The other day I spent some time with my friend ‘the Princess’. We ended up talking about whether humans have a sixth sense, and told stories about times where people we love did extraordinary things because of a sixth sense or instinct. Today I’d like to share a tale with you about one such event from my life that still sends a chill down my spine to this day.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m my mother’s 13th child and the first to live more than 24 hours. What I might not have mentioned is that in total my mother had 12 miscarriages. That’s 11 before me and one between me and my sister. This means I technically have an older sister who lived long enough to aquire a birth and death certificate and have a funeral. She was named and buried all before I was born. My mum still keeps a little box of her things and when I was high school I was shown this box. I’d known since I was 10 that I was the 13th but I’d never known I was the second to live. However I was never shown her birth certificate until much later. And there is a very good reason why. It was only until I was forced into communion classes did I find out her name was the same as my birth name.
I have wanted to change my name ever since.
I can understand if my name was meant to honour her however it’s always felt selfish of my parents not to give me a new/different name. This is where I think most of my identity issues come from but that’s another story. The story I want to tell today is darker.
When I was 13 I started having these really strong dreams. I may have had them earlier than this but not as strong as they felt oddly familiar. It would start with being in the car with my family. There was always a heavy somber atmosphere. We would pull up to the local crematorium, park two bays from the right of the first path and walk into the grave yard. I realised that no one could hear me as we walked. Sometimes we’d stop at the side of a grave and I’d look down and see my name on a tombstone. If I looked too long the dream would get fuzzy but sometimes I’d see the year of my death. Everytime the stone would say 2003, (which would have been when I was 13-14) and I would collapse and cry infront of the stone. I spent the whole of 2003 scared of my impending doom…until the dream started to shift.
I found that if I ignored the grave and kept walking my family would continue too. They’d walk to a small building in a secluded garden in the crematorium. I had no idea what this building was or if it even existed. I couldn’t exactly ask my parents to take me to a graveyard out of the blue and I wasn’t allowed out on my own so I couldn’t just go and find out. However in the dream there were descriptions on golden coloured, brass plaques on the doors, so when I had this dream I’d run to the building to see if I could read them. The building was always locked until my parents and little sister came up to the door, so it gave me ample time to try and decipher the building’s purpose.
Once inside I would be confronted with walls of more brass plaques each with a name on and a pedestal in the center of the room. On top of the pedestal was a giant bound book, full of names. Sometimes during this dream all the plaques on the walls would change and read only my name over and over and I’d wake up screaming silently. But sometimes I’d search frantically around the room for clues of where we were and why we were there. I couldn’t open the book on the pedestal because I was ‘dead’. So I would try and memorise the names on the plaques until the book would mysteriously open, always too the same page and always by itself. Each time the book would open I’d feel a chill run down my spine and I was drawn to it, almost magnetically. All the details on the two pages were fuzzy apart from my name and the page number.
This dream haunted me for years even after my supposed death date.
Years later and after being shown the box of my older sister’s things, my parents took me and my sister to the crematorium and wouldn’t explain why we were going there. We parked in the second bay from the right of the first path and I looked around in a panic, remembering my dream. We walked down the path, into a secluded garden area where the building of plaques from my dream stood infront of us. I walked up to it in a daze, filled with dread and de-ja-vu. I opened the doors and walked in. The inside of the building was the exact same as it was in my dream. I heard my mother say something like “I don’t know where she’d be or what page she would be on”. I opened up the book to the page from my dream and there was my name, exactly where I’d dreamt it. I looked around recognising some of the names on the plaques. I left the building and sat on a bench trying to clear my dizziness.
I’d known my sister’s name before anyone had told me.
Yet that’s not all that I knew, I knew what everyone was wearing that day. I knew that my little sister would have a skater phase before she even bought a skateboard and got clip in highlights. I knew my dad would be wearing a full suit and the look on my mum’s face when she had to face going into the building. I even knew the parking bay and my way to where I was going even though I didn’t know why I had been taken there.
To this day, this memory from my past scares me slightly and sends a chill down my spine. The building is where they keep the plaques off cremation plots and the book is a record of all those who have been cremated. I need to stress that I had never been there before in my life. The path leading to the building was always hidden and out of the way. You couldn’t see it if you were going to that crematorium to attend a service.
Despite initially being confused by a nightmare that foretold my death, I found the true meaning behind the dream eventually. I don’t usually believe in this sort of thing either, nevertheless it happened. To this day I’ve only told this story to one person and I don’t know why I suddenly wanted to share it with the world but I hope you enjoy this tale from my life.