When the dead visit my mother in dreams, they always come bearing information, like a character in an Isabelle Allende novel. Her older brother, who died of liver failure when she was eighteen, made only one visit over the decades to reassure her he was at peace, and then not again until long after both their parents had passed. My grandmother made a similar walk-on appearance. These ghostly visitations in the realm of slumber are often a sign of peace or acceptance for my mother. But not with Gayle, my mother’s best friend of forty years, also my godmother, who passed away September 2013, slipped off the edge of our knowing, her end a question.
“I dreamt she was a prisoner upstairs in that bedroom crying for help and mercy and not able to get to the bathroom,” my mom texted me this week. “She even called out my name and said she was in such pain.”
The dream repeated on an exhausting loop all night, she said. The same loop that works its way through my brain every day. Like a badly written mystery novel, pieces keep falling into place since we learned, six months after the fact, of Gayle’s death.
Learned after the fact, long after the chance to say goodbye, because her husband, too, ghosted away, line disconnected, house sold, a man still flesh becoming phantom.
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