I had a dark dream where I see my grandmother who is seated in a chair. This is the spirit of her physical body. It is the non physical essence of the shell of the woman I once called Abuelita. My grandmother’s spirit the one I loved is not present here but her shell remains trapped in this bardo world aging indefinitely. I can see the soft hairs on her skin and the many green age spots on her arms. This body is motionless and speechless. Her image triggers all my childhood memories of her. I remember her fondly. I then see my father coming down the street. He is much taller than I remember him. He stumbles and falls and pees his pants. I am angered by him. I can’t leave the memories of my family in this bardo world. I feel compelled to help them; to bring them back with me. I try to get my father to stand and walk on his own but he simply cannot. I want to slap him, but I hold back my anger which is rising within me as I tighten my body in frustration. My heart doesn’t allow me to leave either one here. My alcoholic father has always been a burden in my life. Why must I carry his weight? In order to bring my grandmother with me, I must also help my father. I turn to him again. With my anger rising I can see his face getting uglier and uglier. My anger seems to garner him the strength to stand. With an insipid look he now stands ready to come at me with all his remaining strength. Using his entire body he lunges forward and falls on me.
In that moment I woke up. Dreams like these don’t come without visitors. Angry now, I looked around my bedroom to find those responsible for the dream. Along side my bed were standing 5 large framed beings. They were each about 7 feet tall with wide shoulders. They were not human in form. I locked onto each of them with my eyes to let them know I was well aware of their presence. I didn’t know what their intentions were but I didn’t feel they were well intended. I knew they were using my grandmother and my father to hold me emotionally hostage. I got up out of bed and boldly walked right through them. I went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet to gather my thoughts. As I sat there a black panther walked in with the insidiousness of a snake. I got up, flushed and walked right past it on my way back to the bedroom.
I laid back in bed and closed my eyes. I began hearing a rhythmic repetitive and almost hypnotic sound, “du-dil-il-ling.” I then had a vision where I could see a construction site that had wooden elevators that were lifted with hand pulleys. I could see the people who operated the pulleys carrying people and supplies to the upper levels of the construction site. They were like worker bees hypnotically following the drone.
Historically, black panthers in the American Southeast feature prominently in Choctaw folklore where, along with the owl, they are often thought to symbolize Death.