How a Dream Reunited Two Cousins After Decades Apart

The mysterious happening that prompted her to track down her long-lost relative.

Posted in , Sep 25, 2020

Young, smiling woman outdoors

Is that you, Lynn? I blinked awake. I was lying in bed in my Texas home. Another dream. For months, I’d been plagued by vivid dreams—wood splitting, things coming apart, visions of my parents and now my cousin Lynn. She’d appeared to me in a flash, like a cameo in a TV sitcom. A beautiful teenager, how she looked when I last saw her. She smiled at me. Then I woke up.

Things had been hard since my husband left, and I knew some dreams were God’s way of helping me heal. But the dream about Lynn was puzzling. I hadn’t seen her in decades, and we’d never been particularly close. Her parents divorced when we were both in grade school. She’d moved from Ohio, where I lived, to California with her mother. As teens, we saw each other only at family gatherings.

Our lives had gone in different directions. I went off to college. Lynn got married a week after graduating high school. She was a mother of two before I even walked down the aisle. For years, everything I knew about my cousin had come from my mother and grandmother.

One morning, in my late twenties, I was watching my daughters play when the phone rang. It was Mom.

“It’s Lynn,” she said. “She’s been in a car accident. She’s in the hospital. They think she’ll live, but she’ll probably never walk again.”

My breath caught in my throat. I was living in Ohio with my husband and children. Our lives were peaceful. How awful that Lynn’s life had been upended in an instant!

That was the last major update I got about Lynn. Life got busy. I raised my children, got a job teaching, earned a master’s degree, wrote a book. Decades flew by. Our family relocated, eventually landing in Texas. Our daughters grew up, moved out and started families of their own. I was blessed with six grandchildren. I was ready to enjoy my golden years with my husband.

Then came a shock. My husband filed for divorce. Worse, after we’d signed the papers, I learned he’d been seeing somebody else.

I started having those vivid dreams as soon as he left. Though I couldn’t understand why, I felt like this vision of Lynn was calling me to reconnect with her. But where to start? I wasn’t sure what last name she was using now or where she lived. My parents and grandmother—my only connections to Lynn and her family—had long since passed.

Later that week, while rearranging some books in the den, I stumbled across an old school directory. I didn’t realize I still had this.

Lynn’s brother had gone to the same high school I did. When their parents got divorced and Lynn moved to California with their mom, he lived in Ohio with their dad. Was it possible he still lived at the address listed? I wrote him a letter. He called back with Lynn’s e-mail.

Dear Lynn, I typed. It’s been years, but I hope you’re doing well. I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately.

Lynn e-mailed me back. Hi Kathy, it’s great to hear from you. Mom and I are up in Michigan.…

It turned out that Lynn’s husband had divorced her after the accident, taking the children with him. She had lost the use of her legs and had minimal control over her arms. But she was so positive in the face of such hardship. She asked what I’d been up to, and I told her about my recent divorce.

Lynn and I e-mailed back and forth, filling each other in on the details of our lives. Eventually we talked on the phone.

“I work from home for an office that handles disability claims,” she said. “And thanks to the internet, I have friends from around the world.”

“Wow, that’s amazing, Lynn!”

My cousin was way ahead of me in the healing department. Her life hadn’t ended after her accident and divorce. She’d gone on to earn a master’s degree, regain custody of her children and make new friends. Was it possible that I too had something to look forward to?

I flew to Michigan to visit Lynn and her mother. Lynn and my aunt were full of stories about my parents when they were young. It was wonderful being around people who’d known me before I’d met my ex-husband and started my adult life. I felt so much less alone in the world.

I’m so happy I paid attention to that dream. Lynn and I remained good friends until her death a few years later. She was a remarkable woman. If I ever find myself discouraged, I picture Lynn and her grace and strength. And that vision gives me hope.

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