Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A birthday visit

Last night my friend Dorothea visited me.

I don't often remember dreams, but I woke up this morning remembering a very vivid encounter with her. I can't remember any dream like this one.

 With our friends Elizabeth and Mary, in July 2002.

Dorothea survived polio as a child, and the horrors of an extended hospitalization subsequent to her diagnosis. She wound up needing leg braces, but learned eventually to walk and to become an independent, strong woman.

A husband and daughter and successful career as a poet and educator later, Dorothea discovered Post-Polio Syndrome robbing her of her mobility and independence. She spent more and more time in her wheelchair, and ultimately lost any ability to walk at all.

With Mary and another friend at Disneyland, celebrating our March birthdays in April 2002.

She broke one of her legs in a couple of places, which confined her to her bed. That's where she was the last time I saw her. I was home on leave from Iraq, and drove about three hours to get to the spectacular home she and her husband had built in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

She was in a lot of pain, and pretty grumpy, but by not buying into her attempt at self-pity, I was able to get her laughing before I left. She had a great laugh.

She died before I got home from my combat deployment.

I miss her.

A great many of my friends and relatives have died. I miss them all.

Dorothea is the only one who's come to visit me, though.

In the dream, she was still disabled, and asked me to help her move. That was quite a scene.

But then, all of a sudden, she jumped up and pirouetted in the air, landing nimbly on her feet, laughing and smiling.

Then I woke up.

Yesterday was her bithday.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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