In the dream, she was still very much alive. She was doing so much better. Sure, she was having to excrete into a sandwich bag because of the colostomy, but these could not be helped.
The whole death thing never happened. A wacky mix-up at the sickhouse. That had been a mannequin my brother and I saw in the room.
My father, my siblings, my nephew, and my uncle were not to know. Just myself, Sabina, and my daughter. This was a terrible secret to keep, and gods, bodhisattvas, or whatever Voodoo mask you put over the Divine knows I've kept enough over the years. She kept telling me it was better this way, even though she would sob when she thought of my father and the rest of the family.
And there I was; fighting with my father and being vague about why he couldn't come to the House of Owls and Bats for a visit. Dealing with the tension from my brother and sister. Keeping this terrible secret, because when entrusted with one of those I keep it from then on out. Because she asked me to.
Walking brought an infusion of logic. The stench of disease and the sight of the body. To this day, I wish I had two coins to have put over her half-lidded eyes then. The way she looked those last seventeen days. Withered, beaten, her skin reflecting tones of nothing mammalian. Knowing she is dead. Her shell was burned to ashes, which sat in a jar in my father's closet for half a year. The same ashes we scattered in the outback of Waldorf pass on what would have been her birthday. I read the requiem of my own composition. My father wept quite openly, and he taught me boys don't cry.
I'll share my own secret here, whelps; there's quite a bit I would do to have her back, and in good health. Ain't that the way? Still, that dream, that nightmare, is what I wouldn't do.