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COMMENTARY · 23rd December 2011
Merv Ritchie
No, this isn’t a take on Martin Luther’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but I have that too. This is about a dream from 1978. It is this dream which has completely directed and influenced my life. I have never exposed this dream before except in some very private conversations. Today, Christmas 2011, it is time to expose myself. Of course I know I lay myself open to ridicule, but I do that everyday anyways, what’s different?

I lived in Vancouver in the mid seventies and without fail I always listened to Jack Webster. I never missed his show. He was the best interviewer on the radio, CJOR, if I remember correctly. It did not matter if he was interviewing a right wing or left wing politician, a labour leader or a Christian fundamentalist, Jack had the knowledge to catch them all in lies. He was my mentor, my idol, the guy I admired most. He pulled no punches and told it like it was. There was nothing, absolutely nothing Jack wouldn’t tackle. Unlike the interviewers today on right wing stations like Fox News who don’t know their asses from holes in the ground, Jack Webster never antagonized for ratings he simple and factually had the truth on his side. He never cut people off for no reason. He was the most amazing guy to listen too. And I never missed it.

I can’t tell you the exact day but I do remember the exact location and what I was doing. I was driving a white service van coming from Royal Oak Avenue and Imperial Street in Burnaby where the company I worked for was located. I serviced floor care equipment for supermarkets and warehouses and travelled from Penticton to Victoria. Although I was only eighteen I was pretty good at figuring out anything electrical or mechanical. I was on my way to Langley to service a Clarke battery operated floor washing machine at a Supervalu store.

And as I drove east up Kingsway, heading for the Pattullo Bridge, Jack was on the radio and I was listening intently. The guy always had me transfixed. This day was different from his regular shows. He was generally a political show, hammering the bullshit out of the constantly lying politicians. Only one person ever stumped Jack and made him shut up for a moment and that was a Nisga’a leader, James Gosnell regarding the Nisga’a lands and treaty negotiations. But on this day he had a man on who had clinically died 16 times, something completely out of the ordinary for Jack. The guy had watched his own death, remembered it and the people around him after he died, and then he was revived.


He had my attention. I wasn’t going to miss a word of this. You see, I had died two days earlier.

My death was in a dream but the intensity of this dream stuck with me; I didn’t forget one moment of it after I woke up. I had been thinking about it almost non-stop because it seemed so real and was completely vivid. Even today, thirty three years later, I remember almost every detail.

I entered the dream on a desert as a Bedouin or Arabian person dressed in that style, head scarves and loose fabrics. I remember it as almost being in the Alexander the Great days, an ancient time long ago. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of us were marching one direction, not proudly by rather subdued. We were gradually being reduced to a single file and I recall attempting to ask another man standing next to me what was happening and I got no response but a kind of sneer and the feeling of dread. I noticed none of us had our weapons. Then, as we were clearly now a single file, I could see up ahead what was happening. We were each being run through with a sword and thrown into a pit. It was a massacre of us, the defeated army.

I was horrified (no kidding eh?) and when I approached for my turn I cried out for mercy, I didn’t want to die. There was not even an instant of hesitation and I felt the sword pierce me. I was tossed into the pit like every other soldier. Strange thing was, my dream did not end. I saw the pit from above. I slowly but steadily rose above the scene getting a complete picture of what happened and more clear was the awareness and absolute total understanding I suddenly had. I soon was away from the action, rising and passing through a series of colours. At the time, 1978 during the time of the dream, I remembered exactly which colour came first, second, third, etc and last. Last was pure white. Gold was in there somewhere but today I cannot recall the order. I remember my time in white, the final colour, without any hesitation.

Jack Webster had been asking this guy about his deaths. He described the couch at his home on one occasion, the hospital another time. Jack drilled him; got the details, the guy had signed death certificates and described the doctors leaving the room and his family crying. This happened 16 times and the man was answering every question Jack posed clearly and with authority. Apparently he had some documentation for Jack as well. So then the moment came that I was waiting for, Jack asked him to describe what happened the moment he died.

I had already crossed the Pattello Bridge and was travelling up the King George Highway. I was up the hill swinging south approaching the left turn to the Fraser Highway. The man started to describe himself leaving his body looking down at the people in his home and the other times, like at the hospital. He described how every time he left his body he was looking down at the overall scene. I stopped at the lights and had to wait for the left turn signal. That was when he started to describe the colours he passed through.

As I write this my body shivers. He described every single stage of my dream, every colour in precise order, every action, every moment. He was describing my dream without adding or missing a single detail. I was shaking. I was staring at the radio. I do not know what I looked like but I was in a state of shock. The light changed and I had to get off of the intersection and I did. I made the left turn but immediately drove off of the travelled portion of the road onto the gravel shoulder area on the right. I was sweating, shaking and completely dumbfounded. This guy on the radio could not have known what I had been thinking about for two days, my dream of death centuries ago.

I didn’t put the van in drive for at least fifteen minutes. And I have never forgotten this moment.

As I died I had no pain, no sorrow, no unhappiness but joy and complete understanding. It was like I was suddenly released from chains and bonds but without being upset for being in this restrictive life form. It was a state of complete bliss. And that is how this man on the radio described his experience. No regrets, no sadness.

My dream ended somewhat differently than his though. He was obviously brought back to his body. He lived. I stayed in the white light. My dream continued for a while longer. As I was enjoying this new found freedom I was met by three entities. If I were a religious man I would describe them as Moses or Jesus types of characters. Not walking or even actually having a physical form but certainly seeming to be in a white silhouette, three, standing side by side facing me.

I knew immediately. We didn’t talk, the communication was instant and complete. I had cried for mercy when I was about to be run through with a sword. I hadn’t yet learned my lesson, to be completely aware of reality, the real life. What I heard was, “you blew it” “go back and do it again”.

This might sound funny. And it does to me as I write it, but maybe it is part of reality for all of us. Do we take our lives too seriously? Are we here to learn lessons?

I was suddenly gone from that place of pure love and light. And I woke up. Fully aware, fully remembering.

Was it the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost? Is there a trinity? I do not know and I can not expand any further on this.

All I know is there was no way a radio show guest could have known about my dream.

Peace on Earth and goodwill towards all life. That’s the Christmas message. What we have and what we experience is precious, every moment. And so is death but get ready because as far as I understand it is a beautiful loving place. To get there, and stay, takes courage, strength and no fear. Something is waiting and one day we will all understand. If you do it wrong, you’ll be back, just like me.

Love your neighbour, love your family and love yourself. Sing at the top of your lungs. There is great joy to be had. It is the message of humanity. We all live on a small round sphere called Earth, together. We share the same air, water, soil and energy. And we all will find each other again in some other place. Is it heaven? I don’t know but it is Christmas and it is this time of year when we celebrate everything we treasure, each other. What could be better than that?
Merry Christmas!
Comment by FayEllen McFarlane on 23rd December 2011
Merry Christmas to Merv and your family, and to all you readers out there! Enjoy your family and friends and have a wonderful holiday season. And a Happy New Year too!