In a YouTube video I recently watched, Paul McCartney spoke of the uneasiness of being suspended in the haze of the 1960s. His mother had passed away ten years earlier. She appeared in one of his dreams and reassured him that everything was going to be all right. He speaks of it as a miraculous moment when he felt like he was with his mother. His mind didn’t tell him to turn away from her because she shouldn’t be there. His mother realized that he was struggling. When Paul awoke from the dream he opened his eyes, exhaled and wrote “Let It Be.”
When Sarla, my wife who passed away last year was alive, she willingly spoke her mind. She was an open book. Many of her students and friends loved her for being so candid. Some have spoken to me of wishing that they could speak as freely as Sarla spoke. There were also times when her comments were unsolicited. For example, she opined that I could say what I needed to express with fewer words. She also offered unfounded driving advice when I was behind the wheel. Today I’m amused by these moments, even to the extent that I miss the interference.
Sarla has been appearing in my recent dreams. Mysteriously, she quietly recedes into the background of these dreams. When she was alive, I occasionally wished that she would put a lid on her outspoken tendencies. When she appears now in my dreams, I want her to tell me what she’s thinking and how she’s feeling. Just like Paul McCartney’s mom, I want to hear her talk about trusting that everything is going to be OK.
Sarla’s lingering presence also shows up during many of my waking moments, mostly as an unexpected flash of a past experience with her. These moments are sweet. Though I thought my grieving had ended long ago, I think that Sarla’s appearance in my dreams and my waking moments is another form of grief. It’s bittersweet. As Paul described his sense of being with his mother in his dream, I feel like Sarla is with me in these snippets of time. Though death took her precious life away, she is still stepping in to remind me of her presence. It’s as though she’s being defiant, boldly challenging her departure.
“Let it Be” could be taken as a formulaic admonition to not worry because it doesn’t help. I’m keen to the difference between saying the words and living the message. But the message is universal and it’s pertinent every day in numerous ways. There are times when the hardest thing to do is to let go of a troubling experience. At the same time, it’s often the only choice.