I had an odd dream the other night.
I was in a large sunny living room looking out the window when I saw Chris walking towards the building. Beside him was a medium-sized, brown and black dog - sort of a Heinz 57.
In my dream, I knew that Chris was dead so I was elated and overjoyed to see him alive. I rushed to the door but when I opened it, only the dog was there, coming towards me.
I closed the door and went back to the window where, once again, I saw Chris and the dog. Once again, I rushed to the door but again I saw only the dog.
A third time and the same sights appeared to me. Then I woke up.
Anyone who knew Chris and I knew that we longed to adopt a dog. Chris firmly wanted to wait until we had a house and I was - and still am - torn over bringing a new animal into Sprockets' quiet, sunset years. Chris used to tease me that if someone were pushing a baby stroller and walking a dog, I would push the stroller out of the way to coo over the dog. It's an easy way to my heart!
When I read Marley & Me several years ago, I wept my way through the last chapters like a baby. All the while Chris sat rubbing my legs and handing me tissues, gently suggesting that perhaps I should put the book aside since I was taking it so hard. "I c-c-ca-can't stop." I blubbered and then the dam really burst as I closed the book.
I should have known better when I went to see the movie. Obviously I knew I would cry (you'd have to have a heart of stone not to!). But sitting there in the dark watching the heart-breaking ending unleashed a torrent of emotions and memories. All those corny Hollywood images of family-time and crazy doggie antics just made Chris' absence all the more painful. He never did get a dog of his own - our own - a dog to make us a family. And watching Owen Wilson say goodbye to Marley at the clinic just reminded me of saying goodbye to Chris at the hospital.
God I was a mess! I just couldn't stop crying - really sobbing, long after most people had pocketed their tissues and left the theatre. I think Chris' mom and grandma were a bit freaked out, not sure what was going on or what to do. Of course I finally got myself together after hiccuping out all these feelings and memories.
I've been thinking about that dream. It's easy to fill it with symbolism and meaning from beyond the veil. Chris is bringing a dog into my life, telling me to get one; reassuring me that I could do it on my own; reminding me that he's no longer alive but that he will always be looking out for me; I'm looking for something outside of myself to bring my life new meaning; I'm ready to open new doors but perhaps not ready for what I might find there; and so on and so on... The interpretations are as endlessly varied as my moods and one's perspectives. Just like life I guess.
I hope that Chris is happily playing in sunny, wide-open field with his beloved Sasha along with Pippen and Stella and Arbus and Charlie and all the puppies in heaven.