Very recently, I marked the 16th anniversary of my father’s passing. January 30th is never an easy day for me and even though I miss him all the time, that day is the worst. I always picture him at the funeral home and I remember the fresh pain of losing his wisdom, easy humor, and quick smile. Tom Scarbro is one of the main reasons I became a paranormal investigator. We would sit and talk about ghosts and UFOs and cryptozoology and everything paranormal and unexplained. He would end every conversation with “Do you ever think they’ll prove it?” and I would confidently answer, “Yes. They will.” I do wish he were here to talk to about all of the experiences I’ve had in the last six years. I know he would avidly listen to every word and interject his own ideas and opinions. Would he go on an investigation with me? I have no idea. That question will never be answered. My mother swears up and down that for several months after his death, she heard him walking the floors of our old West Virginia home. The creaking would always happen late at night, his usual time for a late-night kitchen raid, and said creaking would start at the bedroom door, move down the hall, through the living room, into the kitchen, and back. The activity subsided once we buried his ashes in the Scarbro family plot near Paint Creek, West Virginia. I didn’t witness or observe my father’s late-night wanderings after his passing, but I do truly believe that my father visited me in one of my dreams.
I know that in many Greek Orthodox communities, the faithful believe that newly-departed souls linger nearby for the first forty days and that experiencing your loved one during that time is not uncommon. I wasn’t raised Greek Orthodox (Yoo hoo! Presbyterian! Right here!), but I do believe there may be something to this idea of the dead lingering close to the familiar before they pass on.
I’m pretty much a non-practicing Christian now-a-days, but I can tell you that at least one Bible verse sticks out in my head when I think of my father. It’s John 14:2 and it states, In my Father’s house there are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. This wasn’t his favorite verse but it reminds me of the dream I had with my father shortly after he died.
I found myself walking down a street not unlike those I rode my bicycle on as a child. Concrete, rough, just wide enough for parked cars on either side and one car to drive down the middle. As I walked down this street, I saw many homes that looked like your typical suburban Charleston, West Virginia houses. They were small, one-story, aluminum siding, neat, postage-stamp yards. And I walked up to one as if I lived there, even though I had never seen this home before. I walked through the front door, took a left into the living room, and there sat my father. He was dressed to the nines in a very dapper suit and as soon as he saw me, he stood up. He walked over to me, took up my right hand, placed his right hand at my waist, and we began to dance a waltz. There was no music, just sunlight, peace, and joy at seeing my father again. And we looked at each other and just danced.
And then I woke up.
Why do I think my father actually visited me in a dream and that it wasn’t just my subconscious trying to grasp at straws? Because this was so out-of-character for both of us. My father didn’t dance except to do, as Billy Crystal called it, “the white man’s overbite” and my dancing was of the 1980s nature. Neither of us had ever waltzed and any dream my subconscious made up would have involved a lot of smart-ass conversation and laughter.
When people tell me of dreaming of their loved ones, I believe them. I don’t discount it, because whether it’s a true visitation or not, it is certainly healing.
I haven’t dreamed of my father since then. We buried his ashes in early April, 1998, almost three months after he died. The activity in my mother’s house stopped and I never dreamed of him again.
But I’ll never forget how wonderfully we danced together.
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