Maybe it was because my grandkids went home and the house was too quiet. Maybe it was just the thought of growing older and retiring. Whatever caused it, I had dreams of my brother Donnie, of Jim, and days long gone by. We were all younger in my dreams. As I awakened from a deep sleep the words echoed through my head, “Those days have come and gone.”
It’s hard to understand the world of dreams. Sometimes they inspire me to write short stories or provide a scene for my novel in progress. This time, the dreams weren’t so important, or unusual, it was the truism that stood out from my night’s sleep.
The past is a part of me that lingers in my mind just to be awakened in my alternate life—dreamland. Dreams can seem so real at the time. It made me think of Poe’s “A Dream Within a Dream.” Reality blurs with dreams, and it is possible to cling to the past of a “surf-tormented shore” while we watch the sands of our lives slip through our hands.
Unlike Poe, I choose to not weep and fall into despair over the days that have come and gone. Yes, at times, it is more challenging to put the past aside than others. Keeping busy, working toward goals, feeling a sense of accomplishment are tools to push away the dark sadness of another time gone forever, another place that no longer exists.
Yet, the very busyness that helps keep the past from tormenting, can also cause regret. Sometimes, I have to choose between obligations and inclinations. If I’m not careful, I find myself having regrets that I let work interfere with family time. But if I’m realistic, which I am most of the time, I realize that work has been a beneficial part of my life in more than a financial sense. When Jim was in need of constant care, I needed work as a diversion from the overwhelming job of caregiving.
Being around my grandkids this week reminded me of when my kids were young. Instead of just grabbing something, anything, to eat, I needed to think about meal planning, like when my sons were small. Even going to the state fair took on a retro atmosphere. It had been years since I stood on the Midway while the kids ran from one carnival ride to another. I’m older, slower, and somewhat wiser now. I wore comfortable shoes and used the umbrella I carried to shade me from the sun.
It was a week that took me back in time, but with changes. Okay, I’ll admit that I’m about a thousand times more indulgent with my grandkids than I was with my children. My XM radio station was on the Disney channel all week. My TV was tuned to cartoons and pre-teen shows. I went to the movies, twice. I drove by Kentucky Fried Chicken and ordered above the sound of the “La la la-la” Smurf happy song. The question of the day became, “Is a Smurf’s butt blue?”
Just like in my dream, the past week of a house filled with laughter, thumps, and bumps from morning to bedtime have come and gone. It took me by surprise how much I missed it the instant the house took on its usual quiet, peaceful atmosphere.
I decided to go work for a few hours to take my mind off it. I pulled my car out of the garage and the radio began to play “Chloe, You’re the One I Want.” I’d heard that song a dozen times in the past few days. I shook my head and twisted the dial pausing on Escape, Praise, 80’s on 8, and finally rested the dial on 60’s on 6. It was obvious that those days had come and gone. I punched the button my granddaughter had set and listened to some here and now music to appreciate the blessing of today and the tomorrows that are mine to enjoy.
Copyright (c) August 2013 by L.S. Fisher