Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What Dreams May Come – My Brother Charles

Charles on his 45 Panhead Harley
Charles Anderson transitioned June 22nd, 2005 at 47 years, 3 months, 1 week and 5 days young.

The sun.

The sun was touching my face and it was not burning. In fact, it felt good. It felt sort of healthy and warming not scalding and hurtful like... like... like it really does to me.

Ah, this was a dream. The first clue my subconscious picked up on that I was actually asleep and experiencing one of my frequent lucid dreams. Interesting. Interesting was the fact that I was feeling the sun and enjoying it versus shying away and seeking shade to protect myself from its burning rays eating my skin. Even in my dreams the sun usually hurt or burned but not this time. This was pleasantly different. I turned my face upward and squinted against the sun's brightness and let it warm my face more, soaking in its life-giving rays.

I noticed I was sitting in long soft grass with a gentle breeze blowing. I was on the side of a rounded downward sloped hill that overlooked a large field of grass that appeared to be the same kind as I was sitting in. The grass seemed uniformly about a foot tall swaying in the gentle breeze like lazy undulating waves of water. The field of grass was surrounded by thick old growth woods that gave the whole area a feeling of containment yet hinted at titillating adventure beyond if one just dared ventured into their depths. The hill I was sitting on an emptied out as the only opening to the field below me almost like it was an arena and I occupied the best seat in the house.

There was a haze. A haze like those in the old movies when the camera would do a headshot of the heroine and she was supposed to look beautiful and her face was all fuzzy and dreamy like. You know what I mean... sort of out of focus a bit as if to hide her imperfections. Well, that's the kind of hazy this was, too. But when I was dreaming it I was not thinking about what the haziness may be hiding. I was not thinking of why it was "out of focus". I actually seemed to be just the way it was supposed to be. Dreamy like. But, I did not really think about that at all because soon after I noticed the haze and was looking around at the haziness of everything that's when I heard Charles' voice.

"Sorry I have not come to visit you like I promised, Bone," he said as if I knew he was sitting right there beside me all along.

Bone ... only he called me that all these years. Bones or Bone, he used them interchangeably but when he was being most affectionate it was always just 'Bone'. Only he could take what the bullies called me when I was little and turn it into a lifelong pet name that I grew to love hearing him say.

There he was sitting beside me on the hill overlooking the grass waves field below us and I was sure he had not been there a moment ago. I was not startled in the least. It seems like I should have been but I was not and it was perfectly right for him and me to be sitting there on the hill in the sun together. I turned to look at him and he was smiling while he examined the fluffy head of a dandelion gone to seed. He was young and healthy and so very much alive.

I suddenly knew I was young, too. Let's say we were probably both in our pre-teens primarily. But that is not an accurate assessment of Charles' physical form throughout the dream. He (and I must assume me too) appearance seamlessly shifted or morphed between pre-teen and early twenties the whole time without breaking up any sense of being one and the same. Age and even time itself obviously did not mean much in this world of hazy waving grass and soft warm sun breezes.

He continued to examine the dandelion and looked so sincerely happy and contented. He looked at me out of the corner of his eye and then blew the delicate dandelion parachutes into the wind in a single burst of white fluffiness that was swept away from us and out over the field of waving grass below us.

"Sorry, I have not come to visit you like I promised," he started again.

"That's okay," I interrupted. "I understand." But I really did not understand. I just did not want him to have to apologize to me for anything. I wanted him to stay here with me like this in the hazy sunlight sitting on the hill above the grassy meadow. It felt so right. It felt so real. It felt so peaceful.

"I will do it but it is taking longer than I thought it would," he began again as if I had not interrupted at all. "But I thought I would come this way and tell you that I have not forgotten and to make sure that you are all right."

"I'm okay," I said without thinking and I really did mean it at that moment even though I felt my eyes moisten with tears.

"Are you?" He asked with a hint of a raised knowing blond eyebrow.

I did not answer and looked away from his eyes. I did not want him to see the tears. This was only a dream, I reminded myself. This was not real. He could not really be here. He was ...

I looked back up at him as I picked a blade of grass from between my crossed legs and he was looking intently at me and still smiling with a single blade of long grass dangling from his lips as he chewed it. That silly impish look he could get about him that made him look like a mischievous devil in a blond-headed innocent boy's body.

"Yeah, I'm making it," I lied.

He knew I was lying. Damn it! I could see it in his face. He knew and he did not press me on it or even stop smiling but only turned to look out over the meadow to give me a chance to blush privately and compose myself.

"Charles, can I ask you some questions?" I asked hoping to change the topic away from how I was doing.

Was that a twinkle of delight in his eyes as he turned to me? "I knew you would have lots of questions," he said with a definite twinkle of delight. There were love and understanding beaming from him almost like a beacon light. Was that what true Love looked like? "Yeah, it is okay to ask me questions."

And I began to ask my questions. All the questions I had thought to myself for a month came flooding out of me without constraint or fear. Questions of what was it like and where was he and was he happy and was there really heaven like we thought of it and what was God really like and and and and and


I do not remember a single thing he told me.

But, he did answer every one of my questions candidly and without the slightest hesitation. We laughed a lot and he assured me it was all so much better than I could imagine and that I did not have anything to be afraid of. I do not remember the words he told me even though the whole time I kept thinking I needed to remember all of this because it was all so awesome and would change my life forever. I do not remember the exact words, but I do remember the feelings. The emotions he stirred within me.

The feeling of a peace that definitely passed my understanding. The feeling of an unconditional love freely given without reservation and in a limitless measure. The feeling of the cumbersome burdens of pain and sorrow and helplessness lifted off of me because finally, I knew there was nothing to be pained or sorrowed or helpless over any longer. It was all great and just fine and dandy, according to Charles and I unconditionally believed him and knew that it was so. Even though I do not remember his words he still got the message across clearly. The message that I was free to move on and that he would always live in my heart and in my memories.

Then I woke up. It was 3:33 a.m.

I woke up like this for three consecutive nights, always noting the 3:33 a.m. on the glowing digital nightstand clock beside me. After each night I experienced the frustration of not being able to remember what Charles told me about the simple yet joyful existence of  Life after our last earthly breath. I would work all day to regain the feelings of peace and love and loss of burden that Charles gave me those nights, but failed miserably to remember the answers he lovingly gave. Why could I not remember? Why could I only retain and hold to the blissful emotions he brought me?

All these years later, I still find my "happy place" by reliving those dreams with Charles. When all else in my life seems to be for naught and I feel like giving up, those dreams bring me to remembrance that in the end there is no end. That our place in the scheme of the Universe is set in the forever somewhere somehow beyond our own imaginings and mortal understandings and all is well and as it should be. There really is no other way it can be. So stop worrying about this life's temporary disturbances and move on to the reality that we all are a part of something bigger and better  .. out there .. which is already In Here Now waiting for us to come Home.

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