my sister-in-law Mary and I & many other family members were entering my brother-in laws apartment, only it was in Montauk instead of Long Beach. We were unpacking food Mary had cooked. In the dream I was greeting everybody as they were just arriving. When I turned around I saw my brother-in law Paul sitting in a chair looking up at me & smiling. I was so happy to see him. He looked just like he did in the last dream I had. He was wearing a chamois colored shirt with a white t-shirt underneath & jeans, & he had the color red around him. When I turned away to tell everyone that Paul was here, I looked back at him & the chair was empty. I walked away feeling like I was going to cry because I realized he was still gone. I wasn't sure if I should tell everyone in the room about what I saw.I didn't want to upset anyone because I knew they were struggling in their own grief over losing Paul.
My bereavement counselor says we grieve the way we live. I didn't really know what she was talking about when she first told me that. Now as time is passing I am starting too. When someone plays such an important role in your life it is impossible to forget them. I still hear his voice in my head when I remember things he would say to me. Like when my husband & I drove him to college twenty something years ago with all his stuff packed in my car- I had gotten a new haircut & he kept calling me Joey Heatherton. Paul is still making me laugh every time I think of that. I think of Paul around Christmas time & how excited he would get as he shopped for his loved ones. Paul would call me up at least twice talking about what to buy for our son Ian. He always made a big deal over what to buy for him. It always had to be something special. Then Paul would talk about what he was buying for everyone else. It was very important to him to give of himself-he had true Christmas spirit. I hear his voice again when he used to call me up on the phone. The first thing he would say before anything else is, "How's my boy?" I will never forget that. Paul made sure his brother & I and especially Ian knew how important we were to him. Paul was like that with everyone he cared about. I also think of the small favors he used to ask me for & how happy that made me feel doing them for him. It made me feel like we were true friends. These are just a few of the day to day memories that have accumulated over all the years of knowing Paul. Other memories come back unexpectedly. Some make me laugh out loud. Others make me cry. Either way I am grateful for them & treasure them enormously.
One thing I am starting to realize is that life will never be the same without Paul. When I think about it, why would it be?
Who wouldn't miss knowing someone like Paul?
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye."-Antoine de Saint Exupery, from The Little Prince-