by Anna Huckabee Tull
Each month, for the first twelve months after Marie Pechet’s passing, I will carry her Blog forward, sharing about Marie in ways that I hope you will find meaningful, connective, and honoring of our shared friend.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the day my father died.
He died four months before Marie did.
One day, two months after he was gone and two months before she would make her own exit, Marie said to me, “I’ve seen your father. I’ve seen him a number of times.”
This was fascinating and strange to me on a number of levels. For one thing, my dad was not alive. For another, Marie never met my dad. I’m not sure if she had ever even seen a picture of him.
I’m also not sure that matters.
What occurred to me, as she shared this with me, was that it was starting to feel like perhaps Marie’s own time was coming close.
Maybe you can see things that you normally can’t see–be visited by people you normally can’t be visited by–when your own end is drawing near, and when the lines between this world and whatever happens next begin to blur.
I was really happy to know that she had seen my dad, and I told her so. We left it at that.
A few nights ago, my father appeared to my mother in a dream. She has spent the past year grieving, and working hard to live forward into the rest of her own life in positive ways without him. In all that time, my father had never “appeared” to her until just now. My mother shared with me that it felt poignant, and otherworldly.
In the dream, she spoke to him. “Please come back,” she said.
She was struck by the fact that saying just exactly this was something she had never given voice to in her waking, grieving life. Because there was no one to say it to. Because saying it can’t change anything. Because these are not words that are meant to be said by a grieving widow. And yet, she shared how freeing it felt, just to be able to utter them. “Please come back.” In this dream, she felt something loosen and shift, to give her yearning, however unrealistic, a voice.
In the dream, then, my father held my mother, and kissed her. She felt all their connection–firm and familiar. And, too, she felt the fleetingness of it.
His presence was so warm and soothing. But he had a message to deliver. “I won’t be coming back,” he said, as he held her some more.
And then, he closed their conversation with an odd addition. Maybe it was his way of explaining what his own “crossing over” was like.
“My mother met me,” he said, as he faded out of the dream.
* * * * *
These past few days I have been gathered with family. We have been honoring the life and grieving the loss of my dad.
We have been singing, looking at photos, watching videos, writing his name with pebbles in the ground. We have been crying, and laughing, and noticing the significance of having made it through a year–seeing what doors that allows us to open, and to close.
And then, in the midst of all this, yesterday, I woke up and I found myself thinking of all of you–you who have continued to read this blog more than half a year after Marie’s passing. I thought about your own experience of the loss of Marie–a large one for some of you, a more manageable one for others.
And I started thinking about that thing my father said to my mother in the dream: My mother met me.
I found myself wondering if there was someone there–wherever “there” is–to meet Marie, when her time came. Someone at that point where she would have “crossed over” into whatever it is we all cross over into.
I wondered and wondered about that. And then, in an act of bravery, instead of wondering, I decided to simply ask her myself.
I took a deep breath. I closed my eyes. And I put out the question. Not with my mouth and lips, but with my heart and with my thoughts.
Was there someone there to meet you?
It didn’t even take a second. The answer to my question was there, sweet and easy, mine for the taking. Simple as could be.
It was a voice from the other side. Hers, I do believe.
I can’t say I was surprised by her answer. But I was relieved.
My heart filled with the response I got.
It was, simply:
~Anna Huckabee Tull