I have a rich dream life…sadly, most of the time I don’t remember them. But while I was sleeping one night, not so long ago, I dreamt that my father in law was with me.
PaPa Gene-O, as my son Rhys always used to call him, died on July 10, 2006 while climbing Flattop. He was training for his annual fall sheep hunt and, at the young age of 75 could hike the mountain in under an hour. The last photo we have of him is one that a fellow hiker took. The fellow – Rick McGahee – and his wife were in Anchorage, celebrating their anniversary that day and had decided to take a hike up Flattop. They were the last people to see my father in law alive.
The following is the tribute that I wrote for PaPa Gene-O’s memorial service. I was crying so hard that day that I couldn’t speak…so a friend read it for me:
|The last photo of PaPa Gene-O, taken by Rick McGahee
So…not to bring anyone down or anything, but with the tenth anniversary of PaPa’s homegoing, he has been much on my mind. One night, while I was sleeping, I dreamt that PaPa was there, smiling his radiant smile just for me. He told me that he loved me and that I wasn’t to worry…not with words, just with that Gene Bryner smile. I am the most fortunate of women in that my father in law was truly the father of my heart and my dear friend. I can still see that smile…as I dreamt that night…