The Flea Sees All, Knows All...

My sister Flea called last night. In honor of her second month without Dad, she now has a really bad case of bronchitis. "It's the second month in a row," she wailed. "What is this?"

She doesn't wait for an answer. She knows. "It's grief," she says, coughing.

She wants me to believe Dad is all around me/us. "I talk to him all the time," she says. "If I don't, then I'll think he's really gone and I can't do that!" As further proof, she offers me the story of Dad's sister, Ann.

"I sent them a CD of the funeral. So Ann goes to play it but her CD player's broken. There's no way for her to hear it but she doesn't want to be rude and not thank Mom for sending it. So she's sitting in the kitchen with Peter (her husband) writing Mom a note about how she can't listen to it yet, but she will when she and Peter hear this sound coming from the living room."

I know what is coming but I don't really believe it until she says it.

"It's the funeral CD. She left it in the CD player because it wouldn't turn on and it wouldn't open to let her get it back out. It's playing the funeral service. Can you believe it!" Flea hacks away, caught between her desire to keep telling the story and her need to breathe.

"They listened to the whole thing and then guess what?"


"They can't get it out of the CD player because it's broken. So there it is. It won't turn on and it won't let go! Now, tell me that wasn't Dad at work!"


"Okay," I say grudgingly. "I get that he is all around. I just want to know why I haven't heard from him. Personally. Right here where I can see him or at least dream him."

"You gotta tell him you really need him to show up," she says. Like she's got a hotline to heaven and knows for a fact what's what in the Great Hereafter.

"I told him," I said. "Over and over again."

She doesn't even hesitate with her diagnosis. "Well, he's new up there, you know. And he's been sick. He's gotta build up his power. He can't just flit around from one of us to the other. He's got to build up his strength."

"So what am I, last on the totem pole?" I demand.

The Flea sighs and coughs at length. "I'm telling you," she says. "He's right there. Are you still taking sleeping pills?"

"I'm down to half a pill, if that,"I tell her.

"Well, are you dreaming?"

Like I'm doing something wrong and it's preventing Dad from showing up. How did it get to be my fault he's not haunting me?!

"Yes, I'm dreaming."

"Do you remember them?"

Oh, for Pete's sake! "Kind of. Enough to know Dad's not in them!"

She tells me there's this great psychic on Lifetime who knows all about these things and if I'd watch her, I'd understand all of this better. Apparently, she's seen a documentary on this person and as the psychic espouses the Flea's point of view. This makes the Lisa person one to watch.

I want to believe this, really I do. I want her to be right about this. I want to think Dad is right over my shoulder...most of the time...

I stand in the dark sunroom listening to the Flea, giving her short, one word answers because I am trying not to cry. Outside the white flower garden is still blooming on this late fall night.

Does Dad see the roses? Has he smelled the sweet scent of the phlox?

Does he know how much I miss him?

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