And so I cleaned your room, and washed your hands, and googled what part of the Bible people read in times like this, and honestly, as I read it out loud to you twice, I felt those words were lacking and wondered if everyone faked comfort from them or if my soul had died before yours had left.
I'd spent a week at that point bargaining with God and everyone who has left before us, and was fed up with the lot of them by then. I was actually no longer on speaking terms with God at all, we were co-workers wrapping up a final project before going our separate ways; I resented him for not pulling his weight and my stuff was already packed.
And as Ralph Stanley's, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot played, my mom and I watching the news and chatting around your bed, there was a shift in the room and I realized you were getting ready to go.
You left to one of my songs and not yours, and it was My God is Real by Krishna Das. A parting gift and solid reminder.
But the real parting gift was one more year.
I didn't tell anyone because I tried once or twice and got knocked down with, "Yeah, subconscious is weird," and realized it wasn't a shareable experience. I also didn't want anyone else to mourn that it wasn't happening to them -- I am either intuitive or highly imaginative. I knew my childhood best friend was going to have a baby before she did, because her father told me so in a dream. I have had an extra conversation or experience with every person I know who has passed.
But you came to me in a series of dreams. I once woke to you sitting serenely next to my bed while I slept, like I had for you.
I had an incredible experience walking through rolling green hills dotted with tiny charming houses full of everyone I had ever loved as boughs of pink flowers swayed overhead and rained down from the sky all around me, and as I wondered how on earth I could be experiencing such vivid beauty, there you were and we walked together.
And I even got the goodbye you couldn't give me in life.
On the eve before a one year memorial for you, I ran into you in my dream while I was out having lunch. I could see every pore on your nose and stray hair from your mustache and you looked like the old you, not the cancer you. I had forgotten what that looked like. I was freezing cold and you offered me a shirt and we walked to a truck that had two little boys waiting inside, in white t-shirts and cuffed blue jeans. They looked like you as a child, and I think they were your brothers who were lost in infancy. It was your dad's truck.
I begged you to stay, to stop by any time. I explained how if you couldn't find my house you could go to the yoga studio and they would call me. I asked you to come back for your shirt. I told you that my kids would love to see you. I outlined my daily schedule.
And you shook your head sadly, glancing away with wet eyes, and said, "I don't reckon I'll be back around this way again."
I realized then what was happening and that I wasn't awake, and asked for a hug. It felt empty and I knew you were slipping away, and I told you goodbye and that I was so glad to have seen you again.
And that was it. The last dream and my parting gift. And my proof that God is real.
I miss you, but the loss of you helped make a new me -- one with faith and perspective and the good kind of grit. You made me twice in a way.
And you brought me back to believing in Something Else, and I can't wait to see you there.
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turning our way
And our way
Is on the road again