Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dream well, my friends.

Do you believe that your dreams have meaning? Do you remember your dreams? Do you try to interpret them? Do you try to forget them? Are they ever nightmares?

I guess I’m curious because while I’ve never been a person who gets good, restful sleep – I do dream. In fact, I often “nightmare”.

This directly relates to my fear of sleeping. Most of the time, my dreams aren’t good. Pretty much never.

I’m always trying to find something I cannot. Trying to unlock something I have no key for.

Or someone I love is taken from me. Or they die.

I wake up sobbing and soaked in sweat. It takes hours to shake off the fear.

Well, last night I had another dream. It’s the first one in a long time that I didn’t want to wake up from. I can’t remember specifics – just bits here and there – but today I feel “healed”.

I don’t know how to explain it but I know what I felt and still feel today – even now that I’m awake.

You see, I had a Grandmother with Alzheimer’s. At a very young age. The doctors said she was one of the youngest people they’d ever seen suffer from the disease.

Which basically meant that since she was so young and healthy – she was going to live a long, terrible life because her mind would die long before her physical body would.

She required 24/7 care. Back then, it was my mother’s job to do it. My Grandmother had 8 children but not a single one of them could find the inner strength to care for her – and watch their mother become a shell of a woman before their eyes.

So my mom did it. With me by her side during the summer and nights and weekends. Even my own siblings refused to help her. Who could blame them?  The job was thankless and hard and physically and mentally taxing. I couldn’t imagine letting my mother do it alone.

Every day that went by – I can admit to you that I hated my Grandmother more. I was young and all I could translate the situation into in my immature brain was that “this woman” who I was supposed to love took all my mother’s time and love – away from me.

Selfish yes. But I couldn’t understand the circumstances or the pain or the disease. No one could, I suppose.

In the end, I helped my mother to help my Grandmother to die in peace. I made sure her bed was made and lights were dimmed and the house was quiet.

I never told a single soul that I had been praying and wishing for her to die – for years.

On the inside – I was exalted. I was practically bursting with happiness.

Her death meant I got my mother back. I didn’t have to come to this wretched place and see death before my eyes daily. I didn’t have to pretend to love a woman who was nothing more than a body to me now.

It was over.

I never cried one single tear.

As I got older, I started to hate myself for that. I hated that I didn’t have more compassion…or that I couldn’t see through the disease and see my Grandmother was still in there somewhere. I labeled myself as “cold” because when she died, I couldn’t even find the emotion to cry about it. I even felt ashamed at my behavior.

When I could fairly call myself an adult, I knew that I wasn’t cold. I knew that I did the best I could in dealing with a bad situation and that I had been a rock for my mother when no one else would do it.

Yet, a tiny part of me remained sad and a little angry at myself….for letting her go without becoming attached to her in any way. For only thinking of her as a patient. For never crying for her.

Last night I relived her last moments in my dream. I could see the room. Smell the fear of death and the hope that it was over. I could see the blankets and my mother.

And in my dream, I finally saw her as my Grandmother lying there…not just a body I had grown to resent.

And I cried. Deep, soul-wrenching weeping from inside my soul. With tears to match the pain.

I woke up completely aware of what had just happened.

My dream had healed me.

Last night I finally mourned and grieved for a woman who died over 20 years ago.

As I cried, I swore I could feel arms wrapped around me and I know in my heart they were hers.

I held her in my arms so many times when she was alive as she cried or screamed or yelled within her disease.

And now? She returned the favor. Even if only in a dream…I was a granddaughter being held by her Grandmother.

As I cried. And healed 20 years of regret.

In one little dream.

So I guess if you believe that dreams mean nothing and there are no spirits beyond death….that’s fine. To each his own.

I’m just saying that I think you’d change your mind – if you’d have been me…last night – in my dream.

My mother believes my Grandmother’s “spirit” rewarded her for her compassion. Days after my Grandmother died, my mother – 35 at the time, already with 3 kids, her youngest one already almost 9 years old, my brother and I in high school ….found out she was pregnant with my little sister.

To this day, my mother believes my Grandmother’s life ended so that my sister’s life could begin. My sister wasn’t planned. My mom was on birth control. She was done having kids. We were all grown up. It was a shock. And of course, a blessing.

A life for a life.


Dream well, my friends.

I finally did.


Angie said...

OH wow, amazing. Thanks for sharing! I'm so glad you finally feel peace about her passing. :)

Jen said...

This just gave me chills.. so odd that you posted this b/c I have been thinking a lot about dreams and what they mean lately. I've been having such vivid dreams lately they almost seem real. I do believe in them and that they almost always mean "something"... thanks for sharing.

Darlin1 said...

We all need a break sometime....I'm glad you are HEALED!!!


trisha said...

I absolutely believe loved ones that have passed are able to visit us in our dreams. Sometimes it's for comfort and other times it's to tell us something. That happened to my mom, my Grandma came to her in a dream one night about a year after her death and was writhing mad about her Will, and was telling my mom how something was wrong and needed to be looked into. Long story short, my mom re-visited my grandmas will and found out her siblings had screwed her out of a HUGE part of my grandma's estate that was to be hers. She never would of known to go back and look if it wasn't for my Grandma coming to her in her dream!! Freaky, but true!!

Lucy said...

I totally believe, it keeps me going sometimes.

Cat said...

I truly believe that dreams have meaning for each of us. I also firmly believe that people who have passed from our lives can pass messages to us through our dreams when our minds and bodies are relaxed and in a more receptive state. I'm so glad you have this peace and can move through this pain that you've carried for so long. *soft puffy hearts*

Fat in Suburbia said...

That gave me chills. I'm glad you finally feel healed.

Amanda said...

Powerful. I like you had a hard time feeling sadness when my grandmother died. I watched my dads whole family fall apart taking care of her with Alzheimer’s. I cringe at even typing the words right now. How cruel am I to feel that way. But that is how I feel. In a way the other part of the family isn't worth my anger and frustration at the rift that grew but I hurt for my dad..that he lost his family with her illness simply because he was the responsible one. I did love my grandmother. But her death was a blessing for her. If that can be said.

Life is funny but heal on my dear. It's about time

Corletta said...

It's been awhile since I've been on here. Man,what a great day to come back. For a therapist, this post was AMAZING! I got every bit of it! Thank you for sharing :) Hope all is well!

Amanda Kiska said...

Love it!

Karen Butler Ogle said...

That is a great dream, Draz. I'm glad you have found peace with it all at last.

Read said...

That's so fucking beautiful I just can not stand it!!! I so completely believe in the universe that allows for dreams such as that. To your grandma, wherever she is, those 20 years passed like seconds and she needed to make sure you knew she loved you with all she had. And never for a second did she think there was anything to forgive. She needed you to let it go and forgive yourself. She needed to make sure you knew that she was so profoundly grateful and so amazingly proud of you for all you did to support her and to support your mom during that time of her life. And she needed you to know that she was whole again and that all was well with her, that she's in a happy place and is happily watching over those she loves. What a beautiful gift.

Robyn's Nest said...

I beleive. I used to talk to best friend (she committed suicide) in my dreams all the time. It got me through some tough patches.
I am glad you had this dream and your grandmother was able to help you.

Sam said...

I believe and I think you just had an amazing night. I was the same with my nana, all i could think about when she was dying was that i had to wait for my birthday present (she was far away and my mum left to visit her, and so missed my birthday) it took years to realize what had actually happened and for me to mourn her passing.

So happy to hear that you could finally mourn for your grandmother :o)

Kelly said...

Oh honey - sounds like it was a beautiful dream. I am so happy that you were able to make your peace and find your peace with this. A lot of people are not so lucky. I totally wish I could hug you right now. Love you. =)

Ronnie said...

I don't have any fancy puffy hearts or good words... but this is beautiful. You've given me hope for healing my dream-craziness someday soon. :)

Joanna said...

Wow....what an amazing post, and an amazing dream. I don't doubt a bit that it truly was your grandmother's way of showing you that it was time to let it all go...and you did.

Lost&Found said...

Wow, this is such a beautiful, honest post! I loved reading the whole thing. I can relate to this post in so many ways. Your "lack" of compassion, kept you safe at the time. I totally understand, and feel it too!

I'm so happy you can finally be at peace. Amazing.

Mewizza said...

Glad your dream healed you. <3 I don't know if I could ever forgive myself if I didn't love my grandparents like I do now.

Jen said...

I want to say what Read said, but she already said it g-damn it!

So I'll just say I love you to the moon and back.

Rachellabelle said...

Love it, love it!