A Message

By Walter Lacey

In Madison, WI, 1979, there is no time to worry, for the moment. The condition is perfect. It’s dark, quiet and peaceful. Early Monday morning, May 21st, I’m sleeping soundly and have the following dream:

I find myself walking up a gangplank with my father who died a year and a half earlier. Like a scene from the past, people are boarding an ocean liner while their loved ones wait on the pier and wave goodbye. My mother is standing on the pier crying. My father turns to her and says, “Don’t worry. This has already happened.” We continue to climb up the gangplank and board the ship.

I’m now standing inside an airliner, my father is no longer by my side. The plane is a wide-body jet that has a section of seats in the middle of the cabin with aisles on both sides. As I walk up one of these aisles, going towards the cockpit, I look at the people sitting in their seats and say to myself: “These people are already dead.” I don’t know why I think this because they look very much alive as I walk past them.

I continue to walk up the aisle. The plane’s engines get louder with each step I take. They get so loud that they start to make the plane shake. But I not only hear and feel this ferocious noise, I also hear a disembodied voice repeat:

“Remember this on Friday.”

I wake up and think: “I’m supposed to fly back home to Boston on Friday! Perhaps this is a warning. Maybe I should cancel my flight.” Still despondent over my father’s death, I’ve developed a fatalistic attitude towards life, so I decide not to cancel my flight. If this is going to be my time to die, then there’s nothing I can do about it, at least I’ll be with my dad.

With all the things to do before my trip back home, I completely forget about the dream. Friday’s plan is to catch a plane from Madison to Chicago and from Chicago take another plane to Boston.

I board the plane going to Chicago and as soon as it’s at cruising altitude, the captain announces that we’ve been rerouted to Detroit. We land in Detroit, get off the plane and mill around the monitor listing departures, trying to find our connecting flights. Every now and then I over hear people talking to each other: “Yes, I guess that’s why…”, “Did they say when….”

I finally turn to a group of businessmen I recognize from the plane and ask one of them, “Why did we get rerouted to Detroit?” “You haven’t heard?” he asks.

“There was a plane crash in Chicago, so they shut down the airport.” Hearing that, I recall the voice in my dream: “Remember this on Friday.”

American Airlines flight 191 lost an engine while taking off at Chicago’s O’Hare airport on Friday, May 25th, 1979. It made it into the air, turned sideways and fell from the sky. All 271 on board died as well as two people on the ground.

I never considered myself clairvoyant either before or after the dream I had 35 years ago. It’s been said the newly departed sometimes try to convey a message to those they love, letting them know that they’re all right. I’ve always felt that my dream was a message from my father about a conversation we had 12 years before he died; a speculative conversation about God and the afterlife. Since that dream, I now know that both exist.

Walter Lacey graduated from the University of Wisconsin where he attended the School of Journalism. He lives with his wife and two children in Massachusetts.  His most recent work, a memoir titled “Connecting the Dots”, deals with the exploration of a past life and appears in BewilderingStories.com.  Contact him via email at wj1003@verizon.net.


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