I dreamed of John last night
As hotdogs on the fire we cooked
And ate with buns all loaded up
With condiments so sweet.
Those kindly eyes, soft gentle smile,
As smoke eddied round the laughter
And the joy of kids at picnic time
Those lazy summer days of times gone by.
We cooked and ate till last was gone
And stuffed we were while children run
And play their games of sweet delight
So real it was, such strong delight.
As round the corner of the house
We went at last to end the day
I turned to Fraser – quiet said,
‘He’s dead, though, right?’
‘I mean, this is not real,
Though real it seems, with
Vividness and steady streams
Of warmth and kindness in our hearts
Of days gone by and tender
Hearts – and love – and
Laughter in our
Days – before
He did not answer me at first
But with that smile of his
That burst the bubble gentle-like –
Let me awake to morning light
That steals in through
The lattice here at
Son’s apartment place
So dear –
What gift divine you’ve given to me
Lord, just this one more time to see
And feel his presence there this way
Since his soft visage passed away
So long ago I scarce recall
His loving presence midst
Those were such precious times those days
When all we did was laugh and play
Until the time for setting sun
When all our daily work was done.
Lord thank you for his life with us
Those precious days with little fuss
The precious memories deep inside
Which layers of time conspire to hide
But which in unimpeded glee
Burst forth again, free as can be.
I know my death for others will
To others’ memories fade until
They too, some unexpected morning rise
Fresh memories for them ex’cised…
The feeling all in end will be
‘OK for you and family’
Has left assurance deep in me
As well for John and me – you see.
That kindly time assurance brings
As time of crisis round me rings
Though quieter now this time around
My heart with anguish deep I’ve found.
Lord as I greet each passing day
Help me to live his gentle way
Not his, of course, I mean to say
But just as comely, my own way.
May his concern for people too,
His easy gate, and fooling you
With tricks and jokes and lots of fun
As round the house we’d chase and run
The squealed delight of both our kids
As April-fool-time pranks they hid
To catch us all quite unawares
Then chases wild up down the stairs
Yes quiet moments, smilingly
And laughter’s wild outrageous glee –
The counterparts of life so sad
Cut short by sickness that he had.
Sometimes the pain we push aside
Then find the good we also hide
Which leaves us here bereft of those
Who filled our lives, ’fore they arose –
And left behind us here to stay
And live our lives another day.
But memory serves us well I see
To give us dreams where we can be –
With loved ones gone from us ahead
Wrenched from our lives – so strange when dead
They’re lying there, although not there
Just face, and hands, and combed-back hair.
Gone from their visage – joy and fun
As on those days back in the sun
When we ate hot dogs, laughed and spoke
As in my dream – ’fore I awoke.
And so I ask, ‘Why this dream now?’
Ah, Yes, I see connections now –
New heart and lungs at death he had
And now my lungs are also bad.
These traumas deep connected be
In ways unseen to you and me
Yet at such times rise to the top
So their sad work in us can stop.