If you have a friend who makes you laugh, stay near to them. It’s hard to isolate one or two things that help us manage losses like the ones that are piling up, but I tend to gravitate toward friendship and humor. Boss mentions them as key elements in helping us become resilient during ambiguous loss: making sure we stay connected to a community (friendship) and an ability to find some humor in the midst of absurdity.
I woke up Wednesday morning from a dream—that was odd because I don’t dream much anymore. I don’t sleep well during the night as a result of an eye injury, so I’ve become a “bi-modal” sleeper—I try to get the sleep I need in more than one increment (read, I nap in the afternoon). My children think it’s funny when I fall asleep on random occasions, so they started an Instagram account called @dadnaps1. They take photos of me falling asleep in indiscriminate locations.
I made my cup of coffee that morning and googled, “dreams during Covid-19.” Turns out there has been a 4x increase in this kind of search. People are having more dreams and more vivid dreams. When asked to describe their dreams, the most common experience is having some kind of “bug dream.” Creepy!
My dream was of a friend—“Doobie”—who passed away 25 years ago. It was a happy dream because he seemed so present in my mind when I woke up. Doobie’s sister posted a photo of their mom on social media the day before and that brought back some great memories.
Doobie was a part of a group of friends that spanned several years of high school—small school, in a small town, we all knew each other. We called ourselves the “Brothers” and everyone in the Brothers had a nickname, ironically except the two guys named Russ. The story goes that Doobie got his when he stubbed his toe trying to jump into a hot tub. We grew closer while we were in college because we would try to gather once or twice a year and hang out—sometimes it included bowling. As friendships go, when our lives got full with jobs and families we saw each other less often. But on special occasions, usually weddings or reunions, we would pick up right where we left off.
The Brothers were somewhat legendary at each other’s weddings. There was the pub incident: one friend spilled a drink on himself, took off his pants, and hung them by the fireplace in the pub so that they could dry out. There was the salad incident: Doobie tossing salad and inciting a sing-along for the groom’s dad at the rehearsal dinner. There was the tree incident: let’s just say this friend didn’t realize he broke his arm until the next day. There was the flashlight incident; and another tree incident that resulted in a trip to the local police station. I could go on…
Doobie’s was the first funeral that brought us together. It was a sad day full of beautiful memories. He was too young. Here are some of the things that I loved about him and why my dream was happy even though my friend has passed away. Doobie had the unique ability to make you feel “lighter” every time you were with him. He was mischievous and innocent (I don’t think I heard him swear until late high school). He could make himself laugh which made us all laugh. He didn’t really like crowds but could be the life of a party. He was smart and unpretentious. He was sneaky and had a great sense of adventure. He owned a WW II Jeep Willy that he would drive around in the forest. He would slip away when no one was looking and then surprise you in the best way—sometimes with a prank; sometimes with a song. I can’t remember anyone not liking Doobie.
We all need a friend like Doobie, someone who just naturally makes us feel lighter and who can inject humor into almost any situation effortlessly. I think I’ll text the Brothers.
Photography by Bonnie Sanders