Memories of Death

Here I subject dreams on the first year anniversary of my father’s death to the plot of narrative:

In my dreams, I walked down the street with a group of strangers, and we glimpse a tidal wave and scream. I pinch the waist of a woman and apologize. We brace ourselves to be swallowed up by crashing waves, but somehow the waves stop short and when we turn around I shout “Look at the beautiful stingrays and they fall from the sky raining down, not hitting any of us to our surprise. Then robot humans descend and step out of their costumes; again we scream with gratefulness–our saviors. A castle appears, opens its doors and we wonder, was this all a hoax to get us to enter this carnival of delights? Or had the tidal wave been real? We were just lucky to have survived and the men in costumes just so happened to arrive–serendipitously–so that the near tragedy of death by tidal wave could be transformed from to fancy simply by coinciding with the sudden appearance of a castle from the sky?

*

Music with hard drum beats and rapid rhythms plays while we hastily clean out Papa’s house now that the morgue has taken his body away.

Soft lilting melodies (like the Titanic theme) play when we are sorrowful, when we weep in our own way in solitude.

*

Mind summons intellect to project structure and story onto the chaos of dream and memory, unlike animals who live in the present and care nothing for past and future. We humans categorize and fit events into calendar time, but memory and dream do not play by the rules, so… today on the first calendar year anniversary of Papa’s dying, I do not grieve the way I expected to. I did yesterday unexpectedly on the drive to work remembering lucidly: the early morning hours when I and the hospice stranger look after my comatose father and waited for the oxygen machine to stop torturing with its oppressive rhythmic sound. And of course it did, upon Papa’s last breath. I wish for happier memories to rain down like the stingrays, jellyfish, and angel-like machines of my chaotic, splendid dream.

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