Author Archive

One More Day- A Magical Story: Part 1 of 4

Written by Rae Ann Norell on . Posted in Blog

Taken 1/2 mile be fore he died.  Photo by K. Johnson, for Idaho Statesman.

My son. Taken 1/2 mile be fore he died. Photo by K. Jones, for Idaho Statesman.

I have recorded dreams about my son David since he died in 2004. Lately, I’ve been concerned that my dreams have dwindled quite a bit. However two weeks ago I was blessed with a vivid dream. I walked into the living room, and David was sitting on my couch, wearing his black Revolution tee shirt. “Hi, Mom,” he said. I was so happy to see him. Surprisingly, I had the same dream two more times in the next few days. I was happy, thinking this was a visitation dream, what some consider to be a type of dream where our loved ones who have passed on visit us in our sleep and talk to us, as opposed to a regular dream.

                A few mornings later, after having showered and dressed, I walked into the living room. There on the couch was David in his Revolution tee shirt and blue jeans! I gasped loudly and fell to the floor, my heart pounding in my chest. Was I dreaming? David said, “Mom, don’t be scared. It’s me, you aren’t dreaming. I was given permission to visit you for a day.”

                I was crying and couldn’t get off the floor. David walked over, knealt down and helped me to my feet. He was real. His physical presence was solid. We hugged a long time while I wept on David’s shoulder. He cried too, although he tried to hide it from me.

                After what seemed like an hour, when my heart beat returned to almost normal, we sat down on the couch. “I can’t believe this, “ I said. “I’ve hoped and prayed for this for eight years, but knew if I did see you I’d be scared and might have a heart attack.”

                “I know it’s shocking,” he said. “I tried to give you a heads up about this visit in your dreams. I couldn’t email or call you in advance,” he laughed.

                “I got the dreams,” I said. “I remember the only other time I had a prophetic dream, it came in a group of three dreams. I was 10 and my cat had been missing for a week. We assumed she was dead. I dreamed three times that the cat woke me up when she hopped on my bed. One morning she really did hop on my bed. How long can you stay?” I asked.

                “About twelve hours. No one else can see me on this visit, so I’ll have to go before Howard gets home.”

To be continued……….

Be Gentle with Yourself

Written by Rae Ann Norell on . Posted in Blog

As a mother who lost her only son a few years back, these are just a few things
I have learned in my own grief walk:

  • Everyone grieves differently.  There are no rules when it comes to grieving.
  • Everyone grieves in their own time frame. This is not a race or a contest.
  •  Be patient with yourself.
  •  Be patient with others—although they may say or do things that are not helpful to you, in most cases they are trying to help.
  •  You do not have to accept people’s well-meaning advice.
  •  Take one step at a time.
  •  Give yourself permission to grieve.
  •  Surround yourself with a few positive, helpful friends/colleagues/relatives, even if it is just one person. Not everyone is cut out to help others grieve.
  •  Give yourself permission to take a break from what others expect from you.
  • Talk about your loved one. By saying their name we help keep their memory alive. 
  • grief tips for grievers


(Image from google images)

An Inspiring Book

Written by Rae Ann Norell on . Posted in Blog

Journeys on the Edge: Living a Life that Matters by Walt Hampton came to my attention at a writing seminar I attended in Boise a couple of years ago. The author, Walt Hampton, was one of the speakers. He spoke with passion about setting and achieving goals, living a life that matters, and doing what you love. I was on fire after hearing him, and bought the book. Not only was the book inspiring, but it reminded me of my son David’s life. David left college after one semester to pursue his passion, extreme kayaking. He had kayaked for five years, and now at age 19, wanted to try to support himself in the sport, which he did. We were blessed that he chose to get off the college treadmill, and follow his heart. He died about five years later in a triathlon, doing what he

Walt too, made choices in his life to follow his heart. Already a successful attorney, he yearned to have the time to devote to one of his passions, mountain climbing. He has since conquered four of the world’s Seven Summits. In addition, he is a talented adventure photographer, and is Director of Summit Success and Founder of the Positive Leadership Academy.

The book is full of motivational examples of what can happen in our lives when we make choices that enable us to be true to ourselves, pursue our passions, and live life with purpose. I am a compulsive highlighter when reading non-fiction books. I wanted to highlight most of the book as it rang true to me, and as I mentioned, reminded me so much of my son’s philosophy of life. There are too many inspirational phrases in the book to quote them all, so if you are interested to know more, you will have to read the book. It starts out with a chapter entitled: “Resuscitating your dreams: remembering what rocks your world.”

Take the time to read this book. It will be worth it.

Chasing Mavericks

Written by Rae Ann Norell on . Posted in Blog


chasing mavericks image

I loved the movie, Chasing Mavericks, (2012), which is about a young boy and his passion for surfing.  “Mavericks” refers to a surfing location near Santa Cruz, California, where huge waves can be found during certain times of year. The boy, Jay Moriarity, began surfing at age eight, and his heart’s desire is to surf the biggest wave ever.  He is mentored by his next door neighbor, Frosty Hesson, who happens to be a local legend in the surfing community. Although the surfing scenes are breath-taking,   I was drawn to the story by the similarity to my son David’s life. Jay and David had a lot in common, starting with learning their sport (surfing/kayaking) at a young age and quickly developing a passion to pursue that thrill. They both die young, but not from participating in their sport.  Jay died at 22, free diving in the Maldives, and David died at 24 on a bicycle, while competing in an athletic competition.

Jay and David were well known and loved in their sporting communities. Both of them were inspirational to those who also love surfing or kayaking. Jay’s friends honored his life with a tradition of paddling out to a spot that was meaningful to Jay. The movie depicted his friends in a circle on their surfboards, tossing flowers into the ocean in his memory. David’s friends honored his life with a river float down the South Fork of the Payette, pausing for a moment of silence at the end of the trip to  toss flowers into the  the confluence of the South Fork, North Fork and Main Payette. Jay’s friends developed a slogan, “Live Like Jay!”, and David’s friends developed a slogan, “Do if for Dave!” The principal behind these two slogans is similar: “Live to be who you are truly meant to be.”  (Surfing Mavericks: the Unofficial Biography of Jay Moriarity by Lifecaps.) Live every day to the fullest, follow your passion, do what you love. Don’t waste a moment because life is precious, life is short— so love your life and live it!