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I had appalling dreams after my father died, and dream logic followed me into waking life. I discovered that not only could I not confront the reality that my father was dead, I could not even deal with the reality of death, period, for anyone. I would find myself imagining corpses living still, drawn-out lives in drawers and back bedrooms, and saying things like, "Oh, yes, she's dead -- but how dead is dead, really?" It was over a year before I stopped skidding over the concept of death and could say, "Dead is dead. My father is dead." Now that my father is definitively dead, though, I can feel his presence more than I could when death didn't exist in my world. The other day, I saw a joke that involved Marxist jargon and a horrid pun, and I immediately sent it out to the family: "Q: Why is it that when you flush the toilet at Karl Marx's place, you can hear the sound of stringed instruments? "A: Because of the violins inherent in the cistern. "This has been a George S. Burt Memorial E-Mail."
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