KINDNESS FROM BEYOND
My dream woke me from a deep sleep and left me picturing his face as I tried to hang onto the details before they began to evaporate. The “face” belonged to Jeff, the guy who introduced me to my husband, the Godfather of our son and a dear friend who recently died. Jeff was also a talented, famous, successful yet down-to-earth musician, husband and father. He was, quite simply, a good man. One of those rare human beings who seldom, if ever, grace our lives. His death was slow, a rare disease robbed him first of his eye sight and then began to breakdown his physical functions over the course of several years. We all felt an aching sorrow for what he and his wife, Audrey, and their children were going through. Then there’s this Goddamn nagging perplexity, this rage at how someone so good could end up with a rare disease from which there is no cure. Who decides this shit? Is it all pre-determined before we’re even born? If there is a God why would He allow this to happen? Does our spirit live on, still able to communicate to the living even though we’ve no solid mass to habitat?
In my dream there were dozens of people in a big house, a cross between an old farm house and something like a plantation in Gone With The Wind. You know how in dreams you’re someplace familiar, yet it isn’t exactly the same?
It was a party, a celebration, and everyone was there to see Jeff. I could hear Audrey’s distinct voice, her hurried southern accent, floating on top of the chatter telling everyone to “help yourselves, have something to eat, make yourself comfortable, Jeff is so happy you’re all here.”
Jeff and Audrey’s young sons were visible just outside a huge bay window, playing with kids in a green, flower filled yard, running in and out of enormous hedges, disappearing at one end and emerging from the other. They were laughing and carefree, flaunting what only children possess, the gift of truly living in the moment.
The crowd began to buzz in anticipation as everyone waited to see Jeff. He was there somewhere, but we couldn’t find him. Audrey calmly asked us to go and look for him and we all set out to find him.
Some broke off into groups to search for him and I turned towards a large staircase that led to the floor above. (This is where dreams merge with the fantastical because that staircase was as grand as the staircase on the Titanic.) As I was heading up I saw him at the top. It was the Jeff from years ago, smiling with that boyish grin and shaggy blond hair falling a bit into his eyes. He looked so young, so healthy. He started bouncing down the steps towards me. “Everyone is waiting to see you” I said. “Well, here I am” he said as he reached out and took my hand. I remember that part so clearly, the arm extending, our hands reaching towards each other and then connecting. He firmly took my hand and I felt so happy that I found him. (It was my dream, after all!) We made our way down and Jeff seemed surprised at all of the people waiting for him, even a bit shy about it. Everyone broke into applause and cheers as he walked into Audrey’s arms and they embraced. This moment played out in slow-motion, like you’d see on a big movie screen. Jeff and Audrey together, their sons nearby, family, friends, laughter, love, music, food, joy and happiness permeating every cell of every being in that room.
Jeff and Audrey turned toward the crowd, arms around each other, and smiled. They were together, they were home, and they were surrounded by love.
And then I woke up.
In my dream we found Jeff, but more importantly, I realized, we found Jeff in life. How lucky each and everyone of us is to have been touched by his music, his pure goodness, his humor, his kindness, his endless optimism even in his darkest days.
Do we continue to live on in spirit after we die? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I found meaning in my dream about Jeff. I believe he wanted to illuminate how important kindness is, not just in how we treat others, but in how we treat ourselves.
His kindness and music will live forever, long after all of us at that “dream party” are gone.