Conversations with Dead Husbands

Just to clarify, I get song signs from my late husband, Will, and that’s it. There’s never been anything more aside from a couple of dreams here and there where he has more or less been just an extra. He doesn’t speak to me or rattle windows or make the floorboards squeak. In the early months after his death, he – according to Dee – would stop by and play with her and there was that picture he showed his face in, but he saves visitations for Rob.

I’m not kidding. He visits Rob in dreams.

I woke Friday morning to find that Rob was up even earlier then usual and dressing in the shell of our not quite finished walk-in closet. Allergies are currently beating me about the sinuses and ear tubes due to the fall harvest ringing our little hamlet with a thick dusty residue making uninterrupted sleep impossible, so I lay in bed for a bit to get my bearings. The other night I’d heard my name being called from the corner of the room by the wall cupboard and for some reason I glanced over there this morning. I saw a bright glow behind the door that quickly skipped to the middle of the room and vanished on a run towards the blinds.

“Was it headlights maybe?” Rob asked when I told him.

No, headlights aren’t yellow or perfectly round and they leave streaks.

But I digress because I only mentioned the voice and the light to Rob after he told me about the dream that woke him up early.

“I was sitting at a lunch counter with Will,” he said. “He was on one side and I was on the other. There was a third person too that I didn’t know and seemed to be facilitating our conversation.”

I searched the first husband archives in my brain for a place that matched the description. Nothing matched. We didn’t have haunts like that though something makes me believe it was a place where Will used to play pool. Perhaps in one of the little hole in the wall southern Iowa towns in Warren county.

“I wasn’t sure it was him at first because he had longish hair and was leaning forward so the hair covered the sides of his face,” Rob continued.

Will started losing hair shortly after we were married. It vexed him horribly because male pattern baldness ran on both sides of his family and, in addition, he was sprouting hair on his chest for the first time.

“I’m going to be bald and have a hairy back,” he would complain. “Great.”

But when he was young, and unemployed, he had long hair and really wanted to find a job that would sanction long hair. He kept his hair short – sometimes shaved to the wood – for comfort in the stuffy warehouse were he worked and then later because of the fact that his hair was falling out, but he really was a Kurt Cobain wanna-be with his flannel shirts, dreams of long locks and a dark inner poet.

“We had a long conversation, and I don’t remember it all but two things stood out,” Rob told me. “He said he wanted to take a bike trip in Mesa Verde with you and that he thought I was doing a great job with Dee.”

Will talked a lot about the Boy Scout camp down in New Mexico. It was his favorite place after the mountains. We schemed for a while about making a move to Denver after we were married, and he always talked about wanting to make sure that at some point we took our children to visit his favorite places out West.

“And then there was a group hug at the end,” Rob finished.

The last time Will visited Rob in a dream, he hugged Rob. Hugging was something he picked up from my mother – who basically forced the whole huggy culture thing on our family when she went through her middle-life crisis and was a Charismatic for a while. The hugging stuck and the talking in tongues mercifully faded into family folklore.

I have to admit that sometimes I am a bit annoyed by the surreptitious way Will keeps tabs and inserts himself. However, I am glad for the mini-updates on him, knowing that he is getting on with his existence on whatever plane he is residing and is happy with the way things are going here.

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