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
                                       His parting
                                            Time’ –

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
                              Us all.

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.