THE SECON WORST THING that happened to me, the first being my mother’s death, happened on Sunday July 16, 1978. My father died! I was the last one to be called.
By the time I got to the hospital, the staff had already removed my father’s body from his room, and were in the process of redressing the bed for the next occupant. I never got to say good-bye.
Later, I found out that everyone knew he was in his last hours but had hid the fact from me because they assumed I couldn’t handle it.
‘The Voices’ took advantage of that fact. The dreams started again. In the most gruesome one, ‘The Voices’ were trying to make me think that I’d been responsible for my father’s death. He’d died of lung cancer from years of smoking, but ‘The Voices’ whispered night after night (beneath my window) that he’d given up fighting the cancer because he was ashamed of having a crazy no account daughter who couldn’t hold a job.
In the dream, I was in the cemetery, well after dark, literally on my knees trying to dig up my father’s body with my bare hands. Tears streamed down my face as I dug and dug. I would wake up from these dreams emotionally wasted and physically exhausted with my pillow soaking wet from the tears I’d shed in my dreams.
I would have this same dream night after night, and it kept growing in intensity until I realized that it was not my mind that was generating these dreams. But the mind of a sick child molesting psychopath.
The clue came one night in the middle of the dream. It was a small thing but something very significant to me and the way I thought about myself.
I was digging, crying, digging, crying, and digging. This time, there was this woman in a long gray dress standing over me at the top of the grave yelling, “Dig, Sis! Dig!”
Sis?, I thought. My sisters, my brothers, my mother, my father, my grandparents, and my step-mother, and all of their friends called me by my nickname, Sis. But, I would never — in a million years — refer to myself as Sis.
No, I sometimes jokingly refer to myself as Liza Mae, when I was being a stupid country bumpkin, or ‘E’ when I was feeling confident about myself. But never Sis! In that instant, I knew that my mind had not manufactured these dreams.. They were being conjured up by someone else.
I stopped digging and stared up at the woman in my dream. She was silhouetted against the night sky with a yellow moon behind her. I knew I had seen this woman before. I’d seen her on the street, driving by me in her car (with little kids in the back seat), and standing in the lobbies of downtown buildings wherever I had worked.
She was one of the two older women from the school’s cafeteria in Baldwin County Alabama. I woke in a sweat. “Had the entire family pulled up stakes and followed me to Chicago? And WHY?!