Saturday, March 13, 2010
Saved from A Dream
For a few years now I have had a reoccuring nightmare. It has fallen on me so many times that I know when it's coming even in a dream and I attempt to rationalize it out in my head, assure myself that this simply cannot be happening and I should wake to knit something or maybe make soup. Soup can fix anything, it really can. If I wake briefly, I usually fall right back into it so when I do wake I have to really wake up, take a walk, do something that will distract me for an hour or so and then go back to sleep. In those early mornings I am sure I am the only person in the world awake and if I wanted company Best Friend would wake with one ring or maybe 30 and she'd push aside sleep, for me she would do anything. Isn't love grand? Dreams can seem so real, your mind playing tricks on you and the images rush into your head like the pounding of piano keys and its impossible to stop them even when you are conscious that you are on the other side and know you can fly back to reality and be safe. I always imagine it's the violins that take me home.
The dream you are wondering? Well Richie is young again, very young 6 or 7. I start to rationalize it out, reminding myself he's a grown man now, safe at school studying, working. I think I fall in love with the idea that he is little again, this toe-headed kid who just always wanted to play outside, the junior ghost buster, his laugh contagious. In this nightmare he's out with friends playing in a neighbor's yard and someone calls to tell me they were all shot, a group of small children and this grief falls over me that is so overwhelming I can barely breathe and sometimes when I wake from one of these nightmares I can feel my breathing has changed, I wake almost panic striken. In this overwhelming grief I fall into a deep sleep of trying to find him, trying to push back time and find the day before this could happen and make other plans, move things in a different direction, fix everything. But each time I go back I find another day, the wrong day, a day when we are at the zoo on the big swan boats, a day when we are at the lake house digging in the sand, giant sand piles to make the beach, a day when we are walking the dog in the woods and Richie is sure we'll never find him again because he's run off chasing some noise he's heard. I have a thousand of these adventure days cataloged in the reaches of my bruised heart.
In the frantic search to find the right day, I sleep past his funeral. I have buried many that I love and I rationalize with myself again that this isn't possible that I would be with him every moment until but it doesn't matter I arrive at the cemetery, run past my parents, their bones lying feet below me under the grass to open graves, 6 of them, little tiny open graves and in each a child's size casket. There is indeed nothing that brings about an image of despair quite like a child's casket and these were deep in these open holes with the giant piles of dirt sitting next to each, no one around, everyone gone home to wrestle with their own pain. I even try to convince myself in this dream that there is no way these children would all be buried together, but it doesn't matter. I am lost in grief and start to believe as I do every time I this particular set of images comes to find me that there has been some mistake and that's why I can't find my son in the time frame I looked for him so I climb down into one of the open holes to see his face, to know all this has really happened and this wasn't indeed some horrid mistake.
When I climb down into the hole I can hear the dirt falling on me over my head like sitting inside a large drum and I can't even get the top of the box open and I can't breathe. If I haven't already found a way to wake myself, this is the point where I usually wake, gasping for a breath and sometimes I've been crying. The first time I had this dream I wandered into Richie's room peeking through the crack in the door just to find him sleeping there. Now, I read for awhile, wander downstairs and find some orange juice or make a pot of tea, hoping the whistle of the kettle will shock my head from this grief laden state.
This morning was different. We had a thundering storm here, and if you live on the south side of Chicago you know that the first sign of Spring rain means the power is going out. A few flickers during the Moulin Rouge last night and it was gone, poof. I wandered upstairs to read for awhile, the kittens hovering because the rain noises frightened them and I could feel their little soft bodies under the covers tickling my feet. Dirty White Boy wasn't having any of it and was asleep at my shoulder, his place in the world secure no matter how many little kittens were around and how cute they are. Soon they will be living in someone else's house and I will get an F in the course in Animal Husbandry.
I really do love when my periwinkle room fills with the gray light of a storm or the morning is so early the light hasn't had a chance to throw ribbons on the walls. That gray light is almost like a dream in itself, so beautiful it can't be real. Nature always shocking us with it's incalculable beauty, and this morning was no different, I was in awe. You see, in the middle of the events unfolding as they had so many times before in this dream state, today I was pulled back. Literally. I could feel someone's arms around my shoulders pull me back from it and there I was, not at some grave yard full of terror and anxious grief, but instead back in my blue, almost purple room. Dirty White Boy was snoring, sounding like a lawn mower, there were no tears, just kittens with their heads peering around like flowers popping from the ground sure I was stirring because it was time to feed them again.
This morning I was rescued. Best Friend will tell me later as she always does to reassure me that this is part of healing and soon I will be myself again and this is proof positive. She will tell me that rain storms heal us if we open the window a little to feel the splashes of rain drops on our faces and I did that last night before slipping between the sheets as her voice was the last thing I heard before I went to sleep, right before the power poofed and I thankfully after I heard Nicole sing Come What May. "Suddenly the world is such a perfect place, suddenly it moves at such a perfect pace, suddenly my life doesn't seen such a waste and it all revolves around you."
I knew different though. I knew someone had slipped through that little crack in the window, past the giant robin who perches there watching her new Spring eggs. It was a familiar voice that whispered in my ear "no, not this morning, come with me." He takes me places with him, everywhere with just a few words. There he was this morning, he found a way to my dream, my room and rescued me. I laid there for a few moments in thanks knowing today I didn't have to climb into the hole that I wasn't being dragged in a dream to do something I knew wasn't even happening that all was Ok, as he often tells me it will be and how long it took me just to believe him. Even in the rain I will find eggs Benedict at the local Greek diner sitting in the booth by the window to watch the rain sharing eggs with a friend always makes a Saturday special. And later he will find me, it's what he does. It's our dance, I wait and he looks for me and he whispers to me things that reassure me and I make my way in the world until it happens again. He tells me I am brave and when he is brave he tells me more. I am a blessed girl. This I know. Yes, we are turning toward Spring. The long summer will soon be a distant memory and every now and then we are saved from a dream. Thank you, thank you, thank you.