I have this knack for missing the everything that’s still here.
Like when I was younger, I’d write my father’s obituary in my head. He’s a lovely guy, and really, it was a lovely obituary. Or obituaries? I’ve written several and have stacked them within the soft recesses of my brain.
The now is always the thing I’ll miss most.
Like last night, that dream. There my husband and I were meandering in a place I’ve never been before. He had the zippable, fold-up picnic blanket in his hand that I bought a few years ago from Wal-Mart. I bought the gray and black and red checkered one, the only one available. And then the following year they came out with the cutest blue and white pattern as if somebody in corporate was trying to stick it to me. Regardless, there it was in his dream hand, patting the side of his dream leg as we were trying to find a place to sit and hold each other.
We never found a place to sit down. Instead, I had sharp snippets of memory during this dream where I remembered our dead dog. And it was almost like we were on a grief walk, passing a concrete drainage ditch where two young hikers, mere boys, were trying to enter through a steel door, and one of them looked up, clueless as to where they were. And I had that all knowing feeling in my chest, “This is So-And-So-Ville” as if I knew it so well, I owned a piece of it and carried it in my left ventricle. We continued on, and the snippets sharpened, and there my dog was in my dream’s dream hands and she was almost the same as when the real me knew every inch of the real her. I think that’s what I learned. That I don’t really remember her so well anymore.
As we walked on, and the sharp snippets dulled a bit, there was a portion of the walk where we caught up with some children. My daughter was one of them. I looked back over my shoulder, and she was meandering and looping through the crowd, trying to find the group she originally came with. She ended up with another group because she had friends in this one, too. One of the neighbor girls walked with her. I smiled and turned back because her path was different than mine. A loose balloon, that one. Sometimes I grab the string and tug, and then other times I realize my hand is empty.
My husband and I kept walking as I imagine my daughter had floated off with her friends. I remember we kept looking around, trying to find the best spot to sit down and sit still together. We couldn’t find a spot. So we agreed to go back to the starting place, home base, which happened to be built on top of a tree.
I’m not good at dreams, deciphering them I mean. I’m hardly good at fully understanding consciousness. I had this great calling once to follow Jesus, and here I am on this path looking as clueless as that dream hiker kid. I look around, and just like in my subconscious mind, my dog is still dead. And my daughter has gone off with the neighbor kids, racing their bikes and picking onion grass from the lawns of the homeowners up and down our street. She has this grand plan to sell it right back to them. And my husband? He’s in his office, and sometimes he comes out and grabs my hand, and we walk around the stamped outline of seventeen hundred and thirty-nine square feet, just trying to find a place to rest.
And Jesus? He still loves me, at least that’s what I’ve been told.
I greatly hope He knows what He’s doing.