Friday, December 4, 2015

When Death Happens

In my dream he died suddenly. I got the call and dropped what I was doing. The dog ate my dinner as I made plane reservations. My ex-boyfriend's father gave advice on a memorial service (it's for those left behind, not him...) I flew home and met with the funeral director, a high school classmate, and he guided me through the obituary. I blame him for my forgetting to mention my uncles or grandfather (their stepfather). 

I knew he wanted cremation. I knew he did not want a memorial service. He wanted a party. He got all three. In my dream there is more to deal with. There are memories and conversations and physical reminders of a life far removed from those we live today. Lives, really, thrown in different directions and memories barely recognized by any of us. In my dream our mother is there and she reconciles and reassures and returns to her new life. We squabble briefly over items representative of our childhood, and compromise. 

It's too much. I take the car for a farewell drive. The spring flowers reject the notion of death, and death smirks. There is no good time for a father to die. There is no good way to call your friends, hear their joy that you're home, and delete their joy with the news of why. In my dream the service is surreal. I cry like I've never known I could. The minister didn't know him, doesn't know us. None of us speak. When we stand to receive the attendees I'm overwhelmed. All our friends are there. And a man who served in the Navy and saw the obit in the local paper. I knew your father, he said. I had to come. We return to what will soon no longer be our house for a party. It's similar to many other parties, he's just not there. But he would have enjoyed it. Stories and laughter. Surreal reality. 

In my dream I'm in my bed, in my room, in my neighborhood, and I can't sleep. I read. I talk to an old boyfriend. We briefly reconnect. He's very supportive. In my dream I let hope creep in. In my dream I realize I have to wake up. My life is elsewhere, I have a job, an apartment, pets. In my dream I fly 'home' and try to resume where my life had been paused. It's very difficult to wake up from a dream.