I live in south Jersey and have been reading stories on here for the past couple weeks. I finally decided to post one of my own, though I only have two, after seeing a couple similar ones and just because it's fun to share the most awesome thing that's ever happened to me.
My husband and I let our first cat together get pregnant. She had four healthy kittens during a raging thunderstorm, and we kept them all. They were and are my whole life (don't have kids and don't want them). We call them 'the originals', because we are animal lovers (go vegan, it's better for everything and everyone!) and have fostered, sheltered or full-on rescued many more cats since then.
Just before their 5th birthday the youngest of the originals, Moccasin, was hit by a car. It was especially maddening because we lived in the very back of an apartment complex, there wasn't an actual road for a mile or so. Many people will say that we shouldn't let them out, but we believe that a happy life cut short is better than a miserable long one, and my cats just love to play outside! That makes me feel better than imagining her still with me but staring sadly out the window all day. We were all incredibly devastated for a few weeks though- our little family was torn apart.
About six months later I found a kitten crying in the woods alone outside my work, after a raging thunderstorm. He was hanging around the turkeys and guinea hens we had in the backyard there, and we named him Turkey. I felt like Mocca had sent him to us, because he just appeared out of a thunderstorm like when they were born, and while MamaCat and her first three kitties were all short haired, Moccasin was a fluffball. And Turkey is the puffiest, fluffiest fluffball I've ever seen.
My husband was smitten with him and acted his mama; he has less affinity for me. He likes me and all, but you know what I mean, when an animal has a favorite. (I was Mocca's favorite.) My point is, Turkey has only licked me one time in the 2 1/2 years we've had him, and I'm pretty sure it was by accident because I pet him during his bath time and I think he thought he was licking his own fur. I get kisses all the time from the others; they're a very affectionate group, those originals.
One night I had a dream in one of our old apartments where I was in the laundry room with Moccasin and Turkey. This is about 2 1/2 years after she died and two years after we got Turkey. Moccasin almost fell behind the washing machine and dryer and I was grabbing and trying to keep her up on top of them; in the dream I knew I couldn't let her fall down there and there was more at stake than just the annoyance of getting stuff back up from behind the washer. I actually did get her back up, and her and Turkey started nuzzling on each other, Turkey waving his luxurious tail in her face and Moccasin sniffing all over him, while I pet both of them. I remember I was smiling and insanely happy in the dream but I woke up crying hysterically.
I just knew that it was real, it was different than any other dream I've ever had. I remember how my face felt smiling, how Moccasin's joints felt under my hands when I was trying to keep her up on the washer and the weight of her body pulling down, I remember laughing and clearly hearing my own voice talking to them. I got out of bed and went straight to Turkey, who looked like he'd just woken up on a kitchen chair. I went and hugged him and said 'Turkey, was that real? Were you there with me and Mocca?' and he looked at my eyes and then licked my hand, just one long stroke all the way up the back.
I felt that Moccasin was coming to meet Turkey, the beautiful man that she had sent us to relieve some of our grief. It's been several months since this happened, and I still regularly try to get Turkey to give me a lick, but he hasn't done it. It made me wonder how often she is in the dreams of her brothers and sister, and just made me feel grateful that I was there that time and hopeful for another encounter in the future.