dreams of the departed

by erinohsays

I’ve had dreams every night for the last few weeks about the people in my family who have passed away in the last year. My paternal Nana Evelyn Flint, my paternal Granddad Walter Flint, my maternal Grandma Margaret O. Smith, and my Uncle Danny.

In each dream, I am in my childhood home in Pittsburgh and my departed relative pays me an unexpected visit. Last night I dreamt of my Uncle Danny, who was injured in a motorcycle accident when he was younger. In my dream, he rode up to my house on his motorcycle, wearing a leather jacket, and with jet black hair. I said, “Uncle Danny, you look so young.” And he said, “I am young.  I’m just going for a ride around the block. Want to come?”

I also dreamt of my Granddad last night, who was a giant, quiet man with a beautiful mop of thick white hair. He walked into the doorway of my childhood living room and stood with his hands in his pockets, as he often did. His blue eyes were particularly blue. I said to him, “Granddad, what are you doing here?” And he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled. My Nana appeared by his side, clutching her purse in one arm, and linking the other arm in Granddad’s. Confused, I looked at her, searching for the right question to ask, and she said simply, “We’re only here for a bit longer. We just need to make a few more visits before we leave.”

In the last few years of her life, my Grandma often said to me, “Why on earth does God still want me to be alive? What purpose am I serving?” I was never quite sure how to respond to this question, and told her that her family loved her very much and that her role was to keep us together. I dreamt recently of playing card games with her at her kitchen table, as I used to do when I was a child and lived with her. Our favourite games were “Michigan Slum” and playing solitaire side by side. Her decks of cards were always sticky and speckled with spots of cigarette ash and crumbs of food. The plastic floral table cloth of the kitchen table spotted with cigarette burns and splashes of coffee.