I woke up abruptly Wednesday morning around 4 a.m. with tears running from the outside corners of my eyes toward my ear.

The sound of Dave’s rapid hih-hih-hih-hih-hih laughter, roaring in high decibel, snapped me out of what seemed like a 20-minute visit with my 33-year-old friend who tragically died in September.

I can usually count the number of dreams I remember on one hand each year, and I’ve never been awoken by such an experience. And I’d also never, to my knowledge, dreamt about him since his passing.

It started with seeing him in a room with no ceiling or walls, but what ap-peared to be a dark hardwood floor. He appeared in total bliss. 

We greeted each other with a hug — something we hadn’t done in five years since a mutual friend helped us squash an issue regarding an eviction we received together in college.

The conversation didn’t seem real until we started talking. I could hear his voice, his laugh.

This was unlike the living Dave I knew. Though he was mostly a happy-go-lucky fellow, there was occasionally a dark side to him that indicated he struggled with something going on in his life that he wasn’t willing to let others in on — even those closest to him.

We had spent much time together in life just being young and dumb. We reminisced about the good times, like traveling to Montana in the middle of winter together to cover two basketball games for the student newspaper.

Then I asked him, “Who have you seen on the other side?”

That’s when his loud, exciting laughter hit a new high that brought me back to reality.

What’s tricky here is this: Tuesday afternoon, I was having a conversation with a person about the afterlife,. She knew two people from Inchelium who visited the spirit world and came back.

One elderly female tribal member died and was resuscitated.

A family member asked her, “Who did you see?”

She responded, bluntly: “Everyone.”

By the next morning, the woman died again. 

Another woman suffered from multiple comas in life. She would say she’d go to sleep and wake up days or weeks later. There wasn’t much of a medical explanation to her situation, according to this person who was one of her good friends. 

Upon waking up, people asked her questions, but at first she couldn’t answer them.

Eventually, she started recollecting what she was experiencing while deep in the coma.

She wrote she saw her deceased older brother, her parents, and many others.

I thought the stories were neat, but I wasn’t emotionally impacted by them as they were second-hand.

But part of me wonders if my brain took that and manufactured a dream about my friend — a situation I had never really dealt with emotionally.

Regardless of what it was, I appreciated this dream. The release of emotion — which my mind seemed unable to do while conscious — helped me find some closure, even though three months had passed.

Inchelium native Cary Rosenbaum writes “Coyote Stories” for the Tribune.

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