Date: May 21, 2001
Subject: Biscuits for Phil!
Location: Near Cheshire, UK
This is about a good friend with whom I worked night shifts. (At a kids’ home in Cheshire, UK, called Redsands.) The men often used to try to spook the ladies out, and one such night I got my own back! Briefly, I told him about how Satan was supposed to give freely of material things- you only need ask. He jokingly asked for a condom, and within minutes was presented with about 50! This upset my friend (let’s call him Phil) and he didn’t try to draw me into scary conversations on nights again!
Later, Phil and I changed jobs but saw each other around as we both walked dogs on the fields. He’d drop by on his way back from the shops, always making a fuss of my pets. Phil was a lovely bloke and I was fond of him, and had promised to help with his vaguely-planned wedding to (let’s call her) Maggie.
One day, however, I turned to the funerals in my local paper and there was Phil’s, complete with photo. I rang around and found out that he’d become depressed and committed suicide, which was a big shock. I set off across town, with my dogs, to the Catholic cemetary. His grave was still covered in wreaths and easily found. I said, ‘Phil, what were you thinking of? Why didn’t you come and see me? Things can’t have been that bad!’ having not brought any flowers I left on the grave some dog biscuits, which sounds odd but I thought would they perhaps attract squirrels. Phil loved all animals and would have laughed at that.
A few nights later I dreamed about him, thus- I was walking my dogs as usual, when I spotted Phil with his. I caught him up and said, ‘Phil, what are you doing here? You’re dead!’ , to which he laughed. I said,’You’re dead! I’ve seen your grave!’ and he said, ‘No, I’m not, that’s just a story Maggie’s putting about!’ I persisted. ‘I saw your funeral in the paper! You’re dead! I put dog biscuits on your grave!’ To no avail. He just carried on laughing at me, denying that he was dead, and as the dream faded, I had given up arguing and was following Phil along the narrow path, surrounded by happy dogs.
This dream stayed with me very vividly. A few days later I was telling my friend about it and asking what she thought. ‘Don’t you remember?’ she asked, ‘you told me, that on the night with the condoms, you’d been talking about life after death, and you both promised that whoever died first would visit the other!’ I’d forgotten that, but it was true enough. The dead traditionally visit in dreams: did Phil do this?
Phil died three years ago this week. The other day I was out with dogs near the cemetary when they both suddenly stood still and stared toward the spot, hidden by a high wall, where Phil’s grave lies. I had time to spare so I put on their leads and let them pull me along. They led me unerringly along the pavement, across the road, up a slope and into the cemetary. This was the opposite side from where we’d been before, but they soon found Phil’s grave and stood looking expectantly at it. I waited, wondering what was coming, when suddenly a squirrel broke cover and the dogs took off after it, dragging me about a hundred yards!
If Phil had led the dogs there, then sent them a squirrel to chase, well, it would be just like him. He’d have laughed himself silly at me. Did Phil come to see me, to fulfil our promise? Did he appreciate the dog biscuits? Did he call my dogs and send the squirrel? I don’t know, but I feel that he’s happy. I’ll be dropping by again, with dogs and more biscuits, and perhaps we’ll have a laugh together again someday.