When you lose someone you love, dreams seem to become increasingly important. It's a popular topic on the widow boards and everyone seems to relish going to sleep because it brings about the hope of seeing your lost spouse. Now, this could mean just an ordinary dream in which he appears, but it could also be something more. When you have this type of dream, you will know the difference.
I've always been interested in dreams. My therapist had explained a way of interpreting them that I liked very much. Since you are the only person in your consciousness, then every person in your dream represents some aspect of yourself. So, if in the past I dreamed about Dan- I'd say, oh OK, he represents the part of me that is pure, happy, and creative and interpret from there. Dan used to think I had some sort of gift for interpreting dreams because even before this method of interpretation, it came fairly naturally to me. After he told me a dream that was sticking with him, I'd think for a few minutes and then give my analysis. "Hmmm...he'd say, I didn't think about it like that. I think you're right."
One of my very earliest childhood memories was of a dream. I remembered in the dream there was a building on fire. In the building were men dressed as convicts- wearing black and white striped outfits and with large chains and balls wrapped around their legs. I remember there was a painting of fire- and it then turned into fire. I wasn't in the dream per say, but just an observer. It stuck with me- I'd say I had the dream around three or four years of age, but I'm just guessing.
Right before Dan left, Audrey had been experiencing what is called "night terrors." She would wake up half awake and half asleep screaming a horrific scream. She would motion for me to pick her up, but then bat my arms away if I tried. She was clearly not rational. There are two approaches you can take that I read about. First, you can just leave the child alone until they go back to sleep, or second, you can try to wake them fully. I opted for the second because I couldn't stand her terrifying screams and the thought that she was half awake possibly during a nightmare. So, I'd take her to the kitchen, turn the light on, and sometimes give her something to drink, or just open the refrigerator hoping the cool air would wake her. In the end, she'd be sitting on my lap on a kitchen chair, sipping her oo yoo (milk) with a look of surprise and contentment to find herself there.
Dan had written me and email on April 18th while touring in Australia with regards to these night terrors. He was hoping she wasn't having any while he was away, because they were quite scary for one person to deal with alone.
He wrote: I hope she grows
up beautifully and without any darkness looming over her. I love her
so much, I don't want anything to happen to her. I almost want to
shelter her, but I won't be that dad. I love her so much that I want
her to be street smart too.
When I was in college, I had a dream that I still believe was from God. It was in my final year at the University of Virginia and I had been so focused all of those years on achieving while in school- that I found myself with no plans for "after school." So, I was going home to live with my parents and not happy about it. In fact, I was terrified. Most of my friends, who were like family as college friends often are, lived in Virginia so I was feeling very alone. I went a number of days staying in my bed feeling very depressed. In the dream, I was walking down the stairs of my parent's house to the basement- which had always been a dark place to me. Then near the stairwell, I saw a picture of Christ. At that point, the visual dream was of no importance, because I felt a hot whisper in my ear and heard the words, "I am the God who saves you." I woke up scared out of my mind. But...I felt comforted. I wish now I could remember what that voice sounded like- if it was the voice of God, I'd be really curious to know. But the sound of the voice didn't stay with me.
When Dan passed, like the other widows, I thought of praying and asking for some kind of sign- some kind of dream. A new friend who had lost her boyfriend six years ago encouraged me to pray for this kind of dream. She had experienced one and had gained much peace from it. I can't remember what day it was, but I did receive that sign. It was definitely within the first week of your death when I still felt your presence so strongly. I went to sleep as I usually do now, putting my head down on the pillow, covering my whole body and head with the quilt, and grasping onto your wedding band which I now wear around my neck. I said my typical prayer- please let me dream of him. I had my neighbor sleeping next to me.
I was hoping for a visual dream, and the hot whisper I'd felt twelve years ago was not even something I had recalled. But sure enough, it was again, just the same- a hot whisper. This time there was no visual at all. In fact, I felt that there may have been some of those random images shuffling around that the mind divulges while you sleep- the rather meaningless combinations of things you've seen and thought about, but the whisper seemed to interrupt whatever was going on in the background. I felt the heat. I heard the words, clearly in Dan's voice. His voice sounded exactly the same, clear, but with a new warmth to it. It was about three in the morning- I sat straight up in bed, in awe. I thought about waking my neighbor but she was sleeping peacefully, and I decided the whisper was for me alone.
Of course, I had my doubts later. Maybe I was just in so much shock, I thought. But I've since felt with great certainty that what I heard was truly Dan speaking to me from his new reality.
I pray each night still for something more, but if those words are the only words I hear, I think it will be enough to get me through the remainder of my days here on earth.
On December 11th of last year, Dan and I chatted on gmail. It's nice that gmail saves even chats in your archives because I've since gone back and read all of our chats. In it, Dan shared a dream he'd had with me:
"i dreamed of you and audrey last night. audrey was going back and forth between me and you, giving us hugs."