The Dream that Saved Me

Author: Tom Hanculak '71

My birth mother, Ann, died on my first birthday. My dad remarried two years later. In those days, when people often would not talk about death, no one ever told me my birth mother had died. I had no memory of her; my second mom was the only mother I knew.

In first grade, I had surgery on my eye. Because of the placement of the incision, no sutures could be used. During the middle of the night on my first day home from the hospital, the eye began hemorrhaging. A beautiful woman with dark skin and long black hair came to me in a dream. She touched my shoulder, saying softly, over and over, “Tommy wake up.” I did wake up and found myself lying in a huge pool of blood. I called out to my dad, who was sleeping. He came in, applied direct pressure and a compress, and whisked me off to the hospital. The ER doctor said if I had bled for another 15 minutes, I would have been a goner.

Several months later my parents told me about my first mom, probably because I kept asking them why I had three sets of grandparents. Shortly after, I was spending the night with my first mom’s parents. I began asking my grandmother several questions about my mother. After a while, she got up, went to a desk drawer, opened it and pulled out a picture/portrait of her.

My mom was the same lady who woke me up in my dream.

Tom Hanculak is a trial attorney living in Cleveland.