Most of my dreams seem completely random, based on whatever I've been watching, reading, or happens to be crawling around in my brain somewhere.
But there are a few recurring themes that pop up every once in a while. One of those revolves around grief.
At some point during my dream, someone I've lost - usually a pet, but sometimes a grandparent - is alive again. My brain doesn't make a big deal about this at first. It's perfectly natural that Maggie is hanging out with Mikenna, Aeris, and Gwen. Duh. Or maybe we're at my grandma's house in upstate New York, and I'm showing Matt around.
But at some point, my brain starts to catch up with things. This isn't right. They shouldn't be here. I don't know why, and I actually resent my brain a little bit for it's desire to straighten this problem out. After all, I dream about all sorts of highly impossible things, why not let me have this?
Alas, there's always the shift.
Where I didn't notice it before, Hannah's hair is now patchy and she is very frail. Maggie is hiding and I know it's because she's dying. My grandma is lying in bed. I know that my time is short with them.
Mercifully, my brain always stops short of the actual death, but it's always emotionally jarring to go from being so happy to have someone, to understanding that they're going to die - again.
Though as morbid and sad as this is, this is actually a bit of an upgrade, because for a very long time, I had dreams where we would realize that our dog, Max, had not actually died, but we had buried him in the backyard. So I would frantically run to the yard to dig him up before he suffocated.
OR, for whatever reason, I would dream that we had saved him from suffocating to death, but he was still sick with heart failure, so he was only going to die again soon anyway.
Thanks brain. Thanks a LOT.
If I could just have the parts of the dream where those I've loved are alive and well, I would love it. But as it is, I'm always sad when I wake up from those dreams. They're an emotional wringer, for sure.
But these dreams tell me that somewhere, I'm still grieving their losses. Max died in 2003, Maggie and my grandma, 2004, Hannah, 2005. It's been a while. Here and there, I've even dreamed about a dog, BJ, who died when I was no more than 5.
Does this mean that some part of us will always grieve losses? I don't know. Much as I hate these dreams, I'd rather have them and know that I remember them than to have forgotten them completely.