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Living by bread

January 29, 2011

The other day I dreamed that my older sister Barbara, who died just over a year ago, came to our door bearing a loaf of bread, round, like a boule. My wife Jennifer embraced her, weeping. And I followed suit.

That’s all the dream was. A series of quick images. But iconic, classical in their simplicity and deep suggestion.

Barb with Dad

Sister Barbara, a few years ago, with Father, both of them gone now

Barb was the oldest of the seven Zeck children, and like a second mother to us all. When she passed away, unexpectedly, after a stroke (and lay on the floor, undiscovered, for several days), we were shaken to the core. Yes, these are the times that try men’s and women’s souls, when the immortal family starts dropping fruit and losing branches one by one.

So the loaf of the dream suggests, I think, Barb’s gift of feeding us in life. (She was in fact always doing so, making lunches and dinners, bringing plenty of sandwiches and snacks for trips.) The loaf is the gift of generosity that she gives to us, too, her younger and less generous sibs. Here, she says, take this and give to others too. Be not unbelieving but believing. Feed the multitudes.


From → dreams, mortality

  1. Jeannie Zeck permalink

    Greg, your dream painted such lovely and accurate images of our sister. It reminds me of the abundant brunch Barbara prepared the day after DaleAnn and Paul’s wedding. Do you recall? All along the wide countertop, she laid freshly-baked rolls, fruits, and many enticing delicacies as well as drinks to please our palates. There must have been fresh orange juice, and was there champagne, too? It was an inviting array. I remember gazing at it for its beauty and for its promise of delicious sustenance.

    I appreciate, too, your interpreting the dream as an invitation from Barbara for us to follow suit, to learn to give, to feed others.

    And a boule, I discovered, from consulting three dictionaries, is, yes, from the French for ball. But, also, it is “a small mass of fused alumina, usually pear-shaped, and tinted to resemble the natural ruby, sapphire, etc.” (Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary). By looking up alumina, I discovered that it is Aluminum oxide and occurs naturally in rubies and sapphires. So, our sister comes bearing something resembling a gem, offering us her best work. Oh, and what other gems did she produce? Our wonderful nieces and nephews.

    More sweet dreams to you, Brother. Poignant, yes, but ultimately sweet.

  2. Nice reminiscence of Baba’s (if not Babette’s) feast. Sounds, too, like loaves and fishes. Barb gave in abundance, didn’t she? “Let that be a lesson!” as Bob would have said.

  3. Yes, this is the best picture of our leaders together, a valued heirloom in itself..

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