Friday, March 26, 1999

Vision: A True Experience

We had spent the day together, my friend Audri and I, talking and listening to music in her room. We really enjoyed ourselves and got to share a lot of special and important things. Our day together was coming to a close. She had plans for that evening and I was off a mid watch. In the last few minutes that we spoke, Audri told me that she was taking her friend, John, to visit her family in Lewiston, Maine. My immediate reaction: I wished that it was me. That wish came true several months later but on that day I left Audri’s room and went back to my own still wishing that I could have been the one she took to meet her family.

I walked into my room and started to imagine what it would be like to meet them. I had seen pictures of Audri with her mom, brother and sister before. I already had an image of them in my mind. As I wandered through this little fantasy trip, I imagined meeting Audri’s sister Valerie and talking with her. I imagined myself walking outside and seeing Ross sitting at a table and reading, of all things, a Book of Mormon. Wishful thinking, as always, on my part. As these images marched across my mind, I stood silently in my room and became caught up in them. For a brief period, I felt as if I was in her mother’s house, meeting her family and sharing my thoughts with them.

My imaginary visit then crossed a threshold from idle fantasy to peculiar vision. I saw myself in her mother’s living room. I was looking at a wall covered with framed photographs. All of them, pictures of Audri’s family. I could see Audri, Ross, Valerie and their mother. I could see myself standing before this wall covered with pictures and I then saw Audri’s mother standing beside me. I looked at the photos and noticed a small black and white snapshot of a little girl. I motioned toward the photo and asked, “Who is this child?”

“That’s my daughter,” was the reply.

“Is it Audri or Valerie? I can’t tell.”

“Neither,” she said. “That’s my other daughter. She died many years ago.”

I looked at the picture again then back to Audri’s mother and said, “You may yet have the opportunity to raise this child again.”

I immediately snapped out of this vision, though I would not have called it a vision at the time. I grew angry with myself for imagining such an episode. My knowledge of Audri’s family at the time was clear. There was Audri, Ross and Valerie. There was no other child. It was just them. Why would I imagine another sibling? And why would I imagine that she had died? Was my life so boring that even in my periodic musings I had to invent such dramatic situations? I scolded myself for being so morbid and tried to put the episode behind me.

My friendship with Audri had reached an impasse. One of many in the short time we had known each other. I wrote a letter apologizing to her for the things I had said or had done to upset her. I left the letter at her door on a Saturday. The next day I spent alone. I went for a walk in the woods near my home, imagining a portly little bear with a taste for honey as my companion and I read a book that Audri had recommended to me.

In the evening I was sitting in my room with my door open. Hoping that Audri would come in having read my letter and wanting to begin things anew in our friendship. Eventually she did.

She knocked on my door and I looked up to see her in a denim skirt and a green shirt that read “Pooh Bear” and had a picture of “the bear of very little brain” on it.

I invited her in and said, “I went for a walk today.”

“Oh really?” she said.

“Yes. I went for a walk with Pooh Bear in the Hundred Acre wood.” I then held up the book that I was reading. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.

She smiled at me and said, “I’ve got some pictures I’d like to show you.” We sat on the foot of my bed and she showed me pictures of her and her family. There were snapshots from her prom and pictures from her first wedding. There was a lovely picture of her brother and sister and one of her mother when she was very young.

Audri then turned to another picture. It was an old black and white snapshot. It was of a little girl. I asked, “Who is this?”

Audri said, “That’s my sister, Lori.”

With surprise I said to her, “You have two sisters?”

Audri was quiet and even seemed a little sad when she said to me, “I had two sisters. Lori died when she was four.”

My mouth dropped. I couldn’t say a single word. This was the first time Audri had told me about her sister Lori but I knew about her already. For I had seen her in a vision. I did not share this experience with Audri until several months later. I wanted to share it with her mother but was advised not to. I respected Audri’s wishes and kept the experience between the two of us.