If Only In My Dreams

If Only In My Dreams

If my dreams are the only place I can see you, Pop, I'll take the dreams over nothing.
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On January 4, 2017, my grandfather, better known to me as "Pop" went on to his everlasting life in Heaven. While the reality of him being with Jesus and reunited with his family and friends that have already passed on is so wonderful and incredible, his earthly family, myself included, all miss him more than we can put into words. Pop was the head of our family and the wind beneath all of our wings. Life without him truly does not feel normal, nor does it feel like he is gone, even though deep down I know that he is. While I can't call him on the phone and ask for advice or just talk his ear off anymore, somehow I feel like he is with me every step of the way.

About a week ago, I was very down on my luck. Nothing seemed to be going right for me in any way, shape or form and I was very, very upset. All I wanted to do was to call Pop and just talk to him, and hear about his trip to the grocery store, the history book he was currently reading or his most recent meal from Cracker Barrel. Of course, this just made the hurt worse, because as soon as I started to dial the number, I knew that no one would be there to answer. There was a very small part of me that wanted to leave a message and pretend like he wasn't at home when I called and that he would be calling me back later. I could hear his voice saying "Hey Tay! How ya doin'?" so clearly, it brought tears to my eyes. So, after a few minutes of a weird breakdown that I seem to have every once in a while, I mustered up the courage to play some of his old voicemails that I hadn't listened to since the day that he died.

A couple of hours later, after I had played his voicemails about 50 times and cried all of my tears about everything that I had going on in my life the past few days, I knew I had to turn things around. I had to pull myself out of this awful, "poor me" funk that I was trapped in. Pop would not want me to be so sad, he wouldn't want to see me crying like this. I would get through this just like I get through everything, with hope that things would turn around soon. Lucky for me, this time, I had an angel watching. This determined me to go after a few things that I had dreamed about and wait to see if maybe this time, they would come true, and I knew that I could get there one day. After all, the most amazing man that had ever touched this Earth believed in me, I needed to believe in myself too.

That following Wednesday, I had a very surreal dream. Maybe it was the pepperoni pizza that I ate before bed, but I believe it was Pop visiting me from Heaven. If that is the case, I really hope that won't be the last time I'll have a dream like that. I was stretched out on my grandparent's couch in their den, just seconds from sleeping, when my grandpa walked in with a box of "Chicken-in-a-Biscuit" crackers and a carton of cottage cheese with a pepper shaker, one of our favorite snacks. "T.A.," he said, "You've got to get up and eat something, girl, you've been laying there all day." I sat up on the couch quickly, delighted to see him in his typical button down shirt with trousers and slippers, of course, for maximum comfort. He took the yellow chair that sat across from the couch, and said "Now, what have you got to tell me?"

We talked for so long, but I didn't want any of it to end. I told him about the classes I was taking over the semester, the internships I had applied for, and then we just talked about the rest of the family and history, a lot about George Washington, who was his favorite president. I do wonder if he's gotten the chance to meet George Washington in Heaven and what they talked about, if so. My aunt walked in and sat on the couch next to me and joined in the conversation. After we all had laughed until we nearly cried, talked until our tongues were tired and had finished the box of crackers, Pop looked at his watch, just as he always did. "I have to go now." he said. So my aunt and I each grabbed a paper bag that they hand out at the grocery store full of Pop's things (that was always his favorite thing to pack things in for a trip) that were sitting by the door and took them out to the car for him.

We watched him walk out of the back door and across the stepping stones in his back yard with the same hop in his step that he always had, and up to the car, where we were waiting for him. We each gave him a hug and he said he would see us soon. He sat down in the car and started it, and I woke up. I tried to go back to sleep a few times, but I couldn't. I wanted to have the dream again, I wanted it to feel like I was talking to him in real life again. I was so sad that the dream had to end, but at the same time, I was so hopeful that it would happen again soon.

I'm still waiting to have a similar dream again, and hopefully, I will sooner rather than later. However, I have an amazing sense of confidence that it will happen when I need him the most. Since that dream, I have been much happier and have been able to sleep a little bit better at night. If my dreams are the only place I can see you, Pop, I'll take the dreams over nothing. Thank you for visiting me, please come again soon.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Acts 1:8 Ministry Explains How To Teach Your Child To Be Charitable And Compassionate

Acts 1:8 Ministry, a non-profit organization based out of Wisconsin, believes in building strong community foundations with integrity and humility.

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There have been many natural disasters that have wreaked havoc in the United States and around the world such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Over the last few decades, the generosity of Americans has become well-known, and it's vital to inspire this charitable and compassionate concern for others down to future generations.

Acts 1:8 Ministry has helped enrich the lives of others around the globe through the support of generous donors and volunteers who want to help spread kindness, strengthen their faith, grow the Christian church, and improve communities. To pay it forward, Acts 1:8 Ministry explains below how parents can instill charitable and compassionate qualities in their children through word, action and leading by example.

Start At Home

If you have more than one child, you know there are those times they don't want to share toys, snacks, or even friends. Teaching siblings to share is less complicated when you teach your children why the love for each other is so important. In a family unit, each member depends on all the others. Parents provide shelter, food, clothing, and different needs. Children contribute by helping with chores, obeying house rules, and doing their homework. Mutual love and respect are what strengthens the family unit. Working and giving together teaches invaluable lessons to children and builds a secure family unit.

Working Together For Others

Donating time at a food pantry, shelter, or meal distribution center for low-income families or homeless folks in your local area teaches your children the importance of caring for those who are less fortunate. Explain why it is wrong to judge people who need free services to survive. Your children may encounter people who are dirty and wearing smelly clothes, and they need to know not to say anything that would hurt their feelings or embarrass them.

Giving Together For Others

If your state has a beverage deposit on soda, juice, and alcoholic beverages, you and your children can collect discarded cans and bottles. The money you receive from their redemption can be donated to a variety of charitable causes including animal shelters, food banks, clothing distribution centers, or a local charity you support. There is always a need for cash at all of these facilities. Plan annual family fundraisers, such as yard, craft, bake, and plant sales. Donate the money earned to one or more charitable projects the family chooses together.

Establish Charitable Habits

Establish habits and family routines to encourage charitable acts. Choose things that fit your family's lifestyle. Keep a large "charity" jar and place a dollar amount in it every time the family does something special such as going to the movies, spending a day at a water park, eating out, or taking a vacation. Whenever the family spends money on a fun adventure or outing, setting a little money aside to be used for those who don't have the same opportunities helps children understand the need for caring about other people. Other things you can do as a family include:

• Reduce the amount of clothing in your closets, and donate clean and undamaged items to a charity that distributes clothing to low-income families.

• Clean out the toys. Donate unbroken toys and games to homeless shelters that take in families or to a home for battered women and their children.

• Donate your time to visit a nursing home, and talk to different residents. Encourage your children to ask the older folks to tell stories about their childhood.

• Bake cookies or bread together and distribute to older people that live in your neighborhood. Have your children make a card to give with the food gift.

• Help a neighbor who has been sick with yard work, taking out the trash, or other chores he or she is not able to do.

Children love making others happy and will continue to feel the same way as adults if you help them establish the habits of caring, sympathy, helping, and compassion when they are young. By teaching children the core values of caring and compassion, future generations of Americans will continue to be the world's most generous and compassionate people.

About Acts 1:8 Ministry:

Acts 1:8 Ministry is a non-profit organization that equips Christians to care, share and connect people to Christ through Christian kindness. The Planned Acts of Christian Kindness® Program has touched thousands of lives in the US and over 100 countries worldwide. Through the Water Project, over 130 water wells drilled, blessing hundreds of thousands of lives with clean water.

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Home For The Summer

Home sweet home.

dambro64
dambro64
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Now that school is finally over, I packed up all my stuff and finally got to go home and be with my family again. More specifically, I got to see my dog.

Moving out was a hassle. I didn't realize how much crap I actually had. Sure, it started off not too bad when I moved in, but over the course of the year, more and more stuff came into my possession. By the time I was supposed to move out, it was like I had twice the amount of stuff from when I started. It took two days to officially move all of my belongings back home.

Since being home, I've noticed a couple of things.

First of all, my mom missed me a lot. Hi, Mom. :)

It's not like when I went to college, I completely disappeared from my mom's life or anything like that. We talked on the phone often, and she would visit me sometimes to take me and my sister out to dinner or something with our dad. Also, with the number of times I had gotten sick throughout the entire year, it was like every other week I came home.

The first day I came home, she made a run to the store and called me asking if there was anything I needed, and I said not to my knowledge. She came home with a crap ton of my favorite ice cream and snacks, just because.

Another thing she's been doing is cooking every night. My mom works during the week, so understandably when she gets home, she doesn't always feel like slaving away in front of the stove to make dinner. However, for whatever reason, my mom has made it her sole mission to make me gain 20 pounds by the time the fall semester comes around.

She knows I hated the food at school, so whenever she cooks dinner, she mentions that I love being home because I get to have real food. I mean, I'm not complaining. Who doesn't love a homecooked meal?

I can tell my dad is pretty happy about me being home with the new change in the menu.

Second of all, for the time being, I have A LOT of free time.

Now, this will change once I get my summer job, but as of right now, I have nothing to do. Both of my parents work during the week, and I didn't really keep in touch with the majority of my high school peers, so I have no one to hang out with. I mean, I could see some of my college buddies and sorority sisters, but everyone lives far as hell away.

This is kind of difficult for me. Not because I can't just spend time alone; I have no problem with that. However, I'm used to having a full schedule. Aside from just being used to it, I like it. I'm one of those people who likes to keep busy.

When I'm out and about or have a lot of things to do, I feel productive. Now, I just feel lazy because I literally have nothing to do. To try and counteract this, I've resorted to doing a personal project throughout the summer.

I just need something to occupy my time. Boredom sucks.

I'm glad to be home, though. Living at college is great, sure, and you have all this freedom to do whatever you want and you won't get in trouble or whatever, but I don't really care about all of that. Family is very important to me.

My mom, as crazy as she is, is my best friend, I tell her everything. Living away from that can really stink. Makes me wonder if that is why I kept getting sick so much. Like it was my body's way of forcing me to go home and be with my family.

This summer is going to be a much-needed break from school. I'm excited to see where things go.

dambro64
dambro64

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