On Memorial Day, Teri Gross interviewed a father whose son was killed recently in Afghanistan. He spoke fondly of how his son had always cared for others; and then he said that he had dreamed about his son just before he died. In the dream, his son was dressed in his army uniform, speaking to him, but he couldn’t hear the words. Then, in the dream, his son became a child again and climbed into a glass coffin. Climbing out of the coffin, he became the soldier again, saluted his father, and then the phone rang, bringing the father awake. The call was his son's wife, to tell him the army had just told that her husband was killed.
When my wife's best friend was dying, we went to see her one last time. I took my guitar just in case, and sure enough, Dianne requested “Teddy Bears’ Picnic.” The hospice caregivers were with an outfit called "Dragonfly," and days after Dianne died, as I sat on the patio with my morning coffee, a shiny indigo dragonfly buzzed around me, peering into my face. Same thing happened to my wife, her husband Ed, and her daughter. Ed’s sister had been very close to Dianne, and at her office in Alexandria a dragonfly flew in the window and landed on her desk, then fluttered all around before flying back out. Only later did we find out that dragonflies are traditionally thought to be the souls of the dead coming to comfort their loved ones. Hard not to believe that, and I won't even try.