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Around 7:30 A.M., I stirred with this corrective dream:

My anxiety mounted with meaningless background noise as I waited for my masseuse. I looked forward to her soothing touch, especially upon my spine. The door opened. She was ready for me. There, she stood, but drastically altered: her head unevenly shaved, her slit-like eyes trained upon me like a hawk’s, her gap teeth resembled a clown’s, her lanky body covered by a neck-to-floor soiled sheath. She repulsed me.

Within the depths of my psyche lives my drastically altered masseuse, eager to knead her powerful hands within the contours of my body/mind. So unlike her former Feminine self, she repulsed me. Only later did I realize her clever disguise as the Sacred. The dream ended without my taking action.

Given the hectic drift of my ego, it’s no wonder that she revealed her true self. I needed the correction to slow down, especially since daily walks in the air-conditioned YMCA have energized me, a tad. My body is still terminally ill, despite obsessing on more outings with my portable oxygen and mask—Even entertaining the notion of taking the Pfizer vaccine. Such is the meaningless background noise that annoys me like thousands of fleas on holiday.

I no longer need to be out in “the marketplace” as little appeals to me. No need to fudge around the edges of my daily routine that has kept me steadfast for almost two years of hospice palliative care. Certainly, more prayer and rest will help assuage my masseuse’s outrageous behavior. She’s got my attention, that’s for sure.

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.

The scene was overwhelming: Herringboned clouds bleached blueness, overhead; centuries-old oaks, freshly leafed, shaded the rolling hills, the grass resembling grown-out buzz cuts of new recruits; asphalt roads serpentined among clearly marked plots filled with the remains of women and men who had served our country in combat or peacetime. Thousands of American flags cast a pink glow upon the white oval faces of the headstones, resembling gothic doorways of ancient monks.

Cars inched around turns with tent-covered lemonade stands, with groundskeepers welcoming visitors and helping with directions. Children in T-shirts and shorts walked Indian-style behind their parents, holding pots of flowers. A heavyset lone senior leaned on her cane while scanning the row of headstones for her loved one.

It was Memorial Day, the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery outside of St. Louis, Missouri, and my first visit to this historic site.

I weep with those who weep.

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