I woke this morning to a flock of gold finches decorating the sea-glass tree outside my writing room window. (The tree’s not made of glass. It’s an ancient oak. I’ve hung multi-colored bits of sea-glass from it’s branches to catch the sun’s rays.) I woke from a dream about John, and it took me several seconds to realize that the dream was a dream.
Since those first morning minutes of thinking that he needed me to pop right up out of bed and go to him, I’ve been pondering what the dream means. It had something to do with the Weber family reunion. I flew home from Denver yesterday. But in the dream I was still there. In the dream I was about to go to town with nieces Lisa and Diane when I remembered that I hadn’t called John during the entire three days of the reunion. They continued down a path through the woods while I borrowed nephew Jim’s cell phone. It was very high tech as phones go, and he needed to show me how to use it. (This is pretty humorous--for those of you who don’t know Jim--as he could well be the most high-tech person in the family. I guess I must be impressed by that.) John answered and he needed me. It was his heart. During the reunion something had happened to his heart. I ran up the hill to the car so I could go to him immediately. That was the moment of awakening and springing out of bed to go to him, only slowly realizing that it was a dream.
If you’ve been following this chronicle, then you may remember that John’s brother Dale died almost exactly one year ago. Afterwards his wife, Donna, told me that it was so hard to come back from a trip to the house where Dale had been so vital and present and which now is silent. Maybe there’s a clue to my dream in Donna’s experience.
The family reunion filled me with life and so much love for the Weber’s. Reflecting back on the experience, I think I found John everywhere--little reflections of him in everyone. And I also felt the strength of him inside me--meeting everyone as not simply “me,” but as both of us in one. It’s only in retrospect that I’m interpreting my feelings this way. During the time in Denver I simply felt absorbed in family, happy with family, in love with each family member. There have been many wonderful reunions, but never before have I felt such a strong sense of belonging.
There, in the family, John is alive. He is so alive, it is as though he’d never been sick. Did I forget for three days that he’d been sick and had died? Something in me did forget--as in the dream. For three days I didn’t call up in my mind the illness and pain that can so haunt me. People asked me over and over how I was doing--and what could I say? I felt completely WONDERFUL!
During my sleep last night, lying in our bed where John used to lie--in HIS spot, not my own--my deep mind remembered. Yes, we let the ashes of the three brothers--John, Dale and George--mingle with the wind and the waters and rose petals. We spoke beautiful words. We sang songs. We laughed and loved and cried some. But something in me still thinks I need to go to him, still remembers the suffering. It’s a matter of the heart, the heart’s passion. “Something happened to his heart,” said my dream. A paradox happened. “Death and life in a strange conflict strove,” we used to sing on Easter. “The Prince of Life who died now lives and reigns.” Life does not permit me to forget either side of the paradox. Maybe I do forget for a moment, for three days -- but the love is most whole when the opposites are reconciled.
The gold finches fly past my window and light again on the branches of the sea-glass tree. I do need to go to him, don’t I? Every moment that is where I’m headed. The dream is true. Something has happened to his heart. Something healing, something whole. Nephew, Mark, also had a dream. May I tell it, Mark? It is so beautiful, I must tell it: John came to him--young, smiling, strong. They talked. How are you doing? Mark asked John. “April--that was a hard month.” John said. “But I’m past all that now. I’m feeling fine.”