Papa’s On My Mind

I’m always surprised when those who have crossed over visit me in my dreams. I don’t know why I’m surprised; it’s certainly happened enough to make me a believer. I think I’m more surprised that anyone who’s crossed over would take a precious minute to shout out to me. I mean, really, there must be more important ways for them to spend eternity, right?

Usually, it’s Tom, one of the partners at the law firm at which I worked for a gazillion years. He likes to kick my butt when I’m procrastinating — because he was the master procrastinator, himself, don’t ya’ know.

Monday was the seventh anniversary of the passing of my father-in-law, George, aka Dad, aka Papa. It was also my normal Monday with his wife, Mary Ellen, aka Mom, aka Grandma. (For new readers, whenever I speak of “Mom,” I am actually referring to this kind wise woman who has adopted me as one of her own. But I digress.)

Prince Charming’s sister had recently sent Mom this shirt, and one of the projects in process is to get a picture of each member of our family wearing said shirt and putting together a collage.

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Naturally, I was more concerned about Mom than usual, and glad the day fell on a day that I would spend with her rather than one of her other companions. She was actually in pretty good spirits (or at least was putting on a good face). I showed her all the love-activity on facebook in Dad’s memory (including pictures of Future Nurse and Tree wearing the “Papa” shirt), and towards the end of the evening we drank a toast to him, me using one of the Marine Corps glass mugs, of course, to hold my wine spritzer.

The room downstairs I sleep in each week is a shrine to Dad. I almost said, “…a shrine of sorts…” there, but let’s face it, it’s an actual shrine. The walls are devoted to each one of his special interests: John Wayne, the Marine Corps, RCA, the Church and, of course, family photos throughout.

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I am comforted when I sleep down there each week that he is still with us in spirit and memory.

So you may think then that I’ve dreamt of Dad often, sleeping amidst so many artifacts of him. Nope, never… until Monday night… and then it was not once, not twice, nope, not three times… FOUR dreams. I think it only stopped there because I almost didn’t go back to sleep after the fourth one.

Because every time I fell asleep, a blue-hazed (evil?) spirit was trying to suffocate and paralyze me. I had no idea who or what this spirit represented. I could only see that blue haze and feel my breath leave; I’d try to run but couldn’t move, a heaviness descending around me. With my last bit of air, I’d scream, “Papa, help!” Four times I screamed for help; four times the blue haze evaporated and I woke up.

Thanks, Dad. I may never figure out who/what that blue haze is, but I am reassured knowing you will always ever be just a scream away, “…that you’re waiting through the back roads, by the rivers of my memory, ever smiling, ever gentle on my mind.”

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