Thursday, March 22, 2007

A very good dream

I had a very good dream the other night, it was the night after the House of Bishops' communication. It was about my brother, Toby (not his real name).

Those of you who have shared the journey with me the past few years might remember, Toby was gay, and never comfortable with himself about it, which I believe was part of his drinking -- he drank to quell the pain. We grew up in a family that was a combination of Navy and Southern. It had its good points, but we grew up in a homophobic climate, and Toby bore that.

He was an alcoholic.

Toby died of a condition related to cirrhosis of the liver called esophageal varices - internal bleeding. He had already had one bleed I know of, and the doctors told him he would die if he didn't quit drinking, but Toby couldn't quit.

Toby bled out and died summer before last. He had been angry with me, because I pushed him so hard, trying to get him into treatment.

The last time he wanted to come crash at my house, I said no, because he was drinking. When he had come to stay with me times before, he was trying to get sober, and wasn't drinking. I didn't think I could handle him drunk (Toby was a big man), but I was about to relent, when an AA friend said Toby could stay with him. This was for the best, because the AA friend was a no-nonsense, sober alcoholic who could see through all the bullshit, and could handle Toby. This was before the first bleed.

Toby didn't like the AA friend's rules any better than mine, and moved out as soon as he could.

Toby was brusque with me the last time I called him to check on him. During the call, I told him I had a few things from my mother's house I knew he would want -- things he had given her from his travels when he was in the Navy. Toby never collected them, and now, a pair of ceramic Japanese dragons grace my bookshelf.

Anyway, in my dream Toby was alive, and he came to live with me. I was overjoyed, because I knew he was sober and healed of alcoholism's ravages, and he would even be a great help to me. I helped him unload his car of his few clothes and things.

Then Toby explained he had to go to work, and I understood he would be gone for a very long while, but it was all right.

He climbed into his old, black VW Beetle (not a car he had in real life) and left.

I was still overjoyed, because he was OK; everything was OK, and I knew he was leaving because he had to.

After I woke up, I wondered if the Beetle represented the Death Beetle in quirky, subconscious symbolism -- that the Beetle would carry him back the realm of the dead, for now. But it really was all right; he was sober, healed and at peace. And something of his spirit would remain with me.


Hedwyg said...

Wow... that is beautiful. I remember reading some of Toby's story as it unfolded a couple years ago. Prayers and hugs to you. {{{{{ Pat }}}}}

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Now you made me weep, you wicked woman!

Love and blessings!

Lois Keen said...

My mother died as the direct result of lifelong smoking, which she could not give up because she had already given up drinking and that was all a person could ask. Within less than a minute of being given the news that she had died, while I was still at the beginning of crashing into anguish, I "heard" with my whole being the words, "Your mother is alive and well. She has a job to do and this time she's equipped to do it."

That was 1991. Now, so many years later, you have a dream that your Toby came home and said "he had to go to work". Golly.

Thank you for your story,Pat.
Lois Keen

Saint Pat said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing your story, Lois. And thank you, hedwyg and Goran (I am a wicked woman, you know) for your comments.

It's oddly wonderful how we get some of these important messages.

Padre Mickey said...

Wow! Your dreaming about your brother reminded me of our hero St. Perpetua and the dream she had of her brother, who had died of cancer, being healed and whole and how happy she was to see him.
Hmmm, I'd stay away from any wild steers if I were you.

I had a dream one about my dead grandfather, who was a pastor and missionary in the AofG and with whom I had some issues, visiting me and telling me how proud he was of me just before my ordination.

I like dreams where folks come back to tell us everything is alright.

You are blessed!

Eileen said...

Pat - This was a good, healing dream indeed. God's hand is in this for sure!