Monday, January 18, 2010


I'm in shitty dirty dusty Delhi in the same hotel as I was in a year ago when I came here to do a training. They are conducting all night construction outside my window. But somehow, I fell asleep at a reasonable hour despite the big wedding celebration going on below as well.

I was in the midst of a long and convuluted John Le Carre influenced dream about spies and red light districts and schoolyard friends. And then, like a boxer punching through a screen, a very clear and intense picture of my father. My father in his schoolyard in Iowa at the family reunion that we went to in July. I could see him exactly in his green plaid flannel shirt. Thin like he was in the last years of his life but smiling with his glasses on.

I'm now wide awake. Right before he died when I was in Udaipur alone, I awoke in the middle of the night -an odd event as I normally sleep like a log all night long. I awoke with aterrible retching feeling like i was going to vomit. I brought the bucket into my bedroom and put it next to my bed like my parents used to do for me. But then I went back to sleep. About 2 hours later, I woke up seconds before my phone rang with my sister on the other end to tell me my father had just died.

Now when I wake up like this, I"m afraid it means something else really bad is going to happen. I've been plagued with fear since the Haiti earthquake -afraid to hear more bad news. I am wishing to get there. My humanitarian emergency organization has no use for me. I want to help the people of Haiti rather than lying here in a lonely hotel room in India feeling helpless again.


  1. Sarah when my father died in 2000 I was awakened with the news by a late night phone call. I may have already told you this. For a long time afterwards (and still sometimes now) when/if my phone rings past a certain hour I have what I can only describe as a panic attack and I feel terrified to answer the phone. Luckily it doesnt happen often. Also for the year (give or take) following his death I would be having a dream about something else and he would appear in the dream smiling and happy and often waving to me from a sidewalk, within a crowd, etc..very comforting to me. I believe they stay with us and want us to be reassured.

  2. by the way thank you much for the lovely card! It arrived today.xxxooo and I love it.

  3. My mother died unexpectedly days after 9/11 and I too woke with that feeling of dread. I also (still even) can't stand that feeling of dread or the calls in the middle of the night to this day. The dreams are more rare but I still get an occasional one and she's so real in them for that brief instant - more real than the rest of the dream - that I have to think there's something to it. Some coming back to make sure we're ok.