Most of my pre-birth memory is about my death, although I remember from a very early age thinking that I was supposed to accomplish something, and part of the task was to figure out what it was. Even as a young child I knew without anyone telling me so that I had chosen this life, with these parents in this town, etc., and that I had explained to someone that if only I had the right opportunity, I'd meet their expectations. I have the impression that "they" (it feels like a they, but that's as far as I know) agreed to give me that opportunity, and this is it.
I'm a woman born in Ohio in 1962. When I was young, especially before I was in school, I frequently had what I called to myself the "running dream" or "the dream where I died." It was always exactly the same. I was running hard across a grassy field, away from some woods. Other men (I was a man in the dream) were running too. I was terrified, and all my thoughts were focused on getting across a fence a short way away. There was a small drop-off beyond it, and I knew I'd be safe there. (Other details from I recall is that all the other men and I were wearing kind of coarse and shabby brown clothes -- pants and shirts, not uniforms -- and hats. I also had a very long, very heavy stick in my hand, and I knew I had to hold on tightly to it even though it was slowing me down.) I nearly reached the fence, but just short of it I felt something slam hard into my back. I can still touch the exact spot to this day, just to the right of my spine at the top of the small of my back. It didn't hurt, and I remember being surprised at that. I flew through the air a bit and fell forward onto my stomach. I tried to get up to keep running and found I couldn't move. I was upset and frightened that I couldn't move. I felt blood coming out of my mouth, and it felt hot and wet and thick. Then I could see the whole field from above, with all the people still running, and I felt how afraid they were, but knew I couldn't be hurt any more. I saw my body lying on the field, but all I felt was relief that I wasn't scared any more, and surprised to realize I was dead.
After that part of the dream I always woke up. I was never frightened by it, and didn't think anything particularly weird was going on until I found out that my other friends didn't have dreams like that. I had two experiences later in life that I felt were related to it, both when I was watching movies. Once when I was a teenager I was watching a movie on TV of a person who was shot in the back, and as it was happening I remembered exactly what it felt like. It scared me because I actually felt it again, the blood in my mouth and everything. It had been years since I'd even thought about the running dream. Another time in my late 20s I was watching the editor's cut of Spartacus. Again I was completely surprised during a scene of a battle on a grassy field, a shot of the soldiers advancing, when I found myself thinking, "that's not quite right, but it was almost like that." I suddenly realized the movie scene was similar to a memory related to the running dream, but a part of the dream I'd never had as a child. Again, I got scared and shaky at how this "memory" had unexpectedly intruded.
As an adult with a wider grasp of history, I think I was a soldier (not an officer) in a battle with muskets (the long heavy stick), in which bands of ordinary men without uniforms fought in partly cleared land with rolling hills. The terrain could have been Europe or America. There was definitely a transition area between that life and this one, and I think I was reluctant to leave. I have no clear image of that area, other than the knowledge that there were others there who had some authority to direct my actions.
August 16, 2006