The Dream About the Real World

Dad: Let’s head out into the open countryside, head towards the coast.
Karen: Let’s do it!
Dad: I don’t want to go into the city. I don’t want to run errands with you.
(Karen nods her head in understanding.)
Dad: (his voice cracking) I love you.
Karen: I love you, too.
Dad: It’s nice that we have each other to love.
Karen: Yes, it is!
Dad: Thank you for including me when you take these drives. (Karen smiles – she takes these drives FOR Dad.)

Karen turns onto Samish Island Road, thinking maybe she’ll go to Bayview State Park with Dad.
Dad: Have you ever been to that little island that’s connected to the land?
Karen: Samish Island? Do you want to go there?
(Dad nods his head, and Karen heads out to do the loop around
Samish Island.)

Dad: Is Mom alive?
Karen shakes her head no.
Dad: I had a dream that she’d died. (He starts tearing up.) I think I’ve already mourned her. (Dad’s quiet for a bit. They’ve almost finished the Samish Island loop now.) Let’s go some place where we can walk on a beach.
Karen heads for Bayview State Park.

After parking, Dad and Karen make their way to a bench near the beach. When she’s getting Dad’s walker out of the back of the car, Karen sees the cans of root beer she put in there months ago – she’d bought them for Dad, and had forgotten about them. Now she grabs one, joins Dad on the bench, and hands it to him. His face lights up and he smiles and takes it from her.

Dad: Do you ever dream about Mom?
Karen: Yes. I had a dream that she was sitting on the top bed of a bunk bed, dangling her feet over the edge. She had a happy, mischievous smile on her face. There was an open casket on the bed behind her. She said, “I’m done with this!” And hopped down. I felt like she was done with the whole dead-thing, and was happy. Have you had a dream about Mom?
Dad: Yes. I dreamed she died.
Karen: She loved you, and loves you very much.
Dad: She was such a wonderful person.
Karen: Yes, she is!
(Dad and Karen are quiet for a while, just enjoying the sunshine.)
Dad: This is nice here. I’m glad we made this stop. That’s a nice, gentle breeze. It smells like saltwater. (He belches and laughs at his own belch.)

When they get back in the car, Dad says he had a dream where he had to fart once, but there was no place to fart. He starts laughing – cracking himself up. Karen’s laughing, too. Then Dad asks, “Do you and Mom have a lot of nice conversations?” And she tells him that she does.

As they’re heading back to Dad’s home, he turns his head and points, “That would make a happy picture! That house all covered in flowers! But I don’t have my camera with me…” Karen turn the car around and heads back to the flower-bedecked house, and gets out her camera for Dad to snap a photo.

They get back to his home, and Dad doesn’t recognize it at first – he has moved three times in the last year, and it’s all a little confusing. Karen explains that their last home couldn’t take Mom and him back when Mom got sick. And then when Mom passed, they had to find another home for Dad. She tells Dad that they felt that Mom had directed them to this place for Dad – a place with hummingbird feeders and cats and dogs. Dad asks, “So Mom knows these people then?” And Karen thinks about this, and then nods her head yes. (Karen believes Mom does know these people, even if they never actually met in the person.)

Dad gets back in the house and doesn’t recognize anything. Karen asks him if he wants to go to his room – and he asks, “I have a room here?” Karen points the way, and once he enters he says, “Oh! I remember this place now!” He sees his paintings on the walls, and pictures of his friends and family. He realizes he’s home. He starts grinning at himself and says, “I’ve been thanking these people for allowing me to stay here.”

Dad points to a book by Leif Whittaker about Leif’s father, Jim. “I think I got that book for Christmas.” Karen tells him that she thinks Jim Whittaker gave him that book when he came to visit him here. “Jim visited me here?!” Yes, Karen tells him, also his friends Rick and Cindy, and Tom Hornbein, and Mary from the Mountaineers… Dad is shaking his head in amazement now. He says, “The things I’ve forgotten would fill a book!”
Karen: Are you going to take a nap now?
Dad: Yes, I want to make that transition into the dream.
Karen: What dream is that?
Dad: (tearing up) The dream about the real world. (And Karen knows he’s thinking about the world where Mom is still with him.)
Karen: I love you, Dad.
Dad: I love you, Karen.

 

“Daddy, Mom passed on peacefully…”

Update on Dad:
I stopped in to see Dad this morning and he asked how Mom was. (Yesterday he’d asked if she was back east. He’d said he hoped she didn’t think he’d abandoned her.) I told him fine. He looked at me, skeptically, and said, “It feels like people aren’t giving me a straight answer to this question.” He is very sharp. At that point it was impossible to lie to him, so I got close to his ear and told him Mom had passed. He asked me what I’d said. I told him I loved him and hugged him and left.

I came back later with a new pair of pants for him. Mary from The Mountaineers was there and Dad was busy at the dining room table drawing a picture of Rainier on some watercolor paper she’d brought him. He asked how Mom was. I told him fine. I asked him how he was and he said he’d be happier if he knew how Mom was. I asked him if he’d like me to write him a note about Mom and he nodded his head yes. I wrote something like this:

“Daddy, Mom passed on peacefully in her sleep at my house last week. She loved you very much. She still loves you. She knows you love her, too. We all love you, Daddy. You’re not alone. We’re all here for you.”

He asked how “the boys” were doing. I said the boys were doing fine and wanted him to be happy.

I wrote to him that he had been able to see Mom before they brought her to my house. I told him an attendant had wheeled him up to Mom’s room so he could say good-bye. The attendant said it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

Mary and I were hugging him and he was holding my hand. I found a paper napkin and dabbed tears off the end of his nose. He asked if Mom had died in pain, and I said no, she’d died peacefully at my house. I’d been sleeping next to her. He wanted to know what she’d died of, and I told him her heart had gotten tired and stopped.

I told him about the memorial celebration for her, and he nodded his head that he wanted to come.

I asked him what I could do to help, what he wanted to do. He said he wanted to go to bed. So Mary and I helped him get back to his room. He told me he loved me before I left.

I think he might ask again – and I think we’re going to have to continue to be truthful with him, and help him get through this. He won’t let us not tell him the truth. He is very brave.

moz-and-dad-wedding-day

Sharing a Child with the World…

 Sharing a child with the world is the absolute in love — he will be in contact with more love than he has ever had in his life. And will of course share it all with you. It’s time to sharpen your intuition and other heartfelt communications skills. If you stay in tune with him, you’ll see how easy it will be to have him experiencing the whole globe and still be connected to your heartstrings. Try to stop mourning something that you did not lose. This “graduation” into adulthood will pay back endless dividends to you and to him. So — I know that I am sounding like a big smartypants….but it is true, I AM a big smartypants! Congratulations on this essential step in parenting. Don’t worry, you have job security. Forever.                      – Linda Sola

***

My oldest son left home yesterday to return for his final year at the university. This time felt different, to me, than the three times he’s returned to school before. This time it felt so… well… final. At the end of this school year he graduates, launches off into his “own life”, and maybe returns to us once a year at Christmas.

As the son was getting himself packed up and ready to go, I was trying to figure out what I could give him to send him on his trip. If I had a daughter leaving to go back to university maybe I’d give her a card, or some little sentimental trinket, or flowers… but the son is a very male male… still… I had a sudden memory of the son at about the age of three, sweetly offering me a fistful of yellow dandelions… he’d always liked flowers when he was little.

Was it my turn to give him a flower? How would a manly man feel about his mother handing him a rose?

Oh bother. I still wasn’t sure how to proceed, but my rose bushes needed pruning, anyway, so I decided I might as well start clipping off some of the buds – and if, when the time came for the son to leave, it didn’t feel quite right to offer him roses, I’d just keep them and put them in a vase.

And then a cool thing happened: As I was bringing the rose buds inside, the son looked over and saw them. “Pretty flowers,” he observed.

And suddenly it was the most natural thing in the world to say,  “I’m going to give one to you to take on your trip,” He smiled and thanked me – kind and generous in the way of a man grown – accepting my little floral offering with the same look on his face that I’d probably had when he’d once offered me his little fistful of dandelions.

The husband and I smiled and waved as our son pulled out of the driveway and headed back to school. And then I made my way to the solace of my Secret Garden, and remembered…

Andrew and dandelion

“Where there is love, there is life.”

Heart-breaking. A grief so deep, there are no words. I over-heard someone say: “I bet they’ll find out the mom is to blame.” And THAT crushed me, too. Finger-pointing. Finding someone or something to blame – the young man’s mom, the season, God…

And none of that is going to make things better for the parents of those children who lost their lives. I know the solution isn’t to be found in hate. That’s pretty much the ONLY thing I know for sure right now.

Yesterday I went to my blog, hoping I could find something to say there that might somehow help the people who are grieving the loss of their children – and I found myself reading other peoples’ blogs about the tragedy – everyone in deep shock and mourning.  I realized I wasn’t ready to post anything right then. It felt like anything I had to say would be self-indulgent and me-centered – MY feelings, MY grief, MY horror, MY shock.

Today, I still don’t have the words that are going to fix everything and make it all better.  There are no words that will do that.  But if any of the parents of the children lost in Newtown should stumble upon this blog, I want them to know that they’re not standing in their pain alone – there’s a world full of people who care,  who want to help, who want to reach out and offer what comfort they can – there’s a world full of people who WISH they could fix this, and make it all better.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Where there is love, there is life.” The love we create with the people in our lives still lives on – even after they’re  no longer with us – nothing can destroy that love. The joy-filled memories of our loves ones – those with us and those no longer with us – we still have those memories, too – no one else’s hatred or insanity can take those from us.  We embrace them, cherish them, and keep them alive.

May the love shared and created, and the memories made,  bring comfort to those who are grieving unthinkable loss right now.

***”

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” – Jack Lemmon

 “At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good.”  – Mary Baker Eddy

“…I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8: 37-39