"Daddy's shoes," you say? "That would be quite a responsibility." I agree and marvel still yet, at the awsomeness of this unique experience. As I think about it I shake my head in wonderment as memories of Mom and Dad ...poignant, some even hurtful, have flooded back to my conscious mind. It has taken a heap of living since that time, the time of the dream, ...on my part. I wonder if my small efforts served to answer that vision.
Daddy who left us for the next world has been in paradise since 1978 and Mom since 1985.
The years in between their two deaths were probably the most difficult I had encountered up until that time ...in my life. Certainly for Mom, they were the most difficult of her life.
The circumstances surrounding these years have been put to paper and shared with immediate family. They are another story of another time, .. a time of struggle, financial and personal that my Mother and the rest of us lived through.
Most of the hurt was brought on by my younger brother and his family of four children. It is a story of alcoholism and drugs that brought down our family and ended in having to sell the home that Daddy had built especially for their retirement years. His untimely death at age 72 was not anticipated. Mom whose health had been precarious all of her life, was going to have to go on without him. In her frustration she adoped the song "You Picked A Fine Time To Leave Me Lucile", inserting his name of Lester, as her personal theme song.
Suffice it to say that I had just returned to Texas after a visit to Idaho to try to help her. I felt my hands had been tied as Mom in her independence, had invited me to "but out." It was more a gesture of love than malice. She knew I had a family of five and she didn't want to burden my already well burdened life. As it turned out she was in desperate financial trouble and didn't want to admit it to me. She had always been the Matriarch, ...in control. Dad in his quiet way had been the silent partner in the family business. His strength was in his enovative, entrepreneurial approach to life. They had complemented each other as they worked side by side.
Now as I pondered the situation, I tried to figure out a way to deal with the situation ...long distance. Daddy was not a religious man, and after I found my destiny as a member of the Mormon Church, I never knew for sure what he thought about my life style. I knew he was proud of the way my family was turning out. One couldn't help compare the other 4 grandchildren's lives as they struggled trying to find their way in a broken home. In fact ...Mom and Dad had to raise them along with their Dad , my Brother Jack, who never quite grew up.
About two days after our return from Idaho, I had an insightful dream. Our children had a standing joke, "...you had better behave or Mom will dream about it and catch you out!"
No one questioned the message the dream brought.
Envision if you will, the inside of a typical chapel or mortuary setting. The pews, carpet, podium, and chairs were all familiar props. The family, ...that is, descendants of Mom and Dad were once again gathered together. We sat in a semi circle around a casket that sat in the customary place before the podium. No flowers, ...just bare casket.
Mom had insisted that we should hold another funeral for Daddy. Mind you ...this was some 5-6 years after his death. I was sitting on the end of the row, on a chair that would have been closest to the head of the casket. Even so, I seemed to be facing the rest of the family in the circle.
An air of waiting or anticipation seem to prevail. I was vaguely aware that I needed to place a single white Lily in the casket ...not on it, but in it. I held it in my hand, and as I started to rise, I looked down and I discovered my shoes were missing from my feet. I was over whelmed with the need to find the shoes before we could continue with the service. Everything was placed on hold while I looked for them.
They were not to be found in or around the pews or anywhere else in the room. Then I spied them. They were sitting side by side off to the right, at some distance from the casket. Relieved to have found them, I started forward to retrieve them. Then it became apparent they were sitting within two much larger foot prints. The prints were perhaps 2 feet long. I slipped my feet into my shoes and as I did, I was aware that I had actually put both pair on my feet; my shoes slipped, slipper fashion, into the other. I left them on my feet and went back to resume sitting in my chair.
I became aware that the casket was slightly open and there was an overwhelming odor permeating the air. Turning I looked closer and I discovered, ...sure enough, the casket was open about an inch. I thought to myself "How long is she (Mom) going to make us endure this?" I looked again and the casket lid had popped open. The Dad's skeletal remains in the casket, were lying in fetal position on his side. It appears to be just skin stretched over bones. The smell of death was over powering and I thought again "...how long is she going to make us endure this?" I felt bitter and hurt about the whole thing.
At this time my attention was drawn back to the open casket. As I watched, Daddy's spirit arose from the remains, stepped from the casket, shut the lid and held out his hand to me. I hesitated momentarily, then I rose and as I held out my hand to him, he took it in his. He was dressed in a draped white robe or cloth secured around the waist.
I had a very vivid impression , my sense was of a feeling ...almost wax like. The feeling was of being smoothly enveloped. He didn't say anything, but put his arm around me across my shoulders and walked me into the vicinity where I had found the shoes. I had a very peaceful, loving feeling toward him. The aroma of fresh Lilies permeated the air. Then he looked at me and said "Look to your Mother", just that, ...with a very loving , caring and comforting attitude. His entent was that I was to assume his place, ...step into his shoes and give her help. The veil then fluttered and wafted away as though in a gentle breeze, closing the window that had brought the vision, but has fluttered in my memory every since.