Saturday, November 12, 2011

Getting ready for our family Hawaiian cruise; feeling Dad's presence

 There are only a few more days left before we leave for our Hawaiian cruise and I have not yet thought about what to pack, never mind putting anything in a suitcase.  Yesterday was Remembrance Day and I was looking forward to an extra day to get things done but as with well laid plans, I left my work laptop at - where else? - work! So I decided to go to work to do some work but that didn't happen either.  I re-checked all the travel documents and printed whatever else I needed, updated the schedule that I'll be leaving with my family and by the time I left work, I had put in more than 5 hours. 

I came home feeling a bit out of sorts from a headache that I had since the day before.  I had to go for an MRI for my foot on Thursday at lunch and I was not to eat for at least 4 hours prior to the MRI.  Well by the time I ate, it was about 6 1/2 hours after breakfast so I had a terrible hunger headache which lasted till yesterday.  I finally gave in and had two Advils.  I felt better and decided to try out my tennis roll recipe with part wholewheat flour (first time) and it came out perfectly.  I am going to have to patent this recipe.  I have to say, it's better than Narine's (which is where I got the original recipe about 25 years ago). Uncle Sase was generous enough to give it to Mom and I when we went back to Guyana in 1985.  I tried his version but it didn't taste like it did when I was a child so I worked on the recipe until I perfected it. For the first time ever, I made a wholewheat version and it's more than comparable.  I had two for breakfast today and it was quite good.

Okay so now for my early morning dream today.  I don't know how to interpret dreams so I am going to leave the explanations for those who are better than I am at this.  This morning just before waking up, I had a dream that I was running very fast to go over to my parents' home in Winnipeg because Mom sent me to ask the new owners about a package.  I got there and the new owner said that the package had not arrived yet.  I left and as I was walking to the front of the yard, I noticed the house next door so I walked over and it turned out to be a hospice.  I knocked on the door and the sister (it was run by nuns) invited me in.  There were several men sitting eating dinner.  I asked her if she knew why I was there and she asked if I came to visit my Dad.  I told her that my dad died a few months ago and she said that I was mistaken.  He didn't die but was living at the hospice.  I told her that it was not true because I was there when he passed away.  She said that I just forgot because I was too traumatized and that's why I could not remember.  She said that today he was despondent because no one had come to visit him while he was there and he was sure that at least I would come and I didn't, and he was sad.  I became agitated and asked to see him so they took me into a room to wait while they asked him if he would want to see me. I told them that of course he would want to see me and they were to tell him that I didn't know he was there or I would have come. I started to cry because I couldn't believe that he was there all this time and I didn't know.  I didn't get to see him because I woke up with a start and realized that I was still crying and it was my crying that woke me.  I then laid in bed for close to half an hour reliving his last day at the hospice and then his funeral service and cremation.  For a few minutes I couldn't tell whether the cremation was real or whether it was part of my dream and that made me cry even more. 

I was so shaken for most of the day that it took me several hours to convince myself that he isn't here somewhere. It's interesting to think that I have spent the last few months compartmentalizing my life by being very deliberate in not thinking about things that I don't want to think about.  Then I go to sleep and dream a dream that forces me awake to confront those thoughts.  I am not sure what caused me to have such a dream.  I can speculate that my cousin Ronnie was visiting this week and we working on my family tree and talking about Dad and all the memories of Belair when we were growing up.  It could also be that I am getting prepared to go on this trip with Mom and my siblings and realizing that Dad is not going to be with us.  This is the first time that all of us children will be going on vacation together but there is a sadness that Dad won't physically be with us.  Then again, it could be that I am completing the last chapter of my dissertation and realizing that my biggest fan is not here to discuss my work.  I used to tell Dad what I was doing and would read parts of my writing to him.  I knew he was the one person who I felt would listen and take an interest in my work, even when I was sure that he didn't fully understand what I was trying to say. 

The one blessing about working on the family tree is that I am finding out that the people I love and who love me are not far away and I just have to reach out and they'll be there. This year alone, I have seen some including Indi, Auntie Bauline, Auntie Maggie, Auntie Rosaline, Ronnie, of course my immediate family, Goutham, Indra, and I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting a few.  At Christmas, we're going to Florida for two weeks where I am excited to see my cousins Eddie and David and their families.  I've been lucky to have some great conversations with Eddie in the last few months and for all those gifts, I am grateful.  

I intended to do some writing for my final chapter but I spent the day baking cookies and a cake and listening to Dad's favourite songs including Hey Jude which played randomly about 6 times.  He loved Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, the Beatles, Elvis, Jim Reeves, Connie Francis, Tony Bennett and most of the singers from the late 50's and early 60's. He loved to sing Misty when I was a child, especially when he was shaving and he could out-whistle any bird . He was a great singer and listening to the songs made me feel like he was here with me all day. The constriction in my throat has not quite disappeared but it hurts less. 

Mom gave me a mini-lecture about not talking to people when I am hurting and I now openly confess that it's true.  It's a strategy of self-reliance that has worked well for me since I was a child. But could I now have chosen a more public place than a blog to do deal with my emotions?  Everyone deals with theirs in their own way and mine has always been in writing. I have chosen to share mine publicly since February. It's deeply personal.  It's sometimes difficult.  It's often painful.  It's cathartic. It's increasingly healing. You, of course, always have the choice not to read it.       


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