Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Dream and the Persistence of Grief

You think it is final. You think all that is over and done with, fine linen stained with tears put away in a drawer. And then a morning dream. We seem to be somewhere with a countertop. It might even be a bar, but there is no drinking, no smoke, no sounds. It seems bottles might be arrayed in the background, in front of a mirror. It is a dream, so one never know, afterwards. It is Richard, my older brother. The cancer was discovered in August of 2005, just after we got back from camp, as we did yesterday. The course was rapid. The light, what little there is, is dusty, no not dusty, more like dusky but gray. A clear gray if that is imaginable. Richard is wearing a gray suit. How do I know it is him? I see his face. There are no words. We embrace. I sob uncontrollably hard. We hug tightly. My ample tears fall on his neck and shoulder. The moisture seeps through the padded fabric of his suit.

I awake sad.

In halting and fractured terms, I tell my wife of this dream, knowing full well how inadequate my description is. She says something about my love for him or me for him, that he is trying to tell me something from there. I don't know if I believe that. I don't find it especially reassuring. I tell her I am sad, it was sad.

I stop and think that Mom and Beverly and Laurie, for all I know, have had such dreams countless times. I will not ask them.

We go to church, first time together in months. I was going to go to nearby Saint Mark's, on the west side; she had already left for Saint David's. I changed my mind and showed up, in the middle of the sermon, at Saint David's, on the east side, the suburbs. She said yesterday was her dead father's birthday. At the prayers for the dead I couldn't get the words out and tried to make no show of what my eyes were doing.

She pointed to the bulletin, to the first reading, which I had missed, from Genesis. She pointed to the bottom of the passage, an excerpt about Joseph, in exile in Egypt.

Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

In the mail that had accumulated in our absence, a large envelope package, from my brother Bobby. A luscious coffee-table book, Baseball As America.

Beth and I went to a minor-league game last night, before the dream, with Steve and Steve and Ed. Beth and I left before the fireworks.

Today I wonder if Jack is back from Chicago.

And marvel at how three surviving brothers can skirt this grief of many colors.

1 comment:

Patti said...

This is beautifully written, PK. I feel your sadness.