Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Dead We Know

The other night I dreamed about Eric, a friend of mine who died several years ago. We were never that close but I had known him since middle school and I always saw him around until I left Oklahoma for college. When I saw him, I would always say hello and I can still remember his goofy, shy grin as he said, "Hi Theresa" and then looked quickly at the ground.

Eric was a dreamer. Most people thought he was slow but he had a huge heart and I think his naive kindness made people think he was not as intelligent as he was. He was easily led by other people and he got mixed up in things he shouldn't have, probably in part because of his laid back and simple nature.

One time in middle school a teacher asked him if he had a homework assignment and he started to dig in his backpack, throwing pieces of paper all over the floor. His book bag was literally crammed to the brim with wrinkled paper. We were all astounded. It was like Mary Poppin's bag, the crushed paper wads were never ending.  He slowly uncrumpled each piece, occasionally looking at my teacher with an amused and embarrassed smile that said, "I can tell you are annoyed and I am kind of enjoying this but please don't give me detention."

Eric died suddenly, he was shot by someone who was supposedly his close friend. I was told that it involved drugs. When I found out about his death I cried bitterly. He was innocent and simple and his life ended so savagely and in such a dark place. Even though I did not know him well, I had this irrational wish that I could have protected him somehow, sheltered him from the world.

Eric appeared in my dream the other night. He was the same - simple and kind. But he was also different. He was as child-like as ever but wise at the same time. He seemed to see everything, to be aware of everything, in a way he never was before. And his eyes told me that he knew true Love now, that he was in a place of rest.

As we enter November, the month where Catholics pray for all souls in the state of Purgatory (those souls being cleansed before they enter into full communion with God in Heaven), I am remembering the friends and family close to me who have died.

I remember Elinor and Charles Shea, the matriarch and patriarch of the Shea family who are looking down at all of us from heaven with a smile.

I remember Paul and Phil Noble, two men I wish I had known better.

I remember parents of friends - Gabe, Brooke, Anne, Marilene, Angela, Teresa and Lucie - who have died.

I remember Eddie and Caia, two people who died too soon. 

I remember Joe, my friend who also died too soon and whose death deeply affected me - it was one impetus that caused me to reevaluate my own life and eventually convert back to a faith in God.

I remember Stubby, another sweet and simple soul gone too soon who smiles down at me from heaven, healed and whole.

I remember everyone who has died and I hope that when I get to heaven, they all will be there to spend eternity with God.

If you would like me to include someone you love in my prayers this month, please comment on this post with their name or message me on Facebook.


  1. Oh Theresa - such a beautiful story - and remembering a grandmother you loved so much and a grandfather you never met but who you would have loved to be near. He was a gentle man full of music and laughter and love. When he was the cantor at Mass I loved to hear him sing and to see him standing tall at the ambo. You have blessed me today with fine memories - thanks sweetie - Aunt ME

  2. Thank you Aunt ME for sharing the beautiful memories, there are so many things that have been reminding me of you lately. One was a sister who visited who strongly reminded me of you and I found out she was from Bay City! Love you! Give my love to Uncle Pat, Caroline & Jessie and family, Joanna, Robin, Robbie,and Sheala!!

  3. Great post, as always Theresa! Very thought provoking. I do have a prayer request-- Brandon and Keely, brother and sister who died last winter in a car accident.
    They were family friends. I met them when I was a boy and they were just toddlers. I remember them best as children, especially Keely, she was sweet and loving- which we thought was gross as boys. I think of them and I think of my children and I feel heartbroken at the thought of losing them. I know their parents have truely been.

    So, if you could pray for them, and all parents whose children have passed.

  4. Thanks Chris, I will definitely keep Brandon, Keely and all parents who have lost children in my prayers. I was just reminded today of a co-worker I knew in CA who lost her daughter Nikki. The pain of losing a child is so intense and it must affect parents' faith also. I will definitely be praying for that intention. Much love to you and your family Chris!!