Riding the Wake

I experience visions. I will see a scenario in my head; it does not come from inside me, it won’t make sense with what I am doing, it will just appear before my eyes. Sometime later, usually that same day, the scenario will happen. I do not feel comfortable saying that it is a psychic vision, because I do not search for it. This week I was driving to meet some friends. I had a vision of a woman that was in a public place surrounded by people she didn’t know very well. This woman receives a text that a loved one has passed away. I wonder if the woman in this scenario is me, maybe I will be in class and see a text message that a family member has died. This makes me sad, but also prepared. Upon arrival at my friends house, I meet two women. They are interested in adopting one of my friend’s dogs so they are spending time with the dog. I am there for a few hours with my friend and these women when one of the women gets a text message that her mother in law has passed away. The mother in law had been battling cancer, but they thought she had more time. They are crying and hugging, and I start crying. This is very sad, but also it is my premonition come true. I tell my friend this, but usually people just look at me like I am crazy when I confess these things. It is okay, I think it is a little crazy too.

I went along with my week as normal, yet I have been very distracted. I have been helping a friend, on top of my regular home duties and college assignments. I have felt weighed down, but I thought it was just because it is the end of the quarter. I have lacked the ability to focus on anything for any period of time this week, and I didn’t know why. I have also felt exhausted, as if anticipating, and I couldn’t get the scenario of the vision out of my head. This morning I got a text from Mom; it was a group text, “Pastor M has died.” Numb. Awareness of being numb. How do I feel about this? I don’t know. I’m not sad, but not happy. Not mad, just disappointed somehow. Relieved? A little. Near the end he was still counseling people and still getting money from charities so he could have “one last vacation” before death. I have written previously of being visited by people after they have died. This is not scary to me, it is a way of life and I just know now that sometimes I will see people; mostly in my dreams but sometimes in that dream state between sleeping and awake. No one has ever bothered me; they have all just wanted to tell me that they are okay, and that they don’t remember dying, or pain. I am grateful for this. I had the thought that Pastor M might visit me in a dream. I told him that he is not welcome to visit me, and I know he won’t.

I got in the shower and let my mind think openly about Pastor M. I wanted to be free to not only think of the bad memories, but do I have any good memories? When a person dies, you are “supposed” to remember the good times… The time that I was riding in the backseat while he was driving. There were four other people in the car, and we were all singing along to music. Mid-song he turned the music down and said to the front seat passenger “Don’t you hate it when people think they are good at singing and they are not?” Then looked at me in the rear view mirror… ‘Move on, Erica, that’s not a good one.’… I remember the many times during the summer in which all the house painters would leave work early to meet Pastor M at the lake and he would tow us around in inner tubes. Some people liked to be wild and bounce over the wake, always falling in the water. I have a fear of water, so I told him that I didn’t want a crazy ride. He would say “I won’t” but then as soon as I got in, it would be a crazy ride. But I realize something now: those crazy rides taught me to hold on. I would watch his hands while they steered, and I could anticipate the next turn. I am not a big person so I would bounce over the wake, but I learned to balance my weight in ways so I wouldn’t fall off. The first time he did this I was sitting in the tube. He went over the wake, then back over. My toes went over my head and they touched the water. I said “NO!” and I pulled myself back down. Everyone in the boat had a shocked look on their face and Pastor M said my turn was through… I learned to watch, I learned to balance, I learned to ride the wake. I conquered a fear and found a new strength.

I grieve for a lost relationship with Dad. I do not want to live my whole life not being able to talk to Dad about the cult. I have a public blog where many people read my stories. So many cry and offer hugs and love. But not my Dad, the one I long to be close to the most. In learning of Pastor M’s death this morning, I saw my opportunity to talk to Dad. Dad had asked me to go hiking with him today. I originally said ‘no’ because I had other things to do. Just before bed last night I said to myself ‘When your Dad has time to spend with you, you spend it with him! This is what you want!’ I texted him and said I would go hiking. He said instead of hiking he wanted to make me breakfast. As we were sitting with our full plates of food I asked him if he would want to talk about the cult, if it would be okay. Mom has no problem talking about it, but Dad is always quiet. He told me some feelings that I have never heard him express: regret, sadness, grief, longing to be close to his children during that time so he could protect them. I did not attack, I did  not chime in, I only listened. When he finished talking I told him that I would like to talk more. I want him to know things about me that other people know. I just want him to know. I want him to know what happened when he wasn’t around. He said that would be okay…We talked about the times when we played in the “church” band together. Pastor M was the singer, Brother and Ted played guitars, Dad played drums, and I played keyboard. Dad and I were always at the back of the stage together. We didn’t get to talk, but we got to be close. Music was our activity together. I felt safe during these times. I would look at Dad and he would smile, I would smile back… This is enough for the day, we have opened the door.

Once again I find myself riding the wake, finding the balance, keeping my eyes forward, anticipating the next move. Only this time, I am not afraid of falling.

I love you Dad.


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