Thursday, December 11, 2008

My father’s ghost

I had one of my rare dreams the other night—a dream that I am in (as me) and involving people and places that actually exist. It was a long and complicated dream and I’ll spare you the details. But as part of it, I was hanging around with a bunch of ghosts. Not scary ghosts going “whooo” and rattling chains, simply spirits of dead people. One of them was my dad. And at first (in the dream) it was cool to have my dad’s ghost around—not much different from having a flesh-and-blood Alzheimer’s dad—there but not there, you know?

But as I spent more time trying to communicate with my father’s ghost, I realized something horrible. Something that stayed with me when I woke up, even as the other details of the dream faded away.

My father’s ghost still had Alzheimer’s.

How unfair is that? In the dream, and now, awake, I raged against that. That is not how it is supposed to be. If you have dementia, when you die, you get everything back. You have to. You die and you go to the Elsewhere bar and have a drink. Whatever it was your soul was supposed to learn (or teach you) by stripping away your memories and your personality, you learn it and have a good chuckle, and then you hold the door for some newcomers (8 per hour, just from the US).

You don’t come back as a sad, demented ghost.

I don’t know what in my psyche triggered that dream and I can only hope that it was wrong.

(cross posted to my Alzheimer's blog)

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