There was a time in my life when my choice of reading material focused on the paranormal. Many books about hauntings and dream decoding graced the shelves of my bookcase. The medicine I take on a nightly basis has always put me into a deep sleep and every night I have lengthy, vivid dreams that I distinctly remember every morning when I wake up. It is for this reason that the books about dream interpretation were of particular interest to me. Having vivid dreams each and every night makes it fun to go to sleep. What will I dream about tonight? Many images in my dreams are recurring and probably mean something, but are too weird to even begin to look up in a dream dictionary. What could it possibly mean when my teeth fall out in a dream, or that no matter how hard I slam on the brakes in my car, it won’t stop completely? While I am always curious about the possibility of a deeper meaning to all the various scenes that run through my dreams, I am aware that they are just dreams. Sometimes it’s obvious that what I dreamt about was connected to something random I watched on television that night. But what I will not dismiss, are the dreams about my grandfather. He died when I was a senior in high school and not long after his death, I began to have dreams about him. In my dreams, that I still have to this day, he is alive and well–however, I am always confused when I see him because I know that he is supposed to be dead. It always appears that I am the only one who is cognizant of the fact that he shouldn’t be alive. From the very first time I dreamt of him, I have always felt happy and content upon waking up. In one of my ‘new age’ books, a psychic medium theorizes that when we sleep, our souls connect to other souls in heaven on a different level. Whether that is true or not, or whether I even believe it, I do know that there has to be a significance to the dreams about my grandpa. I’d like to believe that he really is communicating with me; letting me know that he is o.k. and that perhaps he’s thinking about me.
In a way, it’s odd to be dreaming of him because I was never all that close to him. My parents and I visited him and my grandmother in Florida many, many times, and yet, I never really talked to him. I knew things about him…he was very humorous and loved being funny. His hobbies included reading, listening to classical music, and looking at pretty ladies, whether in real life or in the adult movies he collected. Christmas was his favorite holiday–one that he began decorating for immediately after Halloween. He had a passion for painting, writing, and collecting anything related to trains. Though I knew these things about him, I also knew that he wasn’t much for conversation. This made it difficult when my parents took me down to their house to stay for two weeks one summer. My grandmother often sent him and I to various places together while she did volunteer work–a water park, a beach that could only be accessed by boat, the community pool. I felt so awkward around him when we went to those places and I desperately just wanted to stay at their house and read. My introvertedness made it difficult for me to talk to him. He never seemed to mind though.
One night around the dinner table on that trip is one that I will not ever forget. The three of us were discussing something along the lines of what I wanted to be when I grew up. The standard question that every adult asks a young person at some point or another. I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher, there was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted to do that. When that was my answer to their question, my grandpa looked disgusted and said that I didn’t really want to do that because I wouldn’t get paid very much. I felt a little let down by his response. I knew he wanted me to be a writer, as it was my dream when I was much younger. By high school, I knew that making a living as a writer would not be very easy. Surely my grandpa could understand that. It wasn’t long after this conversation that I decided I would be a teacher with a writing career on the side, which would fulfill my dream and honor my grandpa at the same time. While I am not a famous author, and probably never will be, my blog is satisfying enough.
Those 2 weeks in Florida were certainly not the last time I spent with my grandpa. There would be a handful of other opportunities to visit with him and my grandma. I’d like to say that before he died I was able to finally make a connection with him through conversation, but I never did. The connection I did finally make with him was ironically, through my writing. I mentioned that he loved Christmas–this is a gross understatement of his true affection for the holiday. A newspaper article was even written about his decorations, particularly the Christmas village he set up in the back half of their house each year. When I was in the 11th grade, he asked me to write a story for him about that village. He wanted it to be about the village coming to life. I obliged his request and my grandmother told me that he had tears in his eyes as he read my story. It wasn’t long after that I realized he was a writer too. He often sent me poems he had written. I was never sure if he wanted to know my opinion of them or if I was to just enjoy them. I never found out. He died not long before I graduated from high school.
And now, 15 years after his death, I am perplexed by his appearance in so many of my dreams. So many questions come to my mind about the reason he is appearing to me. The funny thing is, in my dreams, he never talks. Not once have I ever had a dream where he talked to me or anybody else. He just smiles. I don’t have much experience with death. There are only two other members of my family who I was somewhat close to that have ever died. I have never dreamt of either one of them. It scares me that they haven’t appeared. Their deaths were the result of suicide. It saddens me to think that they might not be in the same place as my grandfather. Of course, it won’t be in this life that I find the answers to all my questions. As I tell my students during my religion classes, we might not ever know the answers to all that we question–even in the life after this. While I’m waiting to see if I am telling those kids the truth about their inquiries, I will go to sleep every night hoping for a visit from the man that I hope is proud of me, even though my profession is not one he would have chosen. I hope that in some way, the little writing that I get to do will show him that I haven’t given up on that one spark of a connection we had during the last few months of his life.