I had a dream in the wee hours of the morning this morning. It was a beautiful dream, one that had me weeping for real. I don't believe it was just a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in my mind during a certain stage of sleep. I believe this dream was a gift, from God, and my father-in-law too. I was so moved by this dream and I shared it with Shawn before he left for work this morning and he suggested that I write it down. I don't have a journal these days but this is like a journal for me so I figured it was the best place to "write" down this dream before the memories begin to fade away.
In my dream Shawn and I were at his Mom's apartment, it was just the three of us, no kiddos there running around to bug Uncle Jeff, or to chase away from unsuspecting plants. We were sitting on the couch talking when all of sudden my mother-in-law looked up and gasped and said "Bob?!". Shawn and I looked up startled and saw him standing there in front of us. He looked like his old self again. Filled out, bearded with salt and pepper hairs with those dimples of his that my son inherited when he smiled.
When my father-in-law, Bob, was ill, a few months before he passed away he grew extremely thin and frail and shaved off his beard and rarely smiled.
Bob smiled and said "Well yes Sue, of course it's me". She was so shocked that words escaped her as she stared in disbelief. Suddenly we all realized that he didn't realize he had passed away. He went into the kitchen and got the keys to his truck, Paw Paw's monster truck as we all liked to call it. When he came back into the living room Sue said "Honey where are you going?" He responded, " I have a few errands to run and then I was going to get the mail." Sue looked at Shawn and asked if she should tell him, Shawn said he thought she should. So Sue looked at him lovingly and said "Bob, honey, you know I love you and I'm so glad you're here right now, but..." Suddenly realization washed over Bob's face. "I know, Sue, it's okay, I just forgot, things got a little confusing on my way here." With that she stood up and hugged him and Shawn and I followed her, tears streaming down our faces. How, why, what is going on all came tumbling out of our mouths. He said "Sue, I saw him you know. It's amazing there, words cannot begin to describe what I saw. But the Lord told me I needed to come back here to let you all know I'm okay, that I'm more then okay, I'm whole again, nothing hurts, there is no more struggle for me now, I have peace. And he wanted me to share with you the truth" Sue wanted to know how long he had here and he told her not too long but long enough. With that we all decided to spend some time visiting outside where this family spent much of their time together. Shawn went to get the phone to call his brothers and Bob came over to me and put his arm around me and said something about being sorry he didn't reach out to me while he was here.
My father-in-law was never a very emotional man and I never felt that loving father feeling from him, I often felt kept at a distance.
He put his arm around me and said " You know I love you, right?" I said " Yes and I love you too"
It was so emotional for me to hear that, I cannot relive that scene in my dream without welling up with tears.
We went on to visit for several hours, each of the boys spending some time with him doing different things, I didn't get to see what, but he went for a walk on a trail with Shawn and I. I walked ahead so Shawn and his Dad could have some time together just the two of them. I knew that Bob would be giving him some wonderful wisdom and I thought it should be done without me. Later in the day we were all outside under the shade of some trees with a group of strangers when all of sudden I realized that we were saying Mass. Shawn's Mom and Dad who had long since left the Catholic church and Shawn's brothers who were all in very different places with their faith and belief in God. There was no priest saying this Mass, Shawn's father was with us in the crowd but was leading all of the prayers, we all were looking up toward God. Shawn and I looked at each other stunned and then that look of realization washed over our faces this time. This is where we were suppose to be, this was the truth.
For this to be a part of this dream was actually quite stunning to me as Shawn's father often preached against churches in general but even more specifically against the Catholic church. Shawn and I often find ourselves questioning and wondering about teachings and practices in the Catholic church and I have been praying for some time that God show me the "Truth".
We had the Eucharist and concluded Mass. My dream skipped to another scene, outside of Sue and Bob's apartment. "It's time", Bob said. Sue began to cry and Bob wrapped her in his arms and said to her, " Sue, it's going to be okay, you are going to be okay. I will always be looking down on you and you will not be alone, you have our boys and their families. You are surrounded by love. One day you will see me again." Not long after that we all said our goodbyes and then Josh, the oldest son, walked Bob up the hill past their apartment and he disappeared into the air.
I woke up after that and laid in bed with my eyes closed savoring the memory of the dream. I have never had a dream about a family member that has passed away nor have I had a dream so vivid and so full of emotion. It was a beautiful gift, one that I will never forget.