Paul Broks in aeon:
In the summer of 2021, I experienced a cluster of coincidences, some of which had a distinctly supernatural feel. Here’s how it started. I keep a journal and record dreams if they are especially vivid or strange. It doesn’t happen often, but I logged one in which my mother’s oldest friend, a woman called Rose, made an appearance to tell me that she (Rose) had just died. She’d had another stroke, she said, and that was it. Come the morning, it occurred to me that I didn’t know whether Rose was still alive. I guessed not. She’d had a major stroke about 10 years ago and had gone on to suffer a series of minor strokes, descending into a sorry state of physical incapacity and dementia.
I mentioned the dream to my partner over breakfast, but she wasn’t much interested. We were staying in the Midlands at the time in the house where I’d spent my later childhood years. The place had been unoccupied for months. My father, Mal, was long gone, and my mother, Doreen, was in a care home drifting inexorably through the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. We’d just sold the property we’d been living in, and there would be a few weeks’ delay in getting access to our future home, so the old house was a convenient place to stay in the meantime. I gave no further thought to my strange dream until, a fortnight later, we returned from the supermarket to find that a note had been pushed through the letterbox. It was addressed to my mother, and was from Rose’s daughter, Maggie. Her mother, she wrote, had died ‘two weeks ago’. The funeral would be the following week. I handed the note to my partner and reminded her of my dream. ‘Weird,’ she said, and carried on unloading the groceries. Yes, weird. I can’t recall the last time Rose had entered my thoughts, and there she was, turning up in a dream with news of her own death.
So, what am I to make of this?