DREAM ON, SISTERS

It has been a while. I have had a bit of a dry spell, perhaps even a drought of ideas. So, I asked for help. I prayed for ideas and inspiration, and I wasn’t disappointed. Our parents are the inspiration for this blog–their lives and their deaths, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Again, be careful what you wish for.

I woke up early this morning after a relatively late night–11:00 is way past my bedtime. It was not yet six, so I went back to sleep. When I am lucky enough to fall back asleep, I often have the strangest dreams. This morning was no exception, except that it was perhaps the strongest, most moving dream I have in the last fourteen years. And, it took me a moment to realize it was just a dream. It was still real when I woke up an hour later, for just that moment, and I had to wrap my mind around what I thought was my new reality.

In the dream, Mom had called to tell me that Dad had died in his sleep. I was awake now–barely, and my own heart was broken. I didn’t know how I would live without him. And then I realized it was a dream. I had already been living without him for over fourteen years, and without Mom for just as long.

It was real, just for that moment.

Perhaps it was because I was thinking about them yesterday as my husband and I traveled close to the accident site. I considered taking the short detour to stop there, but there was no reason. I had already been there once. (And You Will Go On, October 14th, 2018. )

Perhaps the dream was portended by the five cardinals I saw the day before. Yes, five. I even had to slow down to avoid hitting two of them with my car on two different occasions.

Perhaps it was the dime I found on the floor of a store yesterday. Mom and Dad had a dime bank they often contributed to, and after I wrote the blog about the six amazing sisters (The Magnificent Seven, November 11th, 2018 ) and they told me about the connection they have to their parents through dimes–“Dimes from heaven,” they call them, I started to find dimes lying randomly here and there, including one in the middle of my bedroom floor later that afternoon. I had just tidied up the room, and left it with no trace of anything stray on the floor. Yet, the dime showed up. And they have been showing up ever since. I put that one next to their picture and each one since then has been placed in a skinny shot glass next to it.

One of Gail’s daughters has this same connection to her grandparents through dimes. We send pictures of our latest dime finds to each other via text along with a short story. I sent her the picture of yesterday’s dime, and not long after that I got one back from her–this one was wedged in the crack of a table.

**

I get good ideas when I take my morning run/walk. Last night’s dream was still bouncing around in my head as I ran, stirring up more ideas. I came in the house ready to get them on paper, because ideas don’t always stick around. I left the house with CD music playing, and when I walked in the door, a lyric I’d heard dozens of times, but never noticed, jumped out at me: “Ill hold you in my dreams.”

I will. I am.

**

I long to dream about my parents in a way that brings them back to me. Except for this morning’s dream, whenever they show up in my dreams, it’s always as if they never left, so there is no grand reunion. It’s just another day of my life with my parents in it, as if they were still alive.

Gail says she rarely dreams of them. I doubt she sleeps enough to dream. Suzanne says she dreams about them, but it is as if they never died. The most memorable one she had is that, after a long absence, they showed up, having moved to a nearby town. When she asked them if they were moving back, they said, “No, we like it here. We plan to stay.”

We all long to connect with them again in grand style in a dream. However, we don’t get to order one up as if we are ordering at a restaurant. I remember visiting with a friend who had lost his young son. He longed to dream about him, he said, because this was the only way he could see him again.

If only we could put that order in, and expect it to be filled.

**

I hope that not a single one of you can relate to this strong desire to connect to a lost loved one. I hope none of you have ever experienced a loss of a loved one. But I doubt that. I am guessing that each one of you has had to let go of a loved one at some point in your past. For that, I am so sorry.

If, perhaps, you have not felt this pain, or even if you have, and you want to discount any of these “signs”–the dreams, the dimes, the cardinals, please be my guest. I have no proof that they mean anything. There is no science to back this up. Yet, I believe. And, if it brings you peace, I hope you believe, too.

Sweet dreams, my friends.

LET THERE BE LIGHT–AND DARKNESS

LET THERE BE LIGHT–AND DARK

Today, December 20th, 2020, marks the second-shortest day of the year. Tomorrow, the winter solstice, will be the turning point and once again, sunshine will begin to prevail–even for just a minute more each day.

I long for longer days. I long for sunlight, and for sunshine whenever it decides to shine. I have lots of windows in my home, and I rarely close any blinds to keep the sun out. I lived in too many basements in college, and I am still making up for lost time.

But without these dark days–the short ones in December, the cloudy ones, and the time I spent living in basements, my appreciation for light wouldn’t be as great. In order to fully bask in the light, one must have spent some time in the dark. Without enduring the dark days devoid of joy that occur in everyone’s lives, we would take the light for granted.

It’s not.

***********

I didn’t decorate much for Christmas this year. Our nest is empty, there will be no gatherings here–or perhaps not anywhere in my family, and we gave our big Christmas tree to our son when he moved out.

Today, however, I decided to string a small string of battery-powered lights on a miniature tree. I love the light as I stated above, and Christmas lights bring me a special kind of joy.

Perhaps even more so than the standard Christmas lights, these had a mind of their own. I spent half an hour trying to unravel the tangled clot they showed up in, and it seemed just as I got one step ahead of the knots, I took two steps back. This fine wire had a mind of its own, and it nearly drove me out of mine.

After they got tangled up in my shoelace, I lost it. I uttered a few choice obscenities, and proceeded to haphazardly strangle the little tree with them. Having just watched Clark Griswold with his outdoor lights, I realized I must have looked just as funny as he did.

Except that I wasn’t trying to be funny. I’d had enough, and I let my frustration get the best of me. In that process, that surrendering self-control, I let the poor little tree have it, and then I paid the price.

One of my Jim Shore collectible Santas that was right next to the tree on the coffee table took the stray bullet, fell down and broke.

And then I broke.

Gail, Suzanne and I collect these treasures, as well as his other pieces. Dad used to buy them for Mom as gifts, and we have kept up the collecting. This wasn’t one of Mom’s, but it may as well have been, because I felt her there immediately. Both Mom and Dad were there, as a matter of fact.

The cardinal that Santa was holding broke off. And we all know what cardinals signify.

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I don’t need to remind you that this year has been one we all hope to simply survive, and move on to happier times. With a little grace, however, we can use these dark days to remind us what a gift light can be.

My prayer for you is that you have been, and continue to stay well, but we all know that any illness reminds us of the gift that good health is.

My hope for you is that the loved ones you may have lost are still with you for Christmas and every day, alive and well deep within your heart. The cardinal reminds us of that.

Longer days are always coming after the solstice; this is a promise that has never failed. Always.

My Santa can be repaired. I will glue the cardinal back on, and remember every time I look at him that acting out my frustration always gets me nowhere.

And I may even turn on the lights just as they are on my little tree, and remember how important laughter is, especially at myself.

*************

Gail, Suzanne and I may not be able to get together with our siblings and their families for Christmas like we always do, but no matter what, we are always together in spirit. Mom and Dad are there too, always, with or without a cardinal to remind us. These tough times will pass, and we will never take the gift of family gatherings for granted again, because they’re not.

May your Christmas be a reminder of love and light, no matter how you celebrate it.

Merry Christmas from Gail, Suzanne and Kathleen–the sisters of The Sister Lode. Last year’s Christmas picture will have to do. And–don’t forget to laugh!