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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14 Things You Relate To If You Grew Up WithOUT Any Cousins

*GASP* "What, you really don't have any cousins?"

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It always shocks every person who hears me state that I do not have any cousins. For some reason, this is just hard for people to really believe when it's actually not something impossible. I think we are all just so used to large families that it sounds weird when people say that they have no cousins. Yet, it is definitely a potential reality, and actually impossible if each of your parents is the only child to your grandparents.

Here are 14 things that you can relate to if you grew up without any cousins.

1. Nobody believes you when you say that you don't have any cousins

I'm serious, for the tenth time.

2. Your grandparents spoil you

With no other grandchildren to worry about, it's pretty easy to do.

3. You don't understand when people say that cousins are your first best friends

My best friend was my first best friend.

4. You and your siblings are always the youngest people at family events

This was simultaneosuly a good thing and a bad thing.

5. You get all of the attention at holidays

Since you're the youngest one around, then distant relatives are always doting over you.

6. Everything you do is deemed awesome by your extended family because there is nobody to compete with

It's much easier to be praised when you aren't being compared to someone similar to your age.

7. You don't know how to hold babies

You're never around them so why would you?

8. Family photos are pretty easy to coordinate

The less people, the easier.

9. Other family members spoil you just because 

Afterall, you are the only kid around...

10. The family will make comments regarding the potential for you to have a cousin as a justification for why they aren't doing something for you

When you hear, "I can't buy you too much because someday your aunt is going to have kids and I will have to do the same for them" you cringe and just had to know that all of the attention wouldn't last forever.

11. Birthdays are always a big deal

A perk of not having very many to remember.

12. If your parents' siblings own pets, then you refer to the animal as your cousin

Cat cousins, dog cousins, lizard cousins, and fish cousins can be pretty cool, actually.

13. Sometimes you dream of marrying into a big family

This is to ensure that your kids do grow up with cousins.

14. You appreciate the closeness of your tight-knit fam

Maybe the only thing you would miss if you had a big family is the opportunity to develop such close bonds with the few relatives that you do have.

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