Some people believe that the dead can come to you in your dreams at night. I'd like to believe that too, but I don't recall ever meeting that werewolf that kept reappearing in mine back in high school, so I'm not completely convinced. Nonetheless, I keep trying to find a hidden meaning when you appear in my dreams, like last night, and are dying all over again.
The first time you ever showed up one of my dreams was a few months after you passed away. While I was asleep, I relived everything from the night in the hospital when you told me you were stopping chemo treatments, right up to me clinging desperately to your casket in the snow before they lowered your body into the ground. I woke up to find that I hadn't only been crying in my dream. I was hysterical and shaking. I had been working so hard to move forward, and that dream sent me right back where I started. It wasn't just a dream, but a representation of how much I really hadn't gotten over yet. I hadn't even begun to deal with losing you. I just wanted one day without crying. Just one day. So I pushed those memories out of my head instead of working through them. The realization was devastating. I stayed in bed for the next 24 hours, completely numb. Even crying seemed like too much work. That’s when I made my first appointment with a therapist. She saw me immediately.
Since that day, I have never had a dream quite like that one, but there have been two other variations. I have dreamed that you are dying, but I make it clear that I know you have already died before. I always comment to someone random that you “came back to life, but are really dying forever this time.” I feel a rush of urgency and desperation because this is actually the last time I will see you. Your funeral is never exactly like it really was, but the feeling I had that everyone was staring at me is intensely magnified. Then I wake up, and my sobs carry over to real life. It’s pretty much a given that the rest of my day will be emotional and gloomy, and that was no different when I woke up today. I don’t know why, but I just can’t shake the feeling. Gisele thinks that maybe it means that there are still some moments or emotions that I haven’t worked through. But that leads me back to my original question: are you coming to me in my dreams to tell me that? If so, you’re pretty twisted, Mom.
I’m not at all convinced that you have a hand in me reliving the worst time in my life over and over again while I’m asleep. The other dreams you have been a part of however, are what are keeping me from ruling this possibility out completely.
The next time I dreamed of you was a few months after my initial bad dream. It was a simple and beautiful moment. You and I were sitting on your bed watching a movie with Dad and Tom by our sides. I stopped watching the movie and just stared down between us for the remainder of my dream-- we were holding hands. It was so peaceful. I woke up feeling happy and loved. I want to believe that you were letting me know that you are still holding my hand through my life’s journey like you promised. A simple, heartfelt message.
This past summer, you appeared again. This particular dream was in reference to my fear of the world ending on 12/21/12. I got all upset while watching a documentary on TV the summer before—silly I know, but hear me out! It’s a scary thing being told that we are all going to die in a few years (whether it’s true or not), and all I could think about was how you must have felt being told that you, and only you, were going to die in just a few months. My heart ached for you. Luckily, John was with me, and I literally cried on his shoulder while I shared my thoughts with him. In moments like that I appreciate his silent nature. His embrace comforts me more than any words ever could. Things like “she’s in a better place” just don’t do it for me when I’m upset. You didn’t want to die; you didn’t want to leave me. So those words aren’t comforting. Unless someone simultaneously hands me a postcard from “Better Place, USA” letting me know you’re in it, let’s just save the BS for another day when I’m more stable. Did I just go off on a tangent? Weird, that never happens…
So, in my dream, I’m guessing it was 2012 because I was visibly upset that the end of the world was relatively near. I was back at home, and Dad recommended I talk to you about it. You pulled into the driveway in the little red truck you loved so much, and I ran out to see you. We had a long chat about my fears about the world ending. You explained that death doesn’t hurt, so I shouldn’t be scared. You told me that heaven is indescribable, and that what we feel as ‘happiness’ on Earth doesn’t compare to how you feel once you are in heaven. You also talked about what God is like, and how he visits you every day. I told you that I was worried that, since there are so many people in heaven, John wouldn’t be able to find me after we die. You promised me that he will, just like Dad will find you, and we will all be together again.
I believe you.
All my love,