I usually stick to Art talk on my blog, but I do occasionally wander off into the weeds and write something personal. Some days I’m just getting up on a soap box. Sometimes I’m pimping my fellow creatives. Today is different. Today is very personal. I’ve been holding this in for a few weeks and have only told a handful of people because I’m still not 100% sure about it myself.
Many of my friends already know that my family lost our beloved Aunt Jo several weeks back. I posted my version of a eulogy on my FB page expressing not only her importance to me personally, but her importance to all of us. Here it is:
So that’s that. My Aunt Jo died this morning. It did not come as a surprise. For what it’s worth she had been gone for a while. As many of us know, Death can be a release for all involved.
I loved her dearly. She understood me when others didn’t. She helped me to see places and know about things that may have been forever at arm’s length to me. She had given me a place to live rent-free when the loss of a job had sent me across the state to find a new home for my family.
She was a good housemate. She loved her 2 cats and her dog. They were her constant companions. The cats and I had a friendly understanding. I did not love her dog. We ate bleu cheese with crackers, watched CSI and talked/debated/argued until 2am. I was afraid to ride with her in the car. Anyone who knew her felt the same. She could be funny as hell. She was a strong, fiercely independent woman. In the end though her mind left her. The cares of society weighed on her with increasing intensity leaving her feeling that the world was crumbling around her. Her memories fled. Dementia’s a bitch, kids. She had to lean heavily on her siblings to care for her as her mind and body failed. It was very hard on them all. I am intensely angry about the way it had to happen. I know there is nothing to be done about it. It is my shame that I was not there for her as I should have been in the end.
I know that her suffering has ended. She can finally be at peace.
Save your prayers and good thoughts. Keep them and use them on your own families and friends. Call them. Talk to them. Hold them close. In the end that’s really all we’ve got.
On the tail end of a family road trip mid-August during a stopover in Indianapolis I woke up in tears from a dream. Not something I normally do. Truth be told I don’t think I’ve ever done that… ever. They weren’t tears born of sadness, but from an overwhelming flood of joy. You see I had a visitation. My dream as it began was not all that interesting as dreams go. I do remember some bits and pieces: A border collie (no idea), some people at a party, lots of noise. Then something changed. It was as if someone had hit PAUSE on the dream itself. The action stopped. Everything was frozen in place and there was silence. Then I heard a voice. The voice of my Aunt Jo with her standard greeting of, “Hiya, Kiddo!”. I turned and there she was as she had been in her younger life. She was practically beaming. She came to me, embraced me and picked me up off the ground. Something she could have never done in life. She set me down, laughed, and said, “I just wanted to let you know that I’m better now. I’m OK. I love you! Gotta run”. And with that I woke up: tears in my eyes and out of breath. I’d never had an experience like that in my life.
For those of you who know me personally you know that I grew up in a very religious household (Southern Baptist). These days, after years of agnosticism, I’m not so sure about what happens when you die. I guess I’m of the opinion that energy is never destroyed, but just changes forms. We exchange electrons with everyone and everything we come in contact with. That exchange has got to leave some sort of imprint on us… I’d like to think perhaps there was enough of her left with me to give me that relief I’d been seeking since her death. You see I don’t feel like I ever properly mourned her loss.
Maybe it was my own subconscious sense of self-preservation sending me a much-needed boost to alleviate my feelings of shame for not being there for her at the end.
Maybe it’s just because the subject of her decline and demise had come up a few days earlier.
Maybe she really did come to me to comfort me in the only way currently available to her.
Who can say for sure?
That’s dreams for you.