The Ways She Speaks

Most of the time I see my sister in my waking moments – she always comes to me as a hawk. On September 30, 2014, as I was getting ready for work, the dream I had the night before came back to me in a rush of memory. It was one of the most vivid dreams I have ever had, and, although it is very rare for me to remember even pieces of a dream, I recalled this one entire:

Having wandered into a sparsely occupied coffee shop, I sat at a table and wondered what to order. I looked up and saw a young woman wearing bell bottom jeans and a plaid shirt walk casually in the door. She took a seat at the larger table next to mine; her face had a troubled look. Her long, dark brown hair had been tucked back behind her ears. A double-take later I realized it was her. I thought, “You can’t be here – you’re dead!

Some friends of hers I did not recognize trickled in, filling up the empty seats around the table she had chosen. An animated conversation about life and God ensued. Fascinated, I could not take my eyes off her, so I just sat, watched, and listened. I was mesmerized by her presence with me in the room. I resisted the urge to interrupt, to tell her how much I miss her. Besides, I had the distinct impression that she would not have heard me had I attempted to speak.

The veracity of the New Testament was the subject of the discussion, and she patiently explained her understanding of the texts about Jesus’ death and resurrection. The young man sitting nearest her commented, “You don’t really believe that stuff, do you?” In a calm voice, she said simply, “Of course I do.” I got the sense from her statement that she was talking about something more definitive than faith or belief, more like knowing. It dawned on me that now she sees and knows clearly, even as she has always been seen and known. For her, there are no doubts or uncertainties, only Truth and love – oh, so much love.

I wanted nothing more than to stay there in that room, watching her, listening to her voice. Having a dream like that helps heal the scar; waking from a dream like that leaves a new one.

~ ~ ~

On New Year’s Eve, 2014, I drove home watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen since I lived in Hawaii: IMG_1217

I thought again about the movie, What Dreams May Come and Robin Williams’s dip in paint. My sister adored color, and since she left this world, she sees color like never before. That night she showed it to me; a little preview, if you will. She painted me a sunset that one day we will swim in together. I remembered one time we were at the beach, and I asked her to draw the ocean for me. She did, but wouldn’t let me have the drawing – she didn’t think she had gotten the waves or the light quite right. The splash of color across the twilit sky that New Year’s Eve told me that she’s got it right, now; but then, I thought the waves and light in her beach drawing had been perfection itself. The artist never seems able to appreciate their own brilliance.

~ ~ ~

For many years I have seen a house sitting on the edge of a cliff, waiting for me. There is an ocean on one side and a garden filled with every kind of flower on the other. Now that she is gone, I see her there, tending the garden, anticipating my arrival. I should have known it would be her garden – I always had a black thumb, when it came right down to it.

Now that I let myself daydream about my nearer future, I can see my bed and breakfast and myself tending the garden outside. In that place, I feel her with me as a tangible presence. Unexpectedly, a hawk swoops by, and I smile.

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