What are dreams? Wikipedia (reliable source I know): Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. I really don’t believe that there is much more to that.
I tend to experience, for what seems like most of my adult life, a form of lucid dreaming. Almost always I’m aware that I am in a dream and have some mild control over the environment and basic tone/script of my dreams. There are, however, a number of things I cannot control like who is present. I am really tired of dreaming of my mom.
A normal person might think, “If my mother was dead I’d like dreaming of her.” Well, I’m not normal. Some people I’ve talked to have said that she’s “visiting” me in my dreams, to which I guffaw. I don’t have a solid believe on the afterlife, but I believe enough in science and the ‘whys’ behind dreaming that I know my brain is thinking of her, not that some spirit/entity is visiting me (I’m still up in the air about spirits and whatnot but that’s another post).
The last half a dozen times I’ve dreamt of mom I’ve known and stated, “Well this is a dream because you’re dead,” and I’ve tried to get her to not be a part of my dream. The first few times it happened I did wake up upset. My loss was still fresh and it was kind of shocking to see her. As time went on I was more okay with it happening (well maybe just less shocked) and I started making the effort to not think about her before going to sleep. That in itself is difficult because I think about the absence of her all of the time. I only once dreamt of her and had the dream really freak me out to the point where I thought maybe, just maybe, something more than neurons firing had happened.
I can’t remember the entire context of the dream, but I know we were talking and a few people were around us - Dad, Panchita, a few family friends - and I was trying to get the dream to stop. I can’t articulate how I try to change dreams while they’re happening; it’s more of a ‘camera two fade in while camera one fades out’ sort of thing rather than changing the channels. I was in the process of trying to get away from dreaming about her and she grabbed my right hand and squeezed.
It was the squeezing that woke me up. I never get touched in my dreams. Not being touched in my dreams is probably something that slips over from my subconscious; I really hate being touched without giving consent. When I woke up the sensation of her hand on mine was still fresh. I could almost feel her skin on mine - her skin was thin and calloused from years of exposure to chemicals as a janitor, but still slight and feminine. She always had a cool touch to her skin, like her circulation was bad, and after she died dad constantly said that he loved her hands. I had never heard him say that he loved any part of her body before (when they met in the 70’s she was thin and attractive and in the late 90’s she had grown to over 500lbs), so to hear him wax so poetically about them has kind of stuck in my mind.
Thinking of that dream still makes me cry as I write this. I am so tired of having such emotional responses to having such emptiness in my life.
On a random whim I decided to Google what dreaming of a passed relative meant. “To see your dead mother in your dream signifies your wretched and mean-hearted nature towards others around you.” What the hell? I think I am the least mean-hearted person I know. Well, maybe with one or two exceptions of people I really wish wouldn’t exist, but I don’t actually keep those people around me.
Of course other Google results came up with things like “closure” and “your own unfulfilled maternal feelings,” but I feel like that is a lot of bunk. There is no ‘closer’ that I can obtain because I can’t hunt down her killer or give her justice because her death wasn’t “caused” by any one specific thing - it was just an arrangement of “that’s life” and “shit happens” that was uncontrollable. When she was in the hospital, probably the last five to eight hours of her life, my uncle called me and I got to say “goodbye” to her. I told her I was on my way home to be with her, that I’d be there soon, that I’d take care of dad and not fight with him, and that I loved her. I said I loved her and I made sure that she heard and understood me. Yes, she died before I got home to her, but I am glad I don’t have the image of her in the hospital with tubes and wires in her as my last memory of her. The last time I saw her was when she dropped me off at the airport in 2011; I came home for Christmas and spent almost three weeks with her. She “made me” hug her when I left (yes I’m not the biggest touchy-feely person out there) and, if I would have known she’d be gone in less than five months, I would have never of let go.
I am so very tired of dreaming of her and my family in Arizona. I love them all, but I’d like to go back to dreaming of unicorns and super heroes and romances with rock stars - the weird tentacle rape sex dreams are okay too - just no more dreams of what I’ve lost.