About 2 weeks after Mao crossed over I had a dream that I was riding in a limo, going through woods and meadows, but not on a road, going right on the ground. But in a moment of driver inattention we got stuck in a river, about to plummet over Niagara Falls. To our deaths! But the actual ride, although scarily vertical, was a smooth swift spectacular glide down and right through the bottom, painlessly passing on into another life through a spray of water like a veil, cleansed and new, painlessly and effortlessly recast in a new existence with full continuity of consciousness. A little startled and breathless, but really no worse for wear, the same but changed, as before but new, and in a different world, on a new path. So I wondered if Mao was telling me that this is what Death is -- a ride in the current, a precipitous plunge out of one life, a veil-slashing surge into another, borne by the same current that is the inextinguishable Life-force, ceaseless, inescapable? Is that how it was for Mao? If so, I almost envied him.
About 4 months after he died I had another dream about being in a wooded area at a river that was supposedly the "Tuolumne" River, although it bore no resemblance to the real one, in the way that dreams are real but not real. This river flowed through the "Presidio" which was not the Presidio, in the way that dreams are . . . well, you know. This river was broad and very shallow -- I could wade across. It had an artificial yet almost-natural-looking river bed, with tea-colored stones glinting under the clear water, and sculpted river banks merging into more natural-looking stone and rock formations, overhung with trees and vegetation. It was all permeated by a vast peace, dappled light, profound tranquility, murmuring waters endlessly ushered along over a brief wide waterfall and onward toward the unseen sea. Nothing bad could possibly happen here. (But in the background, a faint and growing sense of outrage: how was it tolerated that such a lovely wild and free spirit like that river was made to run contained and limited in an artificial, albeit exquisitely beautiful channel?)
I think that dream was telling me that no matter how lovely Mao was incarnated in his physical body on the Earth plane, his spirit was so much more perfect, more complete, more holy and more beautiful being free of any physical form, and more able to fulfill his destiny that way (at least for the time being). All forms of the physical world will always be imperfect to one degree or another, no matter how exquisitely wrought they are, so it was actually therapeutic for him to be free of his body that had to die of something sooner or later. That makes me sad yet comforts me deeply, because I know its wisdom is so true.
Another dream I had last year was Mao and I play-wrestling. I was smaller than normal and he was bigger than normal, so we were closer in size. He kept on morphing into a vague person and into some other kind of creature and then back into a cat again. And he never scratched me with his claws no matter how rambunctious the rough-housing got. Not a single scratch! Just a bit of high-spirited fun tussling around (which he never did when alive with me).
Almost a full year after he passed away, during September, I was thinking about him and feeling sad, and I began to cry. All of a sudden he was right there in the room with me, a huge presence that filled up the entire room with his unmistakable essence. We had a conversation:
"Why do you weep so, my love?"
"Because you're gone."
"But I am right here with you. I'm all around you and with you always."
"Yes. I know. But you're not physically here, to see and hold."
"Is that really it? You have Patrick to be with."
"You're right. It's not really that (even though he's not really you). It's that I never wanted you to suffer and die the way you did."
"I know, my love. It's all over now. It's over. It is ended. It is ceased. It is no longer. You may come and cry on my chest [yes, he said chest, not shoulder!] if you want, but you need not weep, not now. Let all your favorite autumn things comfort you. Celebrate and honor the autumn, celebrate and honor us, celebrate and honor our love."
[Even though that was going to take more courage than I was able to muster at that point, I nevertheless said:] "Thanks, my love. The separation still hurts, though."
"I know. Look around you and find healing. It is there. It will come. And I am here."
In later years as I would meditate on the love Mao and I shared, I would get visions (which is unusual because I'm not really a visual person). One time, I began to see the night sky, and I was a fireball hurtling through the vast Universe, seeing all the infinite stars thick as sand grains on a beach, in every color of the rainbow, all remote and majestic, and as I flew along I became aware of Mao with me along for the ride.
Another time I saw a flower like a daisy, with lots of petals radiating out from its center, and Mao's love was but one of those many petals. The Universe is full of such love, and it takes many forms, but it all comes from one central source.
Another time I saw a tree in autumn with dead leaves falling off. I was sad to think that Mao was one of those dead leaves. But then I saw that even though the leaves wither and die at the end of each year, disintegrating into nothing, the tree itself grows new leaves in the spring, given life in part by the dead leaves from the year before. That is what is important -- the whole tree, not the individual leaves.
Another time I got a picture of a big fancy confection, like a cake full of icing and decorations like bonbons, sugarplums, ribbons and flowers, being sent along to Mao as a present. Kind of whimsical.
Another time I felt rich lush deep red roses all around my heart, growing, twining, taking root, popping out in blossoms all over all around my heart.
Another time I began to feel such joy and lightness, and I perceived 2 transparent beings, almost like clear liquids, dancing together in such bliss, circling around like a binary star system orbits its common center: Mao and I in our essential spirit-forms orbiting around the love that bound us together.
Other times I saw golden paths (which Mao once came onto and sat down on and winked at me), silver rains, pink bubbles, fiery thrones, swarms of winged hearts, stone lanes leading up into the heavens, all kinds of imagery. Once I even tasted chocolate chip cookies! Once I saw him on a big lake, drifting by on a little raft or float of some sort, wearing sunglasses, a hat and a Hawaiian shirt, with a cool drink in his paw!! Well, aloha Mao! LOL. I never censored what I saw, I let it happen even if it seemed incomprehensible, unpleasant, irreverent or sad.