{a message from my dead father}

Jumbles of words wake me up; clotting in me.  My body resists waking for it’s much too early.  This is my day-to-day litmus test.  How bad? Long before dawn, I am scanning for the gravity of my depression. I have always eavesdropped on myself in this way.

Somehow the heart knows, even if one has learned to shut it up, even when we deny it or work diligently to be fine in the daytime. But while asleep the soul’s true confession takes hold and those few moments before waking are clear.

The words woke me.  I need paper, pen. I am remembering Dad, how he held on to say goodbyes and even give us time to make amends.

What amends does mother need and with whom?  I push through cobwebs of my dream world; the sentience all but gone.

What were you saying, Daddy?

My daily reading in Bishop Edmond Lee Browning in A Year of Days says that we remember the dead, miss them, because we love them.

“This energy between us, the energy we call love is eternal. The soul is made of it, and it is set free from the compromises and disappointments we experience…” And, then, “They are now perfected, made entirely of the love we shared on earth and continue to share.”

It is difficult for me to imagine.

Tonya, me, Paula, and Holly with my father (L to R) in 1976.

I was a little girl longing for peace. I became invisible, on purpose. I was hoping it would help them. I disappeared into the fog, lost, alone, afraid of every turn.  Courage only came from him.  When he pushed.

I thought by disappearing I could make things better.

Recently, I have remembered frequently that day of waiting.  The endless wait to discover – would he die? Brain cancer was a death sentence and all I felt was glee, a dizzying freedom. I pierced my nose.

Silly, but somehow this marked the hour I started living. Soon I wouldn’t have to fear his

His recrimination,

disappointments

anger, even

rage.

His control and power. Her fear, his constant

pushing.

Soon he would be dead and we could live. I was glad.

In those murky, cotton filled minutes, the in-between of sleep and waking, my father was with me.

He was perfected, finally fully loved.  There was nothing to fear.

And he is gone again, but there’s a fragment here, he left for me.

It’s something we need.

He’s waiting for her, but he knows she needs more time.
…………

We’re all going to die.

My mother isn’t any closer to death than many older adults, but I realize as we face uncertainties that there are things that need finishing when you are married to a cruel, controlling megalomaniac, it is damaging to say the least.

As I sit here contemplating this visit from my father, I know full well it wasn’t really him actually visiting me in my dreams.  Perhaps my subconscious knows there are things that I can do to help my family bring needed closure, healing, last words, even forgiveness – I don’t know.

I remain open.

When my father was ill, I read a powerful and important book, Final Gifts, written by hospice nurses Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley. I learned a lot from their intimate experiences with patients at the end of life. It shaped me profoundly. I saw him hold on for certain goodbyes.  I saw him waiting for particular conversations.  And finally, I saw him go when he felt finished.

My father is a part of me.  He made me into what I am.

I stopped living out of fear and now I know I have to begin again.

I hope that I am not one of the Crazies.

the Stainned Gless of depicting the Holy Spirit.
Image via Wikipedia

I wake from a recurrent dream.  It unsettles me.  Always

in slumber I am Searching for meaning

to life.  For love,

taking on many forms.  Assurance

of the illusive, improbable God to talk. To me.  Give me some sign.

Speak my LORD, won’t you?  Prove [again] that you are real.

Shake the heavens —   Flood the earth– Heal the sick — Give sight to the blind, yes sight for me.  Today.

I feel ashamed of my doubts.  Fear

that religion is some celestial apothecary, erected by the weak in our need

to silence our spiritual afflictions.  A contrivance.

And yet that very Truth that I seek is a need — So exacting.

Out of my heart comes my deepest longing for God, meaning, Truth. How do I sometimes know

so clearly, so absolutely?  And other days I feel a universal, colossal Absence. And I am terrified

of the possibility — Are the heavens vacant?

Ashamed

of my heart, so quick to Doubt — Demand — Need.

So many crazies,  I do not want to be one of them. I want Knowledge.  I Seek Truth.

I Seek absolution and forgiveness.

I Need reassurance that our buildings, our rhetoric, our activities aren’t simply tokens

of our need.

Anne Rice rejects

the bricks and mortar of faith — Stepping

away from judgment and scorn to something else.

A Floridian pastor chatters hollowly about prayer for God’s will to burn a Holy Book, taking a civic stance

against America’s “enemies.” A lesbian cleric challenges us to love our enemies, meaning her.

I try to stay open, loving, faithful — and some challenge the very core of my faith.

Absolutes come with human judgment.  Scriptures wrongly translated

and easily misunderstood.  For thousands of years Men

have held their power over women, crushing spirits, and then questioning

our faith when we stand up against this treatment.

Why would a loving God not give me complete access and authority?

Why would a loving God not accept the prayers of gays and lesbians, dear faithful people

seeking Truth as much as me?  Why do Absolutes bring judgment and misunderstanding, when put in the hands of misguided men and women?

Thank you, but I’ll take my doubts and questions to scripture.  I’ll stumble my way through original meaning, cultural influences and climate.  I’ll implore the mystical and Holy Spirit of God.  [who on most days I know is active and real]

to teach me, a Woman, but also forgiven

sinner first before a sexual being.  Teach me, I am humanity

with desires and longings unfulfilled over a lifetime.  Teach me, I am humbled.

And I fall prostrate and hope that I am not one of the Crazies.

That God hears Me.

** I use the term “Crazy”  for the lunatic fringe.

Dreams.

I had the strangest dream last night.  I woke up believing that my Dad had just died. In my dream I received a phone call saying: “Your father just passed away.”  And I was so confused.  I couldn’t figure out what the woman on the other end of the phone was talking about.

I kept thinking Dad just died?  That means he’s been alone all these years. I felt so sad.  Because I didn’t know that he was still alive, somewhere, sick and alone.

I still feel sad, though I know that it isn’t true, it is like I’m losing him all over again.

What does this dream say about me?

My dad has been gone, dead, for five and a half years.  He started showing signs that something was wrong right about this time of year; my mom and dad had just paid us a visit.  It wasn’t a particularly good visit. He was on his laptop the whole time. And he was acting really strange during that trip.  Grumpy, even angry and even at times mean. (More than usual people!)

And then he was actually diagnosed with the brain tumors, Dec. 1st, 03.

It’s amazing how a dream, no matter how untrue it is, can linger with you. It sits with you like a stomach ache. All day today, I couldn’t shake this sad feeling that Dad has been alone for the last five years — sick and alone — and I didn’t know.

Weird.