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Friday, January 21, 2022


I went to be early after a day of not succumbing to my body's post-treatment recovery need to nap, in hope that I would sleep the night through, until 7:15am at the latest. My game plan was to get up that relatively early, shower and shave, eat a breakfast that will tide me over for the roughly eight hours until I arrive in Westport, and make sure everything was packed and in order to bring home for Mom's 89th birthday, as I can be a tad scatty after a given day's dialysis, so I ended up in bed and asleep before midnight.

I suppose it was inevitable, but in light of recent events, my processing of Oscar's demise made its way into my dreams. In the dreamscape, I was in a lavish, ethereal bed chamber, like the one Dave Bowman finds himself in at the end of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, observing an ancient, withered man in its large bed. Next to the bed was a Victrola that played classical music, soft and soothing, and the old man beckoned me over. He bore a strong resemblance to what I've seen of my father in recent photos; emaciated, frail, debilitated by poorly-managed diabetes and Alzheimer's, but unlike my dad's former chocolate-brown hue, he was a faded shade of Caucasian complexion.

With an infirm gesture he bade me sit on the bed beside him, and once I was seated he attempted to speak, but no coherent words came. Instead, his features contorted into a grimace of discomfort, and tears flowed down his sunken cheeks. For my part, I sat there unsure of what he was trying to express and, not being telepathic, no clarity came to me. He then closed his eyes and was gone.

When I awoke, it was to my chilly apartment, a space whose draftiness gave indication of it being 17° outside, and I found myself hanging upside down over the side of my futon's frame, amidst my three comforters and unzipped arctic sleeping bag, all of which were in a state of disarray, presumably from me thrashing about in my sleep.

There are a couple of ways to interpret the meaning of that dream, but I have no desire to get all maudlin, so I'll just leave it at that. That, and the realization that this year's celebration of Mom's birthday is likely to be all manner of weird, uncomfortable, and fraught with depressing emotion.

I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but one of the things that tends to happen when I go home for visits is my mother taking the opportunity of a captive audience and laying bare her agonized memories of the many awful incidents and situations that shaped her, often anecdotes about her time with my father, so his passing is likely to open a floodgate in her usual rigid reserve. If it helps her let loose some of the long-held poisons, then so be it. I will endure it with my mind and intent set on keeping things as pleasant as possible. I will make sure there is no anger or contentiousness on my part. I have no way of prognosticating how many more birthdays Mom will be around to mark, so now is a time for reserve and compassion.

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