Friday, October 24, 2008

I Always Knew it Never Got Any Better than San Francisco

When I was doing my second masters degree, I read more journal articles and scientific studies on the grieving process than I ever knew existed. I learned that during "healthy" mourning, a vast majority of grievers will experience some sort of dream that helps the griever feel more at peace with the loss of their loved one. A "healthy" time frame for experiencing such dreams varies based on the depth and complication of the relationship with the deceased, but sometime between two weeks and six months from the date of death is within "normal" range. Last night, I had that dream about Jeffrey. To put this in perspective, I didn't experience a dream like this about my father until 8 years past his death.

We were in San Francisco. Jeffrey was well and bouncing around in his usual way, very excited to show me his new apartment. When he was alive, he lived in an apartment at 207 Gough Street. In my dream, he was moving just down the street to 111 Gough Street. He was very happy, carrying a cardboard box filled with his most precious things. To my eyes, the box was empty, but he carried it on his shoulder as if it were overflowing with books.

111 Gough Street was a big glass structure. He buzzed us in with an electronic key card. When we got inside, he said he could go on up because he'd signed a lease for the apartment. If you hadn't signed a lease yet, you could only go inside once you passed through a very elaborate security system. At the security checkpoint, I had to leave my purse with my wallet and my ID and I had to leave my shoes and proceed barefoot onto a train. The train took me to a maze of escalators. Jeffrey and I were constantly on parallel escalators. He'd be going up while I was going down. Then, I'd try to find the right escalator so I could follow him and we'd end up passing each other again in the opposite direction.

"Come on! Hurry!" he said. "I want you to know where my door is so you can find me."

But we never could get on the same escalator. Finally, we decided to just meet at the Farmer's Market for breakfast. The Farmer's Market was also located inside 111 Gough Street. I got to the Farmer's Market without an ID or shoes. The sun was yellow and bright. There were pumpkins, squash, apples and homemade breads. Lots of people milled around by the tables eating. I couldn't find Jeffrey, and I knew then that I wouldn't.

A male gospel quartet performed on a makeshift platform in the middle of the Farmer's Market. Both Jeffrey and I love blues and old spirituals. I decided to get some bread and wait a little longer for Jeffrey. The quartet began to sing "Lonesome Valley."

You got to go to the lonesome valley
You got to go there by yourself
Nobody else can go for you
You got to go there by yourself
Oh, you got to ask the Lord's forgiveness
Nobody else can ask him for you
You got to go to the lonesome valley
You got to go there by yourself
Nobody else, nobody else can go for you
You got to go there by yourself

Ain't that just the truth?

May we meet again one day in the Bay, my friend.

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