Eric Clapton

When Dreams Reunite Us


My dad used to visit on Sunday mornings. His arrival brought wit and cigarette smoke. When Deb played Sondheim on the piano, my dad was in heaven. Time for more coffee.

Years later, my mom visited on Sunday mornings, after church. We’d critique the sermon, talk about family, and recall our favorite scenes from Mad Men.

I see those days through the lens of memory – my dad died twenty years ago, my mom this past May. But my parents still come to visit. Randomly and unannounced, they appear in my dreams.

In one dream, I’m working with my mom at her store on Federal Hill. In another, my dad is watching me play basketball. These dreams comfort me. Waking up is bittersweet.

Not long after my dad died, I dreamt he sent me a card with a long handwritten note. That led to a poem called Dreamcard, which has the following ending:

     And then the card is a wall in my bedroom,

     a mural letter from my father to me;

     longed-for messages delivered through sleep,

     only to elude me as I awaken.

In 2002, on the first anniversary of George Harrison’s death, The Concert for George took place in London. The show, featuring Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, and other rock royals, built up to Harrison’s most popular songs. But neither Something nor My Sweet Lord was reserved for the finale. Instead, as rose petals fluttered from the ceiling of the Royal Albert Hall, Joe Brown closed the concert with a tune written almost forty years before the first shriek of Beatlemania: I’ll See You In My Dreams.

Perfect and sentimental and true.

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