Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Greg’s Greatest Journey – 18 June 2008

with 5 comments

The Realisation

When I posted this a few days ago, it was posted as a request to interpret another of my dreams. But now, having expanded on the dream in the comments section, I find that I fully understand what is happening.

I have never been one to be able to recall the details of dreams. On this blog I recently recalled a series of dreams about Cheryl Byrnes, a girlfriend from my youth, and speculation of experience beyond death.

On the suggestion of my kids, I now regularly invite those gone before me to visit me as I go to sleep. Last night, I had the first such detailed dream as follows:

I was in a public place, maybe The Commercial Club, and needed to use the toilet. As I entered the toilet door, I found myself in a church environment with people moving about. I turned around, and there was the toilet bowl against the back wall but totally open to the congregation.

At the front end of the church, to the left of the altar, was a dying man completely shrouded with a black veil. People were going to him and paying their respects. As I approached, I asked who it was and was told it was Ted Bynes, the father of Cheryl.

I went to him and leaned over him and whilst I could not see him or he see me, he sighed, “Ah, Greggie!”. I hugged him and asked if I might be hurting him. He said I was but that it didn’t matter. We cried together but it was not sad.

The dream dissolved … and reopened at a different time and place.

It was with people dear to that man but not his direct family. I was aware that Cheryl, the father Ted and mother Elise had all passed on and I enquired about Cheryl’s younger sister Jan.

The young lady to my left and about the same age that Jan had been back in 1960 – probably about 13 – said with the sweetest smile, “My mother is in me”. I looked at her with compassion and saw that she was beautiful, with her mother’s features and she was serene … and it was good.

Now to the interpretation:-

  • What is it with Cheryl and her family? Is she my conduit to God?
  • What about a toilet door opening into a church with a toilet bowl exposed within the church? Does that mean to expect the unexpected?
  • Is the main theme a revelation in faith of an existence beyond death or is it the rationisation of my ‘being’ accepting the inevitability of dying?

Written by Greg Naylor

18 June 2008 at 4:21 am

5 Responses

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  1. I have found the answer

    I have never told this story in its entirety and I tell it now deliberately that my family and friends may better understand the significance of Cheryl Byrnes in my life.

    Cheryl was my first date, and I was Cheryl’s. We met in the late 1950’s and gravitated towards each other over the next two years. By 1960, we were a couple of teenagers ‘going together’.

    In December, 1960, Cheryl was operated on for a tumor on the brain. Upon her return from the hospital, I was summoned to a meeting with Cheryl’s parents who told me that she was not expected to live for more than six months.

    They told me that they wanted her to enjoy her final months and asked if I would help her do that.

    Cheryl’s parents had already cleared this with my parents and, with their full support, I gave up my job in the family butcher shop to be Cheryl’s constant companion. Every morning, whilst she was recovering from surgery and chemotherapy, I was at her bedside by 8.00 am and stayed with her until tea time when I went home. She never tired of my presence and we lived the experience together. We became very close to each other.

    Her mother, Elise, gave us total freedom leaving us alone throughout the day except for bringing us food and drinks at designated times. Even with that freedom, we both respected the moral code of the day and kept ourselves (reasonably) nice.

    Soon Cheryl went into remission and we were able to do things and go places … and we did that with a passion.

    They never told that girl her true condition but I know she felt it as she confided, “… with all this attention, it may be that I am going to die”. It certainly didn’t stop her from looking to the future and wanting us to become engaged. Our relationship had grown to be one of pure joy and continuity.

    I was there the day remission ended, just four months later, as Cheryl went into a coma whilst I sat with her on her bed. Within two days it was all over.

    Cheryl was the first love of my life and she was gone at two months off sixteen.

    As I have previously written, I was disturbed when, after forty five years and having led a full life raising a family, Cheryl invaded my dreams about four times with the same message … that it was time to meet again.

    That was more than a year before being diagnosed with bone cancer. Now, having related (and relived) this story with you, I choose to accept her re-appearance in my life as the ‘real deal’.

    I now understand that, as I was there with her, the essence of Cheryl will stay with me now.

    Greg Naylor

    19 June 2008 at 12:50 pm

  2. Certainly what you went through with Cheryl would have had a profound impact on you Greg, and it’s not surprising that you are having dreams of rejoining her. But, as you say, she never really left you.


    20 June 2008 at 12:05 am

  3. Ray, I don’t think I did say that ‘she never really left me’. My experience of Cheryl has obviously remained but I cannot imagine she has been sitting around for half a century waiting for me to fall over.

    Neither do I expect to rejoin her beyond death. Cheryl is here now to help me on my journey and to get me over the line. I can only experience the moment.

    To my way of thinking, the quest of the spirit/soul to experience everything that life has to offer is unquenchable and when this is all over, both Cheryl and I will independently continue that quest being better equipped for having shared our ‘being’ for such a brief time.

    Ray, your comment has moved me further on into the realm of the spiritual and I’ll probably have more to say about that into the future. Thanks for that.

    Greg Naylor

    20 June 2008 at 2:27 am

  4. Wow Dad, i was so sad and moved by the loving and giving kindness that you shared with your dying friend. To manage such an awesome burden at your own tender age was incredible. No wonder it has had a lifelong profound imprint on your soul. Good for you to be able to share with such honesty. I love you lots and lots. Lisa xxx

    lisa wans

    20 June 2008 at 1:52 pm

  5. Thanks for your lovely response Lisa. Never have I considered that experience a burden of any kind – it was such a privilege to have the opportunity to share that time with someone I cared so much for … and knowing that she wanted me there. Being with Cheryl through her final illness was the easy part – continuing without her was the most difficult experience I have ever faced.

    No doubt, it helped shape the man I became.

    You know, you go through life and there are moments of great importance like this and you put them aside and get on with the next crisis. I guess that I have to be grateful that I have the time to review everything and share with you some of those intimacies. I guess it shows there are still a few surprises in your old man yet!

    Lisa, on this journey, there is no room for anything but honesty … through reflection, I am trying to discover what my soul has learned in this lifetime.

    I told that story so you kids might better understand, not only me but, the source of the depth of your own capacity to love. I love you lots too Lisa.

    Greg Naylor

    20 June 2008 at 2:13 pm

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