Not long after Nathan died, I had a dream.

It wasn’t just an ordinary dream.  It was more vivid than normal. In it, I was sitting someplace talking with Nathan.  He was clueless. He didn’t know he’d died. (That is something I am quite sure is true.  He never knew.) I was explaining, and he said, “You are shitting me.”

It was quintessential Nathan, exactly perfect.  Eleven years later, I can still see his dream-face, and hear his dream-voice.  It’s very easy for me to think of that dream-conversation as a real event.

I had this same dream, or similar ones, off and on for about a year. They became less frequent over time, and the vividness began to fade.

Since then, I’ve noticed that lots of people think that when you have a dream like this, it’s a sign that the dead person is visiting you, that they are coming to you in your dreams to tell you that they are okay or whatever.

Nathan was not visiting me.

Last night, I had a very short, sudden dream.

I distinctly heard a voice call to me sharply and urgently, “Sal—wake up!”  The voice was clear, just as clear as Nate’s was in those immediate post-death dreams. I knew exactly who it was. I woke up immediately and it all felt so real that I got up and went to check on the wood stove and make sure everything was okay. It was so real and so profound that I was awake for about an hour afterwards.

A common phenomenon among people who live together for a long time is that a surviving person will actually see glimpses of their departed spouse or partner sitting in their favorite chair or standing in the hallway or standing at the sink washing dishes.  They literally see this. They aren’t imagining it or making it up.  Or they hear the voice of their loved one, quite audibly, talking in the next room.

Their brains are creating those images and those sounds. Their brain is putting together the thing they expect to see or hear.  Brains are funny things, and memory is weird as hell.  This is just one of those weird things that it does.

So, did some dead person come to me in my dream and speak to me so clearly?

Uh, no.

The voice was Dave’s and he was sound asleep the whole time.




Say Nothing

How many of us were taught by our parents that “if  you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing”?

I bet most of us were.

This is not exactly a universal truism.  It’s okay, and even a duty, for example, to speak up if you don’t like what a politician who represents you is doing.  It’s also okay with regard to very prominent, influential people.  I’m thinking here of Jerry Falwell.  When he died, Chris Hitchens famously said, “If you gave Falwell an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox.”

Hitch had a right to have an opinion about Falwell and to voice it. Falwell lived for controversy, reveled in it, created it, and was especially nasty when it came to atheism.

But, mostly, and especially when it comes to a funeral, it’s a pretty good idea to just shut the fuck up if you can’t say something nice.

Several years ago, a man died.  He was somebody I knew well, and had known for many years. I couldn’t stand him.  I’d never liked him.  He’d never liked me.  I doubt he ever had a good word to say about me.  The last time I spoke with him (on the phone), he hung up on me. I called him back and hung up on him.  Childish, I know, but golly I despised him.

He died.  He died younger than he should have died.

I didn’t care that he died, frankly.  I didn’t even feel badly for his family because I believe they are all much better off without him.

But you know what?  I never said so publicly.  I said so to Dave, and that is it.  Even now, I’m not going to identify him.  It’s just not useful to say something like that.  There were a few people who didn’t like our son, and there was one guy who expressed that in public, in an online forum, in the days immediately after his death.  I read it. I know how it feels to read something like that, and I don’t want to cause anyone to feel that sort of pain, so I refrain.

If I don’t like the person who has died, and if they weren’t particularly prominent, or someone who was influential in my own life and/or the lives of people close to me directly on a large scale, the proper behavior for me is to say nothing at all.

Let’s go back to Jerry Falwell.  Hitchens said what he said in order to minimize the adulation that would occur with Falwell’s legacy.  He wanted to lessen Falwell’s posthumous impact, with good reason. He wasn’t saying something nasty just to be nasty.  He had a purpose in mind, a positive outcome he was reaching for.

What purpose could it have served if I said publicly I didn’t like the person that I knew that died?  What good could have come of that?


And I knew it, so I said. . . nothing.

The president of the Mormon church died.

Nicole is not a member of the Mormon church, by her own words. She left the Mormon church.

She did not know this man personally.  He didn’t affect her life directly, because to my knowledge, he didn’t change the policies or tone of the Mormon church in any way that led to her exodus.

So why does she need to say this?  Why even post it?  The only reason for sharing that link was to give herself a platform to say that she didn’t like him.

She doesn’t tell us why.  We come away with no more information than we had before we started. She just didn’t like him. [This, of course, opens up the way to a question: Does Nicole like anyone?]

Some people are going to judge you and they’ve never even met you.

Maybe Nicole ought to read the shit she posts.





We’ve all seen the images by now.  Everyone knows who these folks are.

But several days ago, when this story first broke the news, I didn’t see those images.  I saw bits and pieces of headlines, with no images.

I was busy. I just sort of glanced at them.  It was about a day before I actually read an article about it.

What I gleaned from those bits and pieces of headlines was this:

First, the moron in the White House hadn’t bothered to call the surviving family members of the soldiers who died in the incident in Niger.

Second, he was being criticized for not having done so and responded with his usual Twitter-tantrum about how no other presidents ever called anyone either (which of course, as everything he tweets, is not true).

Third, he then finally called one of the family members and insulted them.

Fourth, the conversation was overheard and a congresswoman, whose name I did not recognize, repeated part of it to the media.

Fifth, the president then called the congresswoman a liar.

And that is all I knew for a fact.


All I knew that I had confirmed.

I didn’t know which soldier’s family he had called. I didn’t know the soldier’s name.  I didn’t recognize the congresswoman’s name at all. And I had not seen the images.

But there is something else that I suspected without any kind of confirmation.  I just knew.  I didn’t have to look.  I didn’t have to read it.  I just knew.

I knew that the soldier and the widow and probably the congresswoman were not white.  Not white.  I didn’t know if they were Hispanic, or black, or whatever, but I knew they weren’t white.

This has been followed, of course, by Trump sending one of his flunkies out to clean up his mess.  It’s what he always does, and this time he chose John Kelly for the job.

I know why he did.  Kelly is a sympathetic character. He’s lost a son to war.  He is a former general.  What he says carries weight as a result.


John Kelly had the bully pulpit and could have smoothed this ridiculous gaffe over.  He could have stopped it all cold.

He chose instead to sacrifice his own personal integrity to defend an ego-maniac.

It’s a very sad thing to see.  But it’s not the saddest thing.

By the time I saw Kelly’s lying tirade about the whole thing, I had seen photos of Rep. Frederica Wilson.  I knew that she’s a black woman.  I had assumed she was and my assumption was correct.

But had I not seen them, I would have known my assumption was correct.  Kelly’s tone and words confirmed it.

From where I’m sitting, that fact—the fact that I knew just by the behavior and demeanor and tone of the messages sent out by Trump and Kelly that the victims in this story are all minorities—is the saddest part of it all.

The video below is well worth watching.

Here’s a link in case the video gets wonky.