One night last week, I went someplace that I had not been to in a very long time. I hadn't even thought about this place in many years. The last time I was there, I was maybe 12 years old, at best.
But when I walked in, everything was exactly as I remembered it. No one was home but coming through the front door, I could feel the sun warm me as it came through the sliding glass doors opposite the front door. There was candy in the dish that sat on the dining room hutch just like I remembered it. In the kitchen, I immediately found the vintage juice jar that I remembered my grandmother using and the little glasses she served the juice in. The table was tucked away along the wall, tablecloth covering it but no plate of butterscotch cookies like she used to make.
The floors looked the same. The light switches made the same sound when you flipped them on that I remembered. The doorknobs turned the way I remembered and my feet made the same sound I remembered when I walked across the hardwood floor in the spare bedroom I used to nap in.
And then I heard some laughing, and there was a fire in the fireplace, and I found some things that I had never seen before in a box in the corner. And someone said to me, "Those are for you - we've been saving them up to give to you". When I turned around, I was so excited to see it was my Grandfather. I hadn't seen him or hardly thought about him in the almost 30 years since he passed away when I was a child. He looked exactly as I remembered him. He had the same funny laugh and sweet appalachian accent that I hadn't heard in forever. He and my grandmother used to call me "tree-sha" and would say things like "mursh-rooms" or "worsch" (Tricia, mushrooms and wash if you're not from Southern Ohio).
I don't know what prompted this dream. It was so vivid. So real. For days, I haven't been able to get him out of my mind. When I woke up, I remembered every single detail of that dream which is rare. I've poured back over those memories a thousand times since that night and I can't stop thinking about his face and his eyes and his smile and that moment.
I don't believe in ghosts and I'm not really sure I will ever be able to explain what prompted that dream. But it was so comforting. I felt like I was being watched as I grew. That I was being nurtured and cared for. That he was still with me even though not physically. He still knew me even though I had grown so much since he saw me last. He knew me and he loved me. And I remembered how much I loved him.
I have only had a dream that was so vivid and that I remembered that well one other time, and that was about my sister who also passed away when I was a child. I think I was 15 or 16 when I had that dream and she died before I was even 2 years old (she was 15 when she died). It does make me wonder if we visit with those we love who have passed on in our dreams...that when we close our eyes, we allow ourselves to go places that sometimes are too painful to think about when our eyes are open.
It sure made me smile though, being in that place, remembering the sights and sounds and smells and the feel of that special place...and hearing a familiar voice and seeing a familiar face. Whatever it was, it was good.