Clutching my chest, I shot up in bed, eyes wide, heart pumping, mind racing.
It was just a nightmare, I told myself.
But it had seemed so real. And I could feel everything.
The next day, I shared my dream about living and dying in ancient Rome with Tony, then 26.
‘You sure do have a wild imagination,’ he laughed.
Together since I was 14, he liked to tease me.
But a few weeks later, I had another strange dream.
Wearing a tight corset and full skirt, I fought against two men as they forced me down the street.
‘Thief!’ the crowd bellowed.
Brought to my knees, my neck was placed on a wooden block.
Within a blink, I heard a steel blade slide down, then it sliced through my neck.
Waking up in terror, my hands went to my throat as I desperately gasped for air.
‘Tony, I had another,’ I panicked, writhing in agony.
This time I’d been in 1700s France and after stealing a loaf of bread to feed my family, I’d been beheaded for my crimes.
Brushing it off as yet another dream, Tony had no idea how life-like they felt.
Waking up, I suffered all the emotions and agonising abuse I’d experienced while asleep.
For years, I continued to have these vivid dreams – and Tony was usually in them too.
Wanting to find out if there was more to it, I started to research what they meant.
My investigation seemed to point to one thing – reincarnation.
I read that during the dream state, the soul is capable of remembering past lives. And you could feel it in your present life.
‘I think I’m seeing my past lives,’ I confided in Tony.
‘That’s crazy!’ he laughed.
It did sound a bit mad, after all I worked in a dress shop in rural NSW!
But when I woke from each new dream, I started to realise that they were visions from my past lives.
Feeling flames lick my body, a crowd surrounded me.
‘Burn witch!’ they shrieked.
Because I had a hair sticking out from a mole on my chin, I’d been accused of witchcraft and burnt at the stake in medieval England.
But with Tony’s lack of enthusiasm for my visions, I drifted back to sleep without saying a word.
Over time, I started to become excited, not scared, of finding out how I lived and died in the past.
Once I was a Swedish milkmaid who died of polio.
Another time, I was a Scot who fought in the Battle of Culloden. And on one occasion, Tony was a fighter pilot in WWII, steering us through the terror of battle.
An excellent flyer, he managed to dodge the bullets but we were eventually shot down by Nazis and later died in a prisoner of war camp.
Digging deeper into reincarnation, I discovered you often find your soulmate throughout your various lives.
This explains why Tony is by my side in my visions, I thought. He’s my soulmate.
It filled me with warmth knowing our souls continually sought each other out. So, I decided I needed to convince Tony my visions were real.
‘Open your present darling,’ I smirked, as he tore open his 30th birthday gift.
Flying lessons, the voucher read.
Watching as Tony took off, I giggled at my clever master plan.
‘Your husband is a natural,’ the instructor said when they landed.
Tony shot me a puzzled gaze. ‘In my past life I was a pilot, wasn’t I?’ he said.
‘A damn good one too!’ I laughed, telling him about it.
As I shared how our souls constantly found their way back to each other, Tony listened intently.
‘I think you are right, reincarnation is real,’ he said.
But until our trip to Egypt in 2013, I never truly understood how many lives I had led.
This time, my current self stood in front of a pyramid structure made of skulls – my skulls. Every past life I’d led in Egypt was piled high in front of me.
I now think I must have led at least 4000 past lives.
I encourage others to open their minds to the possibility of past lives – you never know what has helped shape you to be who you are today.
Knowing what I once was has definitely led me to strive to be a better person.
Now drifting off has become the most exciting part of my day!