I wrote this post two weeks ago and just today decided to go ahead and publish it.
It was a dream, just a dream. It was not some sort of visitation from beyond, just a dream.
I have not finally gone over the edge. It was as realistic a dream as I can remember having. It happened in that time after the alarm when I had dropped off for a while again (still some jet lag).
As is so often the case, I can’t remember all the details and exactly what we said. Mary Ann was asking me what was wrong as we were sitting down to eat. I admitted that I was just sad. The interaction was realistic enough that it was clear she was annoyed that I was being grumpy, recognizing that it wasn’t her fault that I was being so. I was annoyed that she wasn’t being sympathetic as I thought she should be. I had to go and get the last dish of food, saying that I would have to get it if we were going to be able to eat it. It wasn’t an
angry interaction, just very mild irritation. I remember eating some of it, a salad much like the salad mix that came with the light meal I had last night. Parts of dreams often have those sorts of connections.
The strongest memory of the dream is the memory of the last moments, looking at her
face, beginning to realize that she was right there across from me, but she had died. That she had died is what was making me sad, but she was right there. She was absolutely fully there, fully present with me. That is the moment I transitioned from sleep. It was just a
dream, but so very crystal clear. She was healthy. It was set in the present, but she was not sick. She looked as she did when we were in mid-life. We were talking normally as we would have done many years ago when it was just the two of us, no Parkinson’s. As I look back at the setting of the dream, it seemed to be a time after the Kids were grown and
out of the house, but before the Parkinson’s (a time that never existed in real life).
Even though the dream included a bit of irritation, it was not at all a bad dream, just a
very realistic dream. It was the way we might have interacted, but with more candor as I just admitted that I was feeling sad. There was nothing she had done, I was just feeling very sad and not sure why.
When I have been counseling people through times such as the time I am going through, often they would share dreams. My counsel was always to try to glean from the experience elements that might help in moving along through the grief. I counseled to see the dreams as gifts to be opened. I did not really expect to have such a dream myself, but I will counsel myself in the same way. I don’t have a need to explain all the whys and wherefores of the dream happening or make more of it than it is. It is exactly what it was, no
more, no less, a vivid dream of time with Mary Ann. I am grateful for it. I miss her so much. I will think about where it fits into my grief journey, why it happened to come now and here. Dreams come together in odd ways, putting seemingly random bits and pieces of memory together in a new way. The dream was just a dream. It will become what I make of it.
There were no tears when I first woke up, but there has been occasional watering of the
eyes as I have been sitting here at the laptop writing. I need to get a shower and get ready for the day. I am so full of feelings – not sure I am ready to head for the streets.
I wrote this post two weeks ago. I have waited to publish it. As I read it now I recall that the feeling I had during the dream and immediately afterward was that Mary Ann was secure, healthy, confident in herself and quite able. That was a very reassuring feeling.
I suspect one inference that might be drawn from the dream’s content is that my insides are beginning to accept what my intellect knows, that there is no longer any need to carry any concern for her well-being. The sadness is now mine and mine alone. I am free to keep it as long as I wish or let it go to the degree that is possible. I am not there yet, but when I get there is up to me now. My sadness when it comes is not her fault. It is mine to deal with as I am able.
I talked with the Kids this evening about this post so that they would not see it for the first time online without some prior knowledge of its content. I have been extremely forthcoming in this blog in revealing very openly what I am thinking and feeling as this journey continues. This post seemed to risk being too open and personal about the intimate details of my grief journey. I decided that so many with whom I have talked over the last 40 years have had similar experiences that it might be helpful to share it. My hope is that some who have had this sort of experience and wondered how to process it in a healthy way might find my reflections helpful – at least learning that they are not alone.