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Grief fills my psyche from which flow these images:

Grief cracks hearts, buckles knees, evokes sighs, and distorts reality: its blackness, the mixture of primary colors.  

Like fine granules of soot, grief seeps into inaccessible realms of spirit, discolors memory’s story, taints judgment, and hazards activities of daily living.

Like a medieval hairshirt, grief irritates nerves, prickles to the point of pain, constricts breathing, and welts backs with hairline sores.

Like hobnail boots, grief tramps up and down the peaks and valleys of quicksand moments, trudges through sand-blistered winds of change, lapses into forgetfulness, and imprints the terrain with its history, its courage only grasped later.

We have just lost a kind neighbor on our court, so willing to endure years of treatments for his disease, in the midst of his loving family.

His name was Tony. We will miss him, very much.

I jolted awake around 3:30 A.M. with this dream:

Word had gotten around that I was actually dying. My doorbell rang. My phone rang. Others knocked on the opened front door and came in and made their way to my bedroom, already filled with others paying their last respects. I’m sitting up in my full bed, unsupported, wearing a T-shirt, my forearms resting on the covers. Shortness of breath prevents me from speaking clearly. My words are muddled.

This startling dream gave me considerable pause: the ravages of death in my body, witnessed by others. Other dreams have suggested end-of-life issues, each with its own lesson, but none this specific.

My first response to this morning’s dream was repulsion toward the crowds filling my bungalow and their raucous noise. Seated atop my full bed, however, you would never have known: I was all smiles and gratitude toward my well-wishers, despite shortness of breath and muddled words.

I’ve always envisioned my serene passing like a beam of sunlight slowly opening onto vistas of Quiet Beauty.

Yet, no indications of physical death appear imminent today. In view of my recent shift—letting death have its will in my body, when and how it will—this morning’s dream seems more of a call for a deeper stillness in my psyche, for a more mindful maintenance of my boundaries in the daylight world, and for communion with each remaining life breath in the time allotted me.

My gratitude for the opportunity to prepare for the greatest experience of this life knows no bounds—to enflower it with full-blown white roses that never fade.

At 6 A.M., I awoke with this helpful dream:

It is night. I receive a call from a church member who asks my help with a problem. In my brown-and-white cotton shirtwaist dress, I look trim as I make my way to the church. Alone, I figure out the problem. Later, I understand that everyone is relieved.

In my psyche there is a problem-solver who serves me well, though often obscured and seemingly unavailable in daylight. In that realm I continually apply the Twelve Steps to my character defeats as they relate to my terminal illness, with increasing weakness and shortness of breath. Yet I’m still up and about.

I expect the dream’s problem is related to my flim-flam acceptance of what is coming, and the church needs my expertise in resolving it. No one has experienced the spiritual depths to sound its perimeters, unlike Job’s three friends who jabbered on and on from their neatly construed theologies like faucets belching tainted water.

In the dream everyone is relieved with my passing.It’s been a long wait and a source of unease, if not grief, for many. Who likes being reminded of their mortality?

So the dream speaks of the necessity of my aloneness and the steadfast presence of the problem-solver in my psyche. This will work out. I’m certainly not unique in facing the end of this life.

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