Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I had had the strangest dream. In the dream, my friend Janet had died - but, she was sitting on the edge of the bed, smoking a cigarette, so she wasn't dead, after all. But, it was clear that a friend had died. I was sleeping over at another friend's house, whom I had helped move the night before. I remembered the dream, vividly, when I awoke, but it made no sense.

    I drove over to my sister's house, where we were getting ready to go on a family picnic and birthday party. There, as I sat in her kitchen, the phone rang, and it was my friend from Connecticut, David. "Peter, you need to come up here." I had just been up there the previous weekend. I usually made the 4 hour trip up there from New Jersey about once a month. On the last trip up, I had almost O.D.'ed - my friend, Reed, one of the strongest individuals I knew, had pulled me back from wherever it was I was going. But, something in David's voice was too serious. "Why, what's going on?"

    "Reed died - this morning. The pneumonia was just too much." Reed was battling Hodgkins' Disease, and had come down with pneumonia. Still, I did not see this coming. He was my best friend in the world. I was beginning to lose it, when David said, "You need to hold it together, Pete - here's Peg (Reed's fiance)" "We need you up here, Pete" I could hardly say anything, but just said that I would be up there in 4 hours. As soon as I hung up, a deluge of tears overwhelmed me. I had never cried like that. My sister and her husband were a tremendous comfort to me. But I had to go.

    On the drive up, as I drove the stretch of 95 through New York, and flipped around the raido channels, I heard 3 different versions of Reed's favorite song - "Free Bird", by Lynrd Skynrd. I knew he was around. I could feel his presence.

    I would continue to feel his presence, from time to time, in my life for several years after that. I've always felt that his passing, and my near-death experience that he brought me back from, were very instrumental in my eventually finding recovery from addiction. That was when something began to transcend my own self-limitations, and to pull me towards where I was meant to be. Once, when I was sitting in a meeting, I actually thought for sure that I saw him gazing in a window of the meeting room, with a reassuring nod of his head. I always chaulked that one up to one too many cups of coffee.

    Several years later, when I was back in school on the G.I. Bill and working in a restaurant, I had another dream. In this one, Reed had come by my house to let me know he had to leave. He told me that he was satisfied that I was going to be alright, and no longer needed his help. He said that I probably wouldn't be seeing him anymore.

    The next day, as I was taking my dinner break at the restaurant, another waiter who I barely knew, sat down across from me in the booth, and after some idle chit-chat, asked if I'd had a dream about my friend the night before. I looked at him like he had two heads, and said "What the hell do you know about it?" I hadn't told anyone. He explained to me that he occasionally had "visits" from spirits, and that my friend had visited him, to convey to me that he was sorry that he had to leave, and that he would really miss me. He never said another thing about it, and neither did I.

    Here's the poem I'd written when I first learned that Reed had the Hodgkins disease, which happened to be while I was living "on the lam" in Portland, OR, a couple years before:

    Reed's Song

    Reed the spring is here again,
    and with it come the wine and song, and
    Mellow nights that last so long –
    I’m glad as hell I know you’re strong!

    The news I heard, it came so deep –
    last night I couldn’t get to sleep,
    I walked these city streets and cried,
    Shouting at these mountains “WHY”?

    These people chasing dreams breezed by…

    The memories all drifted by,
    captured softly in a sigh
    Released in sudden bursts of cries,
    asked in never-ending why’s

    You and I’ve been through so much,
    even when we’re out of touch
    Reed, I know you, as you know me
    Our dreams have touched reality!

    So f**k that Hotchkinson’s bullcrap!
    Next time we meet we’ll hit the tap,
    And drink to life, old shriners true!
    And work at solving these strange clues….
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.