August seems to be a time for grieving. It is unreal how many deaths seem to happen in August. First, my mom passed away August 16, 2003, then dad passed away August 8, 2010. My former co-worker and mentor Randy Kemp passed away August 14, 2011. And now, my dear friend's sister passed away August 10 of this year. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear August was jinxed.
It's really hard to believe that it's been nine years ago today (Thursday, August 16) that I lost my mom. Just one year shy of a decade. It amazes me how life goes on without a look back. And though I still think about her, it's not every minute of every day like it used to be. She's still there, though; in my thoughts and especially in my dreams.
That's another thing that amazes me, how often mom and dad and even Randy turn up in my dreams at night. Not a week goes by that I haven't been visited by mom and/or dad at least once. They are mainly nice dreams, pleasant dreams remembering old times. The ones that concern me are the ones where they just sit there silently. Why? I try to puzzle those dreams out all the time.
The ones with Randy are almost always work related as that was how I knew him best in life. Just last week I had an interesting dream where he was showing off a new pocket knife. It sure was fancy. I especially liked the fact that it had internet capability and a built-in flash drive. Yeah, it was quite a gadget and he took joy in showing it to all of us at work, it had been a present from his grandchildren.
He kept talking about how he couldn't wait until his grandsons were bigger, that he had so many activities planned for them. It was a nice dream, one that found me waking up with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. Because no matter how hard he worked, no matter how busy he was, Randy always had time for his family. Even during the crunch of deadline, if his wife or sons called, he was always available.
And it seems that when I get real stressed about things, I dream about my mom sitting on her front porch drinking coffee and staring out across the land as the sun rises. I can always see the breeze gently blowing her hair and her smile as she watches the dogs play in the yard. It almost always brings me instant peace. It's like a memory I keep locked in my brain until I need it. Dreams are funny things. The most abstract events happen in them. I had a dream about my dad not too long ago. He was riding a donkey around the pasture by his house. Why? I don't know. But he was flying a pink kite as well and he kept telling me he was holding it until Amanda came back.
He talked about an old dog his family had when they were kids and stealing watermelons from his grandfather's watermelon patch and getting in trouble for it. Then he told me mom needed a new sweater and he wanted to get her one for Christmas. I told him Christmas was months away and he said, no, it's tomorrow. Then it began to snow.
You know, I don't care how crazy or silly the dreams may be. As long as the people I love are in them, it's just as good as if they came over for a visit.
(Lorie Mink of Pangburn is the Editor for The Sun-Times. Her column appears here each Friday. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org)