Nov 9, 2011

Souls That Visit Us at Night

So it's the end of a long day and you are finally getting cozy in bed. By the dim light of a lamp, you read a few pages of a book you never seem to finish and the need for sleep overwhelms you. The light goes off and there you are staring at the ceiling.

Darkness. It conjures up thoughts and images we manage to avoid or ignore in the light.

I find that right there in that very moment, I think of those who have passed on from this life and left me with my heart in my hand missing them always. I wonder where they've gone in the afterlife. I close my eyes and I see their faces. Memories rush through my brain turning the cog wheel at such a constant, powerful pace that my heart starts to beat faster. I force myself to remember the good times when they were healthy,vibrant, laughing the way they laughed and very much a part of life in its entirety and a part of me.

I think of my Grandfather who fought in two world wars, traveled the world, a painter, a sculptor and a pharmacist by profession (having attained graduate degrees and lectured up until the age of 94).

I remember him saving to pay my airfare so I could come visit him in Florida at Christmas break. I remember him adopting a dog because at the time we weren't allowed to have one. I remember him taking us on outings so my parents could have some time to themselves. We'd pack a picnic lunch and go hiking, boating or just for a drive to the nearest flea market. I also remember the last year of his life. He had to be moved into a long term healthcare facility after a stroke left him incapacitated, his independence gone. Then his last remaining friend who also had been his best friend for over two decades died suddenly.I think at that point, no longer able to paint or sculpt, or teach or simply be free to go about his way; he stopped fighting the illness that was dragging him down and he died at 2AM without us ever getting to say goodbye.

I remember my Grandmother struggling to hold on to her dignity and pride as she suffered from Multiple Sclerosis. I remember my mom getting the call on an early Sunday morning. After 30 years of being bedridden suffering terribly, she was finally given a pass to leave. We arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter, she was still in her bed and I reached over the side bars and kissed her on the forehead and brushed my hand across her cheek. She looked beautiful, rested and finally at peace. I had no doubt she had gone to a much better place, a place where the kindest and warmest of souls belonged.

I think of 3 dogs thus far who I have lost, who enriched my life on a daily basis, and who were my best friends. I hope that they are in that place where apparently dogs go - Rainbow Bridge. Their faces, their expressions, their eyes will remain clear in my mind forever because I won't let them go.

As I fall asleep I find myself worrying about what the future will bring. Will the people I love still be here?

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night.It's like I'm stuck in this big fluffy cloud and I keep trying to push through the gray so I can escape but it doesn't happen. I focus and tell myself keep trying - wake up - get out of this and then suddenly as if coming up for air from the depths of the ocean, I am back in reality, back in the light of the morning where everything is clear.

Darkness - we do all we can to escape it when we are young, yet we learn to expect as we age.

I don't know why souls visit us at night when all is quiet and the day is done. Maybe they just want to be with us as dancing shadows and silouettes that waltz across the ceiling knowing we are always looking upward in search of them.

I believe in rainbows.

I believe in bridges that connect us to the souls we loved in our lifetimes.

I believe that those who have gone miss us as much as we miss them.

And I believe that if they could write our names in the sky - they would.

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