Grayson, a Sportsman

Before Grayson and I met in our 60s, he’d lived an active life and brought many stories to our marriage.

Some people are hunters. Grayson was a sportsman. Grayson’s idea of fun was to get out in nature. If he bagged anything, he considered it a bonus. Whether hunting or fishing, he meticulously followed the rules. Added to that, he never shot birds unless they were in the air. He felt it unfair to shoot them before they were up. And he always aimed for a deer’s head rather than its heart. A head shot is difficult. While it prevents the meat from a gamey taste, it is also a quick kill. The deer doesn’t suffer.

He hunted with others, and during duck season there was one guy who kept bumming shells off of him. Ammunition can be expensive, so Grayson reloaded his used shells. How could he discourage the freeloader? Ah, an idea! He loaded some special shells.

“Hey, Grayson. You got some shells I can borrow?”

“Sure.”

The guy loaded his shotgun, fired at the next flock of ducks.

Confetti!

I don’t know if anyone laughed, but the bummer’s face must have turned red. He never bothered Grayson again.

 

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The Corn Maze Romance

4-H sponsors a corn maze and pumpkin patch every October. When I first became aware of the corn maze, I wanted to walk it. Having never done it before, I felt shy and hoped to find someone to go with me. Should I ask my landlady? She’d probably say yes, but she had a habit of fizzling out before we’d get far. There was the guy, a widower, who was helping her out. He’d even come like a knight to the rescue to help me repair the siding on my mobile home that the wind had torn loose. I hadn’t known I even needed rescuing, but that was his way.

Thinking he might scorn my desire to go through a maze as silly and childish, I nevertheless asked him. “Grayson, would you like to accompany me?”

Without hesitation he agreed. And he agreed to our first rule. Always turn in the same direction. That way, we’d get the most out of the maze, and we wouldn’t get lost.

Much later, he told me he found me interesting, and by the second year, we were going together. So when we entered the corn maze, he added a new rule. Never skip a cul de sac. In each one, a hug and a kiss.

The third year, with the two rules intact, we visited the maze as a married couple. It had become our tradition, and we continued with but one skip.

In 2008, a horrendous year for so many, with the tanking economy, the raging storms, the multi-state wildfires and weeks of smoky air, and my Grayson in the hospital for three months with e-coli, no one had a chance to use the corn maze. A tornado had flattened it.

We resumed our walks through the maze until Grayson passed in 2018. Of all the traditions we experienced, that is the one that stays with me as a celebration of our love and sharing.

Dreams of Grayson

Grayson's casket, 6-1-2018_0223

For months Hubby suffered the worst of agonies, pain so intense I wondered how he could possible take it and remain sane. Eventually he demanded release. From dialysis, from insulin, from any treatments to prolong his life and suffering. He blew me a kiss and told everyone, “The wife gets it all.”

And I didn’t learn until later that he, a Protestant, took confession from a Catholic priest at the hospital. I realize he was saying, “I’ve served my time in hell; now I’m knocking on heaven’s door.”

Home hospice is a wonderful service. Ministered to by loving nurses, by wonderful relatives, and me, Grayson declined rapidly, from joking on his first day home, to passing over a week later.

I dreamed I was letting him go, and that day is the day he left us. The Neptune Society came, placed him in a casket, draped it with a flag in honor of his military service, then folded the flag and gave it to me.

He was my buddy, my best friend, and I missed him terribly and wondered what it was like for him on the other side. Weeks later I had a dream that showed his application to heaven had been accepted. He was astonishingly beautiful. Youthful, healthy, joyful, and busy. He was carrying a tray of pastries and giving me more than I could eat.

I’m a natural skeptic. Was the dream wishful thinking? Whether or not, I cherished it and wanted to believe he is in a beautiful place in every way.

Months later I read a list in online Readers Digest of those who’d had near-death experiences and wrote books about it. In the site Trendingly, I read of the neurologist who had died and came back, with evidence that his experience of the afterlife was real.

That helped me believe my dreams of Grayson. In the next one, I was resting in the arms of my hubby. It was a protective embrace, nonsexual but loving. And he was letting me know that he was releasing me from my wedding vows, just as I had released him. “Til death do us part.” The marriage had ended. Nevertheless love never dies. His protection and love would be with me, as if from a guardian angel.

So now I accept that my dreams of Grayson are true. I’m grateful he is thriving. And I feel a subtle sense of protection and love. It gives me a peace I’d been lacking. Perhaps I will always miss my buddy. Since his passing, I am more easily moved to tears, not only for myself but out of compassion for others who suffer. And not a day goes by but I don’t think of him and cherish his memory. Just as when he was here in this life, I still enjoy talking about him. My buddy, my hubby, my love.

Dreams, More than Entertainment

In the window above my kitchen sink hangs a pretty sign my hubby gave me. It says, “May all your dreams come true.” Always I would change that message in my mind to read, “May all your GOOD dreams come true.”

Lately though, I realize all dreams are good, and most represent what is happening now. It is the rare dream that is prophetic. I remember a couple over my lifetime. I remember more dreams about the past, more common than the prophetic. Both types are interesting and informative. Because we live in the present, however, most dreams tell you what is going on with you now.

Dreams have their own logic and symbolism. Most people may dismiss them as meaningless entertainment, but if you interpret the dream’s language, you discover its importance.

Dreams are personal. While one size does not fit all, certain symbols seem universal. For example, a car may represent your body. Are you driving the car, or is someone else driving it? That is, are you in control of your life or is someone else in control of it?

It’s not the best idea to have someone interpret your dream for you. They might tell you, for example, that dreams of flying represent death. Maybe to them, but not to you. Meanings of symbols differ according to culture or personal experience. You can accept help from an interpreter, but the dream message is for you and not them. It’s up to you to use your own understanding of the symbolism as it pertains to your life. A dream might tell you that your male and female hormones are properly balanced. It may tell you where you are in your monthly sexual cycle. It might tell you when your allergies are bothering you. For example, if anyone in my dream is smoking, it’s telling me I’m having problems with air pollution.

Have you ever dreamed about being late to class or a job or of losing your way? Nightmares are usually the release valve on what would otherwise become a pressure cooker of stress. If a nightmare stirs your emotions, it might be a warning that something needs to change. A job, a relationship, a medical situation.

Dreams are progress reports, guidance and preparations, warnings, and comforts. They cover everything about you. Your potential, your growth, your decline, and what lies beyond. Pay heed.

 

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