes sparkle through the long eye lashes I always remember. “Time has no constraints for love and in Death no boundaries.” He says.

My heart aches hearing his words.

“Christmas approaches.” He says. “Look in the box of slides and photographs. There you will find the perfect gift for our son.  Please tell him I love him.”

I feel the lump in my throat and tears spill down my face. “I know that box, and I have saved all the slides and photos you took, and the ones I took of you with your camera.”

“Tick Tock, Tick Tock”

Time in this space is running out. I hear the distant drum beat quicken.  As I slip back through the face of the old clock, I hear his last words. “The full force of love stands behind you.”  I know he means our ancestors.

During the days of the workshop that follow this dream journey I add to Tom’s words. “The full force of love stands behind you, above you, below you and around you.” This is his gift to me from the other side of Death. But I know I still have an important assignment to complete for our son’s gift.

“Tick Tock, Tick Tock”

When I return from the workshop, I find the box and spend a day going through the slides and photos.  I take a selection of them to the photographer who does my printing and instructs me in the finer points of photographic techniques and composition. He creates lovely photos for an album. The one chosen for a framed gift is of Tom working on his bike, with Kent holding the screw driver.

Because Tom was a reader and loved 20th Century history, I want to identify some of the books on the shelves in my journey, I spend a couple mornings re-entering the dream with the intention of seeing the series of history books I had glimpsed during the original experience. It is fairly easy to spot the six first edition volumes of The Second World War by Winston Churchill, 1948-53. Then I see a series of at least 10 books just below them. They are covered with blue jackets. I am not able to discern their titles.

On Christmas Eve, I try to google themes related to World War II, but I am not able to find a series in blue jackets. That night I have a dream in which my deceased husband appears and says, “Look in the Pacific.” Upon awaking Christmas morning, I finally locate the series that had also been on the shelves in our first home by adding the key word, “Pacific” to my search.  The title of this 15 book series is The History of United States Naval Operations in World War II by Samuel Eliot Morrison. I remember clearly how Tom had searched for these volumes, one by one. And so with my gift and research completed, I drive to my son’s house for a delightful Christmas Day.


Kent with his son Rowan

Kent with his son, Rowan.

Epilogue: Some might say this story is all just a dream or a creation of my imagination.  I assure you, dear reader, this journey is as real as that same antique clock that hangs on my wall today. During Christmas at my son’s house, when he opens the package of photos and the framed photo of his father working on a bike, he immediately jumps up and retrieves a box of photos that recently had been sent to him by his father’s aunt. During the course of the day, Kent searches the Indianapolis Public Library for the volumes on his father’s bookshelves, remembering that they may have been donated to the library upon his death in 1979.  He discovers some of the books in our local library branches. For most of the day, I watch Kent helping three grandsons put together their gifts. I am reminded that there is no boundary between a father’s love and his son…even in death. The Gift of Love is passed on to the next generation, and it’s all happening NOW.


A special thanks: To Robert Moss who facilitated the workshop, and the online Shift Network Course, “Shamanic Approaches to Death, Dying and the Afterlife.” To Dwayne Dixon for his instruction and photo printing. To Nita Dixon for the joyful welcoming atmosphere she creates for all their customers.  


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