I dream of my Mom and I feel unsettled. 

I dream of my Mom and I feel terrified.

I dream of my Mom and I don’t want it to end. 

I dream of my Mom and I feel uplifted.

I began to dream of my mother frequently 6 months after she died. At first I felt deeply unsettled, aware her presence was fleeting and I couldn’t control anything and she didn’t seem to be aware of me and my desperate grief. It was as though she was playing a role and not an interactive one.

One day I took a nap in the afternoon. To my surprise and excitement  I came slowly awake to the sound of my Mom talking on the phone in the other room.

I leapt from my bed, flung my door open and there she was talking on the phone no more than 8 feet away.

She seemed surprised when I threw my arms round her neck and sobbed into her hair, ” How is this possible? How are you here?”

She hugged me back but didn’t hang up the phone. marveling she was there at all I felt elated but couldn’t understand why she seemed preoccupied and didn’t recognize this for the miracle it was.

“How is this possible?” I continued to wonder. “This has to be real. I woke up so I can’t possibly still be dreaming…right? …right?!”

I feel as though the construct of reality is unraveling without my control. Tethered no longer in dreamland, I’m sucked back to reality.

My reality doesn’t include time with my Mom anymore. In my reality my Mom is not on the phone. In my reality I can’t hug my Mom. In my reality my Mom is dead and it sucks.

I mention this instance not because I am fond of melancholy and tearjerking. I mention it because the dreams, and that one in particular, were jarring and frightening and I had no idea it might happen or how difficult I’d find it.

I felt like I had to say goodbye to her all over again every time I woke up. What was worse than saying goodbye repeatedly was having no control over when she’d show up in my dreams and if she’d even notice me. I still find it a little upsetting when it happens.

I wish I’d known how deeply grief would affect every aspect of my life, even my dreams. I don’t know that knowledge beforehand would have changed things as the grief experience is different for everyone. I do know knowledge is power and the dreams made me feel powerless as did heavy grieving. 

That is why I share this story, that it might provide knowledge, insight, or even just a sense it’s OK to be completely frustrated and freaked out trying to figure out grief and how to cope.

K

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