Chet Atkins · I'll See You In My Dreams · Jack

I’ll See You In My Dreams

Is this an ending or a beginning, or both?

Waving goodbye to family members backing out of my driveway, I felt the tension and relief ooze from my shoulders and back.

Must be the way that last dollop of toothpaste feels when it’s squeezed from a rolled and twisted tube.

Starting with the death of my husband seven days prior, and ending with today’s funeral for Dad the horrendous week left my bucket of energy and resolve depleted.

Can I sit down right here and melt into the concrete?

That alternative held more appeal than turning and confronting the silent house. Our home, no longer ours. 

It took more energy than I possessed to face the challenge of accepting, adjusting and changing. The grieving process would have to wait. I wasn’t ready. 

Carrying Jack’s doglet, I shuffled through each room, listening to the silence. The tears, I consigned to a wait bin in my heart, no longer restricted. 

Crying began slowly as I visited the spaces we had shared. 

Through my sadness I smiled at his favorite kitchen utensils: dangerously sharpened knives, never to be put in the dishwasher; the cast iron skillet cleaned and oiled a certain way I never mastered; stacks of paper plates and rolls of Bounty towels, his requirements for food preparation.

Whipping up scrupulous meals satisfied Jack’s culinary talents, and a need for edible cuisine dictated his eagerness to ban me from the stove. 

Smart move,” I assured him.

I wandered into the bathroom and skimmed my hand over the bristles of his hairbrush remembering how he smoothed his thick, wavy hair before heading to his workshop to build authentic chuck wagons.

Peering into his closet, the sight of his three pairs of handmade boots, numerous black, white and straw cowboy hats, some for work, several for dress, and the line of crisply starched and pressed white shirts and worn jeans, accosted me.

I crumbled on our bed sobbing while cradling the dog he loved. Chili was a gift I gave Jack three years earlier when alone in Birmingham he waited for a new lung. His health deteriorating, he jokingly told folks this Cock-a-Poo served as his breathing air service dog mandating her constant presence. 

Yes, Chili, we are going to miss him.

The quietness answering my gasps of grief and racking cries of anguish, echoed through the house, offering no comfort. I was alone. Damn.

Will this pain of loss and sorrow suffocate me? 

It must get better. I’m not the first woman to scatter her husband’s ashes, nor the only person whose father died 36 hours later. Am I? 

But the silence continued. The isolation, impenetrable. 

Tears running down my face, I whispered my heartache: Oh Jack, I’ll never see you again. God, I miss you”.

You will never lie here again, never hold me again, never kiss me again. never caress me again, never make me laugh again, never shout “God damnit Chili” again. You will never…

Drained of energy, thoughts, emotions, I collapsed pulling the sheet over my feet and feeling the doglet pressed against my back.

After midnight music interrupted my sleep. A passing car? But it continued and I struggled to wake. Stumbling to the living room, I searched for a radio that must be on somewhere in the house. 

Is someone in the house?

Panic gripped me. 

I ‘m alone, aren’t I? How did music start playing? Where is it coming from?

Slowly I recognized the artist and song: Chet Atkins, Jack’s favorite musician. 

Filling the room with the strum of his guitar, the country and western king serenaded me with I’ll See You In My Dreams.

I sank to the floor and burst out laughing. 

“It’s nice to hear from you Jack,” I giggled. “I don’t know how you got this stereo hooked up, but thank you.”.

“Next time could we do this during the day?  You scared the bejesus out of me!”

No response. But Chet crooned on and I soaked up Jack’s love and unorthodox appearance.

Yep, this is an ending and a beginning.

15 thoughts on “I’ll See You In My Dreams

  1. You’ve shared a very sad, yet joyous, story. Several years ago, my cat died and two days later my middle grandson died – the next night, the musical crib toy that I used to put in his crib with him when I babysat lit up and started playing his song. I felt warmth and comfort, once I got over the shock.


    1. Beautiful story. I understand (after it happened to me) that many people report having this type of event following a death connected with electronic equipment. I had heard of people ‘seeing’ or ‘hearing’ their deceased loved ones, but not a radio or stero or a crib toy communication. Powerful. Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the story. My mom told me a story when I was a kid. We used to live in India at that time near the lake. My dad was watering the plants outside. My sister was few feet away playing with a ball. My mom was giving my brother who was only 6 years old a shower. The phone rang and there was no one to get it. So my dad ran inside to attend it. He forgot that he left my sister alone outside. When he came back outside, my sister was nowhere to be seen. Worried he called my mom and all the neighbors. Some group of men jumped into the lake. Others looked around the garden. Half hour later, they found her body at the bottom of the lake. Her clothes were covered in mud, she was motionless. No one had no approximate calculation of how long she could be down there for. My mom gone into depression after my sister died. A year later, I was born. It made me smile when my mom told me I looked just like her. It’s been almost 22 years since my sister died. We still go to church every year for her birthday and the day she passed away. My mom is happy now, but I know she still thinks about her lost daughter every day.

    Sorry for the long post. But your story kind of reminded of a true story that happened a long time ago in my family.


    1. It is vital that we remember those who have passed from our families. I recommend the fabulous movie ‘Coco’. Not only is it delightful, but it addresses our deceased ancestors . Thanks for you response,. Made my heart sing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank You for suggesting the movie. I just looked it up and saw it is a anime. I loved anime movies when i was a child and I still do. So I’ll definitely watch it. Thank You 🙂


  3. The smell, it’s the thing that stays with you. I wore hubby’s dressing gown (robe) for two whole days, day and night after he died because I wanted to hang onto his smell. I can walk into a room and It’s there, his smell his aftershave and then it leaves just as suddenly as it came.


    1. Sue, what a great memory. I know people who have kept articles of clothing of loved ones, just to retain the smell. It is comforting, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing that personal story.


  4. I”m so sorry about your husband and your dad. That’s truly a lot to handle all at the same time. It would be a lot to handle individually. Hugs.

    I like to believe that we will see them again some day, regardless of our religion or lack thereof. Today I’m sitting in the house that my parents built, 14 years after they died. This morning I found a box of pudding, hard as a rock, in the pantry that expired in 2005. I smiled as I tossed it, thinking about how mom put it there 15 years ago. I know that’s weird, but it was sort of a connection with her. Everything here is a connection to them, as I’m sure you are feeling about your home. Let it all be a comfort to you.


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