dead grandmother seeks redemption

My dreams have been getting weirder and weirder lately. And why not finish out the year with yet another visit from my dearly departed grandmother?

She’s been gone for over 2 years now. So whenever she visits me in my dreams I get this ominous sensation that she’s trying to tell me something, deliver me a fateful omen — I can never tell if it’s bad or good.

The first time she showed up was just two weeks after she had passed. She was wearing a beautiful flowing green floral dress like nothing she would have ever worn, and she was full of verve like I’d never seen her possess in life. No oxygen tank, no walker or wheelchair for Gram.

She glided from one room to the next looking for a pen, ignoring me as I kept asking her, “What are you doing here, Gram? I thought you were dead.”

Once she found a pen, she sat down and pulled out her checkbook. Apparently she had unfinished business. She had to write two checks to two of my cousins, and then she disappeared. She had nothing for me. No parting words. No unexpected check. Nothing.

The next time I saw her I was in the middle of one of those I-have-to-go-pee-but-I-can’t-find-a-decent-toilet-anywhere dreams. I was at a family reunion, the kind where there are so many extended 2nd and 3rd cousins that I don’t recognize anyone or have a clue what anyone’s name is.

I chanced upon her sitting with my aunt, her oldest child (and current family matriarch). They were both waiting to be served at this posh luncheon and the servers had passed them up entirely. I found myself suddenly on a new mission. No longer the urgency to attend to my own body functions, I was tasked with sating my grandmother and aunt.

I began scaling a scaffolding-type structure to get past the sea of unknown relatives eating their lunches, precariously balancing on slippery surfaces and thinking only about how mad gram was going to be if I didn’t feed her soon.

Then last night she showed up again. This time she was urging my sister and I to go with her to a bible study group. I was resistant but didn’t want to cross her. I became hopeful that this time I would get something profound out of this religious undertaking. But once inside the stuffy building, sitting around a rectangular table, she disappeared and my sister along with her.

I was left with these people who were supposed to redeem me — deliver me from the hell my grandmother was constantly condemning me to when she was still alive — but I just felt alienated by their constant focus on superficial and materialistic things. God was mentioned only as the creditor of all their fantastic good fortune, and not as a bestower of enlightenment.

All the inane chatter was followed by a feast. I loaded my plate down with food, but never felt sated.


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