Childhood, Family, Life, Soul Homework

Earliest Memories and I See Dead People

Dirt Path Leading to House Under Clear Day Sky

I was walking at a forest preserve with Mike a few weeks ago, and the walk stirred up my first ever memory.

The path we were walking on. The position of the sun, the color of the sky, the trees and the scent of the air. All of it together reminded me of a specific place.

I was at my grandmother’s house in the country. I was walking down her country road. I smell clover from the fields that surround me on both sides of the road. The sky is blue, and it is late afternoon. I feel safe and happy.

As I am telling Mike this, a familiar scent fills my nose. I can’t place it, but I know it belongs to someone. My grandma? Maybe a relative I’ve never met on Earth? But they are with us on the path we are walking while I’m talking about that memory. I feel like I want to cry and I am filled with happiness all at once.

I’ve never met my maternal grandfather. He was a farmer who raised Black Angus cattle. Sadly, he died when my mom was still in college. Last spring, I was walking alone in a forest preserve with my dog and I felt anxious at one point during the walk. Then, as I approached the last half mile of the path, I sensed my grandfather’s presence. I’ve never met my grandfather, but I instinctively knew it was him with me for the rest of the walk.

As I drove out of the forest preserve, I observed an enormous statue of a cow at the entrance. So I researched the name of the preserve when I got home. It turns out that the land that the forest preserve that now stands was formerly owned by a family who raised… Black Angus cattle.

Photo by Brandon Randolph on

I was telling my mom about my first memory realization on Easter Sunday, and we connected the dots. For several years, we lived out in the country with my grandmother. When we moved to Chicago in the early 1970s, we visited her country home frequently.

Everything I described was legitimate and was something I would’ve most definitely experienced. Even though it’s vague, it’s a lovely memory, and it brings me peace.

I realize not everyone has the same childhood experience. If this is triggering for you, my intention is not to dig up the past and cause anyone pain.

What is it about forest preserves and me? Or maybe it’s because I am in nature and my mind isn’t scattered in a million places. At any rate, I love that I am having these experiences.

Are you able to recall your earliest memories?

Have you ever felt loved ones around you who’ve passed away?

38 thoughts on “Earliest Memories and I See Dead People”

  1. Yes I’ve sensed loved ones around me who have passed on. Both when I’ve caught a scent on a breeze and when I’ve glimpsed someone and felt a spark of recognition. I also remember my earliest memory which is of me sitting on some stairs with my favorite uncle while he read me a book of nursery rhymes. I was content, he was nice.

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  2. Scents are so powerful when it comes to triggering memories, I find. Yes, I have felt dead loved ones around me, but not as often as I would like. They also come to me in especially vivid dreams. Again, too rarely for my liking.


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  3. I have had times where I felt close to a memory. Almost like deja vous. This closeness that you share is so sweet and touching.

    One of my earliest memories is when we lived in Louisville. My sisters were standing in front of the floor to ceiling windows in our living room. They were talking through the window to the neighbors, who were brothers. I think I felt left out. I’d just gotten out of the bath and I was only wearing my bathrobe. I was probably about 3 years old. To shift the attention to me, I flashed open my bathrobe, revealing myself in my birthday suit to the neighbor boys. Well, I got attention all right. My sisters called out to Mom and she was NOT happy. How’s that for a first memory? I promise that was not foreshadowing. That was my first and last flasher episode.

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  4. This is awesome; I love that you had these feelings and memories.
    Smell does it for me all.the.time. Last week I smelled something and it immediately took me back to around age 10; it was a lip gloss that I had at that time. Crazy.
    As Ally said, I’ve caught glimpses of people out and about that remind me of someone; my Dad, my brother, Mom, Grandma, etc…This always takes my breath away for a moment and I try to take it in and imagine it really IS that person who I miss.

    Have you ever got a tap on the shoulder? Like YOU KNOW someone tapped you, but you’re alone. I get that now and then. It’s pretty amazing.
    I think my earliest memory is of my Dad changing my diaper. Really. But then there are many, many blurry years.

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    1. Oranges and lip gloss take me back to memories of my horrible third grade teacher. Good and bad memories can be stirred up by smell.

      I have heard of those taps! I don’t think I’ve ever experienced them. I’ve woken to a voice of someone though and they aren’t “there.” 😉

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  5. I don’t know which of my early memories is the first, but I have quite a few of them. Most are of the smallest moments: my great-aunt not understanding my sandwich request, doing a puzzle on the living room floor, my grandpa carrying me on his shoulders to take me for a walk.

    I don’t feel the presence of those who are gone in the way you describe, but they are often present in my mind. Especially over this last year. I miss my grandparents fiercely, and it’s so strange to realize that the version of them I miss is one in which they were very close to the age I am now. Occasionally they are in my dreams, which I love. I wish I had such dreams more often.

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    1. I love all of those memories for you!

      I’ve experienced presences more over this year too.
      I had a vivid dream with my grandma once. She was visiting me, I am sure of it. But never since. I wish we all had those dreams more often. Of course, one way of thinking is maybe we are but we aren’t remembering the dreams?


  6. I’ve had a few moments where I had similar experiences. Many years ago, after my “soul cat” passed there were several nights when I still felt/heard her jump up on the bed & settle bedside me to sleep. I’m pretty sure it was wishful thinking but I also like to think my cat was saying goodbye.

    More recently – a couple times I’ve woken up with the most extraordinary feeling of peace, happiness, love. Each time this has happened, that day I get a phone call telling me someone has died unexpectedly. Again, prob just a coincidence but if anyone *was* going to swing by & tell me in my dream that they were off to Heaven & that I shouldn’t be too sad, it was just these wonderful people.

    I have lots of memories of childhood. I think I remember crawling bc I remember lots of detail about the lino, carpet, etc flooring in various houses (lol).

    I love that your Grandma and Grandpa are still watching over you, making sure you know you are loved. That’s just what a good grandparent does, right? So cool about the Angus cattle farm connection.

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    1. I believe all of those experiences for you. Especially with animals because we have such a connection with them. I’ve heard so many stores about how animals follow you through lifetimes. I eat that stuff up. 🌈💜

      I love those feelings of peace, happiness and love. The fact that you woke up feeling that way means those are genuine and true emotions. Your thoughts didn’t make it up. So you experienced something magical and lovely, my friend.

      I love that they are there too. ❤️


      1. Thx for your words. It felt real and magical at the time. But ya never want 2b the loon on the internet. 🙂 So thx for encouraging me to believe. ❤

        If u like animal stories, I may have another for your collection –
        My family owned two horses who were best friends & lived long lives together on our small farm until they passed. We bought them at diff times, from different places – one a fancy show barn, the other a back yard barn – miles and miles apart. The horses were v diff too. “C” was fit, classic, with a kind eye. Just what we were looking for. “L” was all rough edges and everything about the test ride was a disaster (if it could go wrong, it did). We almost didn’t buy L. There was no good reason to buy L. We should keep looking. But then we did buy him… for absolutely no logical reason.

        C had been with us several months when we brought L home. When the 2 horses saw each other they went weirdly nuts. C began racing around the pasture with *excitement*. They were doing *happy* “where have you been!?!” neighs. It was surreal – 2 strange horses meeting for the first time (we thought) with such a happy reaction. What?

        So we asked around. Turns out C & L were best friends at a large show barn for years – long before we met them. Then L was sold & the pair separated. We reunited them in complete ignorance. And they spent the last several years of their lives together at our sleepy barn, happily grazing side by side or nose to nose. C was the perfect horse we thought him to be. And L became a gigantic love bug.

        Sometimes I think about those 2 horses who had zero control over their lives but how, in the end, everything magically worked out. Hope always.

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      2. I love this story so much. They were meant to reunite! The universe has ways of bringing people and animals together.

        I’m sharing this with my mom and Ella. My mom was raised on a farm and had a horse. She will love this story too.


  7. My earliest memory? Not sure. I’d probably need to think on that – you know, push other memories out of the way.

    But the day before my dad’s funeral was an utterly exhausting one. I had just got into bed expecting to be asleep immediately. I closed my eyes – but kept sensing that a light was still on. I sat up and looked around and the room was completely dark. When I laid back down and closed my eyes I still sensed that light hovering around my shoulder. Eventually, I did fall asleep. I am utterly convinced that light I was sensing was my dad, letting me know he was okay. And that he would be with me as I faced the next day.

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    1. My tip for the best way to think of memories? Handwrite them down. Sit down and just start writing one thing. Then it leads to another. I only say this because I began doing this while writing my book. I found the more I began handwriting stories from my past, the more I remembered. Something in the process of actually writing it out rather than on the computer helped me to recall so much more!

      Oh, Gigi. I feel like he was most definitely in the room with you that night.


    1. I first read this as awful memories. Then I re-read it as not being able to remember! LOL
      As I am aging, I am forgetting things, which makes me sad. I’m so glad I have this blog. I’m sure you feel the same way. This is why I feel like I need to write more posts like these. For myself but also for my children.


  8. I think I can remember as far back as 1 or 2 but not as a baby. This post blew me away because when the sun is a certain way, or the air smells a certain way I always tell my wife that it feels like a day in some year of the past. Like I mastered time travel but only for a few seconds. 😁

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  9. My earliest childhood memory was from when I was 3 years old. We lived in an apartment in Cicero and the girl that lived downstairs was about 7 or 8. Her name was Mona. I remember being in the alley with her (were we alone…at our young ages? That I don’t remember. I can’t imagine that my mother would’ve have been with me when I was only 3). But I remember Mona telling me that there were gorillas in the alley. And I was terrified.

    I can sometimes feel Phil in the house or with me, and sometimes my maternal grandma.


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  10. I love these stories, Kari. My daughter, Violet, is named after my grandma who had passed. When V was born she was diagnosed with a very serious untreatable heart condition. She spent two weeks in the NICU after being born and I remember going to bed one night just SOBBING scared and that night my Gram and Grandpa were in a dream telling me she was going to be okay and not to worry. At the time I just chalked it up to being a dream, but at around six months, we found out she had been misdiagnosed. I’ve always wondered about it since.

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  11. I felt the presence my my husband’s grandmother on the night she passed away. I dreamed or was awake? with a swirl of sparkles and she said she’d be watching us. The next morning we found out she had passed.

    Music and scents bring back memories. Music from my teen years brings me happy memories. My first memory, I was standing in our bathroom hallway with my brother and my mom wearing nothing but panties. I looked down at the tag and realized I had them on backwards and inside out.

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    1. I love that story. I used to feel like I had to apologize for loving stories of dying but we all die. And hearing that you had the honor of her presence when she left this earth is so special.

      I associate so many memories with music and scent as well! I love this story too! It reminds me of a story my mom has told of my grandma. She had gone shopping to downtown Cleveland. It was a big deal to go to the department stores back in those days. She had gotten dressed up. Then her friend that was with her pointed out that my grandma had two different shoes on. They laughed about that story for years. I love that I still am.

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  12. My oldest memory is of my preschool teacher who smelled like roses. I remember it so vividly. And I think about it often. I also remember the smell of my elementary school library, the books, the puppets, and the card catalogue.

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    1. I love that we are on here at the same time. 💜

      I love these memories and smells. I also love the smell of roses. There was a lotion in the 80s called Rose Milk and my aunt used to have it in her apartment. If I ever smell rose scented anything, it reminds me of my Aunt Mary.


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