Posted by: CeCe | May 19, 2012

Only a dream?

It seems like it’s been forever again (even though it’s only been six days) since I last updated my blog.  This week I’ve just had a lot going on, and had a lot on my mind.  Mother’s Day always brings with it a range of emotion, from sadness, to thankfulness that I had such an amazing mother, to dread of Father’s Day, to being distracted by the sights and smells of spring (my favorite season!).  My emotions have been far too complex to even begin expressing them, so this week I threw myself into my current class (World Civilizations I, which I’m loving!) and working on my novel (which may or may not ever be finished, who knows).  I’ve started a couple blogs, but they’ve just felt contrived somehow, almost like I’m writing for someone else rather than myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that other people read my blog, and I’m very touched by the comments I receive, but if I’m going to be a successful writer, I have to write for me, not anyone else.

So, today I want to write about dreams.  Not just any dreams, but two dreams in particular.  First, I’d like to explain why these two dreams are special.  The first dream came about two weeks after my mom passed away.  In the last week before she died, I asked her to do something for me, and visit me in a dream after she was gone, and also visit from time to time after that.  I knew that saying good-bye to her was one of the hardest things I was ever going to have to do, but I also knew that at least she could still be in my life, even if only in my memories and dreams.  The second dream came about a year and a half after mom passed away; that night I was really struggling with having lost my parents, and I was kind of railing at God for it (okay, I take that back, I was screaming at God in my mind, demanding to know why He saw fit to allow me to lose my parents so young), and I told Him that the least He could do is allow me to have a dream about my parents, let me at least have that.  At the moment I asked, I heard my mom’s voice as clear as day, and she said “CeCe!” almost like she was chiding me for something.  It was so clear I actually sat up in bed and whispered, “Mom?”  There was no answer, and eventually I drifted off to sleep.  And oh, I dreamed.  But I’ll get to that dream after the first.

So two weeks after my mom passed away, I awoke in a dream in which I had been sleeping in the bed in my mom’s spare bedroom, just like I had been while I was taking care of her.  In the dream, I had been awakened by some sound or another, so I got up to go investigate.  I walked down the short hallway, past the bathroom, and looked into my mom’s bedroom, and there she was, laying in her bed.  As soon as she saw me, she smiled weakly and asked me to go get her a glass of ice water.  It took me a second, but I went ahead and got the water for her.  The strange thing is, as I was putting ice in the glass, I could actually feel the cold.  I poured water from the Brita container in the fridge into the glass, and took it back down the hallway to my mom.  She smiled and thanked me, and I responded, “No problem mom, I’m happy to get it for you, but you could have gotten it yourself, you know.”  She appeared really puzzled, and responded, “No, I can’t, I’ve got a little bit of cancer, you know!”  This was actually a joke between us; every time she would apologize for being a “bother” either my sister or I would respond, “Well, you do have a little bit of cancer, you know!”  I looked at her and I said, “No mom, you shouldn’t still have cancer.  You should be completely well now.”  She looked even more puzzled and answered, “What do you mean?”  I swallowed and replied, “Mom.  You died.”  She answered with a tear in her voice, “Really?  I’m sorry!”  I grabbed her hand and I said, “No, Mom, don’t apologize.  You were in pain.  We miss you, but we didn’t want you to suffer any longer.”  She asked me if all four of us kids felt the same way, to which I answered, yes, of course.  She got that tear in her voice again, and she said how amazing us kids are, and how thankful she was for us, and I told her that it was only because we’d had amazing parents.

After that, she looked a little panicked and she said, “But if I’m dead, and I’m talking to you, that means you must be dreaming!”

I said, “Yes, Mom.  I must be.”

She said, “But that means you’re going to wake up eventually!  We may not have much time!”

I responded, “No, we might not have very much time at all.”

She answered, “But I have so much I want to say!”

I replied, “You don’t need to.  You’ll come back, won’t you?”

She smiled and said she would try.  So we spent a few minutes talking about unimportant things, like music, the Mariners, movies, and other such things.  Suddenly she stopped in mid-sentence, and she told me that I was going to wake up soon.  So I hugged her tight, and I kissed her cheek, and I swear I could smell her perfume and her shampoo very clearly.  I told her I loved her more than anything, and she responded that she loved me too… and then I awoke.  That day, for the first time since my mom died, I felt at least a small degree of peace, and hope that I would see her again.

Since then, she has visited me multiple times, even if only long enough for us to hug, and say hello and “I love you”, but this second one is really special, because instead of just my mom (which is wonderful enough), it was both of my parents.  In the nearly 21 years since my dad has been gone, I have never dreamed of him, not once.  But that night that I prayed so desperately and angrily, I did.

In the dream, my dad was very young, perhaps in his early 30s or 40s; he was certainly younger than he was by the time I was born.  And he was tall!  By the time I was born, my dad had already had his back broken and had been shot a couple times (he was in Vietnam and Korea), but he still stood at almost six foot.  The dad in this dream had never been shot or had his back broken.  He was in perfect health, smiling, and young.  My mom, too, was young; she looked to be in her 30s, maybe a bit younger, slim, healthy, happy, smiling up at my dad.  I hugged my dad first, and I could very clearly smell the unsmoked pipe tobacco and Old Spice scent that I’ll always associate with him.  When I hugged my mom, I could feel her hair against my cheek, and smell her perfume.

When my dad spoke, I knew immediately that it was really his voice.  He told me that we didn’t have long, but there were some things that he needed to tell me.  He told me that although he and my mom aren’t always with me, they are aware of landmarks in my life, as well as the lives of my siblings.  He knew all of his grandchildren’s names, how old they were, the things about which my siblings are passionate (such as my sister’s animal rescue, my elder brother’s truck driving, and my eldest brother’s going to school), and when and whom we had married.  He then asked me if I remembered, on the day of my wedding, the whiff of Old Spice I had gotten just before I walked down the aisle.  I did.  At the time, it had made me look around expectantly, as though I would actually see him.  He told me that it was him, he was there, and he was so proud of me.

We were standing in this hallway of some sort, and he directed my attention to the wall, which was lined with pictures.

“Look,” he said.

I looked, and there it all was: Pictures of each of my nieces and nephews as babies, as toddlers, as young children, and as they are now (the youngest is just about to turn 10).  Pictures of my eldest brother’s wedding, my sister’s wedding, my elder brother’s wedding, and my own.  Dozens of them, so many I couldn’t keep track.  I was almost in tears by the end of the hallway.

“This is so you’ll remember.”  He said.  “You may not always hear me or see me, but I’m aware of everything going on with you.  I’ve never left, not really.  You kids and your mom have always been and always will be my entire world, and I’m never too far away.  And I’m very proud of all of you.”

And then he paused and told me I was going to wake up soon, so I hugged each of them once more, told them I loved them… and then I awoke.

Even though I still miss my parents just as much as I did before the dreams, that longing and sorrow is accompanied by a small degree of peace.  I feel as though even if I can’t always see them or hear them apart from within my dreams, they’re always with me, in one way or another.  Even if they’re just dreams, even if they’re only the result of a heart that’s grieving from a heavy loss, it doesn’t matter.  They give me comfort, and that does matter.

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