Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life without

them is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

— Langston Hughes.


I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge –

myth is more potent than history – dreams are more

powerful than facts – hope always triumphs over

experience – laughter is the cure for grief – love is

stronger than death.

— Robert Fulghum.


Dreams reflect the essence of the innermost thoughts and feelings of the human soul. In some cases they seem to seem to involuntarily express deepened feelings after the death of a loved one. Sigmund Freud wrote, “Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.” Dreams may be vivid while they are occurring but the fact that they can sometimes be remembered in equally minute detail is astounding. Such was the case for David and Alvin who exchanged the following emails about their respective dreams three years after Susie’s death and forwarded them to me. They considered the craziness of their experience, but were intensely moved by what seemed so real.


David wrote:

Dear Alvin: I don’t remember if I told you about this,

but I wanted to write it down. I was at Daniel’s Bar

Mitzvah (tho, this boy didn’t look like Daniel). Lois and I

were sitting a few rows back from the front which had

high-backed seats, so you couldn’t see the backs of

heads. When he was called to the bima, there was a

lot of noise from up front, as if he were looking for

something he had to bring up with him. Finally, he

emerged and went to the bima, with a tray of what

looked like cakes and other desserts. He apologized

for the delay and said it was because his mom couldn’t

find what he needed, or words to that effect. At this very

point, Susie who was sitting in the front row, stood up.

She turned around to face us all, and gave that silent

smile/laugh of hers as if to say, “he’s right!” The look

on her face was so definitely her look. The next minute

she reappeared at the end of the row to the front and

left of where we were sitting. This time she turned to

face me directly, and her full face had a glow around it,

almost a halo effect, different from everyone else. While

looking at me, she mouthed the words, “Are you OK?”

directly to me. I knew at that moment that she was not

really there and that I wasn’t OK because of that, and then

I woke up.


To which Alvin replied:

David: Thanks for telling me. I have been visited

too! I don’t think I’ve shared my dream about

Susie before. I was in my house in my bedroom. My

sister was there and someone else I didn’t know. The

TV was on and reported a story that triggered an event

between Susie and me on our last Mexico vacation and

I started laughing. I hear her laughter coming from the

other side of the bed and of course, I can’t believe it.

I’m shaking. It’s Susie smiling lovingly at me. We

look at each other and I jump on top of her, wrap my

arms around her and kiss her and won’t let go. There’s

no one else in the room. It too, was so real. I wake up in

the middle of the night, realizing it was a dream, but I

still feel it happened. Yes, Susie is always with us, and

forever in our hearts, souls and thoughts.


I recently closed out of my support group after 3

and 1/4 years and told my fellow members what

helped me most was staying here long enough not

only to help myself but my fellow member….and

most importantly…finding a new way to love Susie

that’s more powerful than ever.


Perhaps Alvin and David were visited by Susie. Perhaps not. We have no real way of confirming it. However, what we do know is that their dreams were indicative of the loss, of loving, caring relationships and how that loss has made a lasting impact on their lives not to mention all those lives she touched.



Lois Schaffer

My past activities include: employment as a grants writer for non-profit organizations; namely, the Pearl Lang Dance Foundation and the affordable housing developer; Kimmel Housing Foundation. I have participated in marches and rallies in support of civil rights and to protest the war in Vietnam. I have been a gun safety advocate my entire life helping to enact sensible gun safety legislation on the state and federal levels. I am a Long Island, New York resident. In 1993, Carolyn McCarthy's husband and son were shot in the Long Island Railroad massacre. Carolyn McCarthy's congressional candidacy was initiated after the massacre and I was totally involved in her campaign.Ironically, from an advocate, I became a victim but consider myself a survivor. My daughter, a single working mother was killed by a teenaged burglar in possession of a stolen handgun. I had to do something, not only to honor the memory of my daughter, but to use as a platform in protest of the easy accessibility if guns and the power and greed of the National Rifle Association. So, "The Unthinkable: Life, Loss and a Mother's Mission to Ban Illegal Guns" was written and published by the first rate publisher, The Brown Publishing Group. The book has provided me with many opportunities to speak at various venues to raise awareness of the escalation of gun violence and what our society can do to counteract it.

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