“Doesn’t he look like George?” my wife asked me this past Sunday?
“No. No, he doesn’t,” I responded…which was strange, because I think everyone looks like George. Or should I say that I see George everywhere these days.
George was my best friend, but he died in March of 2009. That was devastating because I always thought we’d end our lives together just as we’d begun: playing leisurely games of backgammon while listening to music that we both shared a passion for. Now, obviously, all hopes of this are crushed. Things would not turn out as I’d planned.
George and I had drifted apart over the years, but we sporadically reconnected and reaffirmed our bond. We came from the same mold; we were the same. I had a grand scheme where we would eventually drift back together later in life, just as subtle deviations in the wind can affect the movement of two leaves towards the ground. One may swirl around and meander while the other takes a more direct route, less caught up in the gusts than the other. But they will both eventually get to the ground.
So I didn’t think that the person from last Sunday looked like George. I didn’t even see a faint resemblance. Oddly enough though, I’ve been seeing George quite often at various times since the two years he’s been gone. I see him in the face of people I come across everywhere. And I get interesting visits from him in vivid, lucid dreams. The most memorable was the night of my 37th birthday. My friends had come by earlier in the day for a barbecue and it was nice to have the old group together. But it wasn’t the whole group. That night, he paid me a special visit and even recited some poetry while giving me suggestions of how it could be put into a tune. We talked about heaven and he told me it’s the same there as on earth – that the same annoying people were doing the same annoying things. I asked how that was possible, but he brushed me off. I think he was just trying to make me feel better about where I was.
In another episode, he berated me for my poor memory and inability to be normal despite my brain injuries when I was younger. In another, we were back in elementary school and I tried to warn him of the circumstances of his death so he could avoid it in 30 years, but someone grabbed me and threw me in a trash compactor. In our most recent meeting this past Sunday night, I distinctly remember talking with him about how he was dead and this was only a dream and I asked whether it was really him that I was talking to. He was pretty quiet and not his normal outwardly happy self. He was a bit serious as he showed me around my own home and the many structural problems with it. Then we were on the street with friends and his sister and mom. They were a little cold to me. I felt I knew why at the time, but now, reflecting on the dream I don’t know why. I remember thinking how usually when I realize I’m dreaming I wake up pretty quickly soon after, but this time I didn’t.
So, I’m not an expert in psychology, but I realize why these things happen and I’m getting better at dealing with it. By writing about it here I’m really just blowing off some steam and feeling better about things. If there are others with similar experiences I’d be interested in hearing about it.
George would have been 38 today. Happy birthday, Yorgo. I miss you.