Sunday, January 29, 2006

"So Long and Goodnight."

No, this isn't the end of the blog. It's a lyric from My Chemical Romance's song "Helena".

Let me back up.

Two nights ago I had an incredibly lucid dream. I was laying on a brand new Sleep Number bed, that I'd bought with some of the flood reimbursement. I could have sworn I was sleeping downstairs in my finished bedroom, not tossing and turning on a cheap air mattress on my office floor. I opened my eyes and the clock radio said 4:59AM. I heard raspy breathing - the kind I'd listened to for the last three hours of Sam's life. The sickly attempt to gulp oxygen into a body that is shutting down.

I knew it was her. I knew Sam was laying next to me in the bed. She was sick, but at least she was alive. I rolled over and saw her as she'd been the few days prior to her last - shaved head (hair partially grown back), sunken cheeks, huge dark circles under her eyes. But it was her! I tried to sit up, but my body was sluggish and unresponsive. I kept trying to yell out, "Sam, is it you? Sam, is it you?" but my vocal chords were paralyzed. I wanted to embrace her and just hold her living body once more. To feel as she felt the night of April 11th, not the morning of April 12th. When she was still warm and alive.

And as I clumsily moved in closer to hold her, her eyes snapped open with a look of abject terror and astonishment. It scared me awake immediately.

So imagine my surprise when I was flipping through the music channels this morning and caught the video for "Helena", in which mourners at a young woman's funeral are caught up in their own grief and don't notice her rise from the open casket and engage in a final celebratory dance before she falls back into the box and is carried away by the band, all pallbearers.

Now keep in mind, I'm not a big fan of MCR, or of emo in general. It's like goth went back in time and mated with the early guitar-based new wave from the late '70s and this was its unholy spawn. Also keep in mind that I had the dream before seeing the music video. But now I can't shake the image of Sam's astonished wide-eyed look, remarkably similar to this...

What's the worst thing I could say?
Things are better if I stay
So long and goodnight
So long not goodnight

This also came right after I'd heard that the new cultural center (at which the Pandemonium Players will be anchor tenants) will be dedicating the light booth to Sam. We thought it might just be her name on the back of a seat. But this is the whole booth. Lights and audio control, where she spent much time in her last eight years at various theaters around Seattle. A fitting honor for a dedicated thespian.

She would have loved the production of Sleeping Beauty we saw at the Seattle Children's Theater tonight. I'll link to a review over at Manic Lobster later... right now I'm exhausted and children must be awoken bright and early.

Life marches on.


Darth Jim Scott the Fourth said...

I guess your mind is going threw a gambit of emotions. It is natural that it would manifest itself in your dreams.

I prayed for you and your family at Mass yesterday.

God Bless

Karyn Ann in San Fran said...

This entry really amazes me! This is the first time I have ever heard anyone speak of this kind of experience - I had exactly the same experience back in 1996, about a month after my husband Bruce died. I awoke early in the morning to find him next to me - looking as he had looked a few weeks before he died, snoring away - with his arm over me (the way we often slept). I was ecstatic for a few seconds, then I tried to speak and I could not - for a minute I thought that I might be dying too - then I closed my eyes - and when I opened them - I found that he was gone - and my own arm was in the position that his had been. Thank you for writing this Todd - now I really KNOW that it happened - for real!! Perhaps, after death, they do get one final chance to reach us.

Anonymous said...

Hey Todd, I read about the fire on WidowNet... I learnt you just lived through one of my remaining greatest fears. I cannot imagine how I would feel if all my own precious memories of the person I lost had been eaten by fire as well--I truly hate and despise flames of any kind. And telling the kids about the cat. The cat that ran out the other side of the house, right? There is nothing else I can add other than that I am so sorry and thinking of you.

Thoughts, "Peony4u"

Anonymous said...

Wow that is so freaky. BTW apprently MCR are not emo, they denied it in an interview.