The dead she has heard someone say, must die twice, first the physical death, then the death must be recorded, ritualised, through periods of mourning, funerals, the scattering of ashes, acknowledged in stages. And perhaps they must die twice in order to live again. She remembers how for a year, perhaps more, they didn’t speak of Harvey, the father, the husband, for fear of the emotions they would provoke in each other, repressed him, kept him locked away, ghostly, gestating until one day the conversation at the dinner table turned fleetingly to him and Lee remarked how now he could hear certain songs that he associated closely with his Dad and not tear up. A few days later Paula Adonor had a dream that Harvey was sitting in the bedroom, waiting patiently as the kids hoovered up outside and made the place clean, as though in preparation for his return, and that in the dream she was Harvey too, and also the kids, and herself, watching. The room was full of light and there he was, quiet, patient, returned from his exile in death, a figure they could discuss, invoke, enjoy again.
That sublime dream in which she was everyone and all things, both herself and others the observer and what she observed and even in the telling of it language got in the way, broke things up, forced the dream to take on difference and contradiction, separation, when in that beautiful suspended moment, in that light of a life brought back from death there was no time or separation, no words, only the holistic, perfect, uncompromised image and the knowledge, the wisdom to know we are outside life or death, space and time, self and other, except that words, words will divide us up and cage us and condemn us.
Well, what does that mean? Except that Vernon, poor Vernon has not even died once, he still has so far to go before he can be return. Perhaps this interest of Alex Hargreaves’ will help to speed his passage back to the world, let him mingle with us again, silent, contented, reborn.
And as she drifts off she finds herself gently lulled and lifted out of time into a realm where all borders become progressively more porous, dissolve. It all makes sense here on the threshold of sleep, the echo-memory of the bliss of the yet-to-be-born, a mounting babble of soothing nonsense that crowds out her thoughts, language that liquefies into pure tones and dim modulations, a soft flurry of half-forgotten scenes and …..