commentary

Wake-up call

I am a huge dreamer, and when I say dreamer, I mean I have very vivid dreams every night. Some are inspired by television and movies, others by events in my life; some have apparent meaning and others apparently no meaning at all. Some are remorseful, some nostalgic, and some can be very violent. Sometimes I talk in my sleep, and I know it, and other times I wake crying. But, for all the dreams I have dreamt, not one has been as impactful as one of my most recent dreams.

This was my dream.

My husband and I were in a barn type building; I can still see a large barn door open, and the light flowing in. Another man was with him and whatever he was doing we really didn’t want to partake in, but we knew to get him out of our lives we just had to finish the task at hand.

I remember the man turning to me and telling me to pay attention; I had to assemble multiple bicycles by myself while they continued with whatever they were doing. I can remember trying to pay attention because I knew it was important.

Cut to the next scene; I was sitting by the open barn door and my dog, who in reality passed many years ago, came over to me, climbed on my legs and nestled into me. I hugged and kissed him, running my hands over his thick blond fur. I remember feeling so relaxed and comforted by his presence; it was such a natural wonderful feeling. As we cuddled, I noticed a vehicle in the distance driving towards us, and for some reason I got up quickly; it was like I knew something bad might happen. I hid behind the front of an old truck; the dog disappeared.

Without warning gun fire broke out and I peeked around the truck only to see a horrific scene – bullets flying back and forth between my husband, the man, and men just outside the barn door. The outsiders were gunned down quickly; my husband was safe. I thought the worst was over until the roof seemed to evaporate and gunfire rained down into the barn from a thick grove of trees. There was no escaping that; my husband and the man were left lying on the floor motionless.

I was frozen in place. I heard more men enter the barn and walk to the truck where I was hiding. The truck changed from an old pickup to an army type vehicle with a closed canvas on the back. They climbed into the truck quickly; one man’s face was distinct – black narrow eyes and a pencil thin black goatee. The last man, who looked like a young Bruce Dern, saw me hiding there. I looked up at him hoping he wouldn’t blow my cover and he told me I needed to get into the truck, but I didn’t, and they drove away.

I got up slowly and yelled for the dog; he came running into the barn. I looked briefly at the two bodies lifeless on the floor. I remember thinking I needed to call the police. Instead of walking over to my husband, I turned away, focused on a back-stair way out of the barn. As I watched the dog run up the stairs, I turned and took one last look at my husband; that one last look afforded me a moment too tender to even attempt to explain. I watched him lift his head just a bit as if to say, “I am still here,” and without hesitation I rushed to his side.

Kneeling beside him, I held his face gently in my hands. With tears streaming down my face I distinctly remember saying, “I love you, I love you, . . .  “I will always be with you.” His eyes rolled and we never made eye contact, but even in the midst of his certain excruciating pain, he seemed at peace. I remember thinking I should call 911, what if he had a chance to survive, but I think I knew he didn’t have long, and that it was more important to be with him than to lose him while I ran to get a phone. I needed to be present; I needed to connect with him right then, and that’s where my dream ended.

I was crying when I woke, horrified by the events of my dream. I knew it wasn’t real, and that he was downstairs sitting in his chair on that early Sunday morning, but I couldn’t stop the tears. I grabbed my robe and made my way to him. I was calm, but needed a hug right away. He knows too well that I’m a vivid dreamer; he just held me and tried to comfort me, “It was only a dream”, he said. I finally gathered myself and retold the story, much to my discomfort. I cried again.

There are many times I remember bits and pieces of my dreams and I think about their meaning, but for the most part they dissipate and I go on without them. This dream was different; this one was powerful, and I honestly hope I never forget how I felt and what I said in that dream. Losing my husband would be disabling, to say the least.

After analyzing the dream, I can identify points where I felt uncertainty, comfort, protection, fear, and brokenness. But it was those last final moments with him that impacted me the most. I didn’t say, “Don’t leave me”, I said, “You’ll always be with me.” I was so present in that moment; I wasn’t fearful for my future, I wasn’t in denial about the reality of him dying, I was there with him trying to comfort him. Brokenness was replaced by connection.

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Art credit: Donna Estabrooks

A dream is without question a personal experience. What I conclude from my dream may not be what anyone else sees or interprets, which means I am allowed to make my dream purposeful for me. Can a dream change a person? I think it can if you want it to. We can choose to give our subconscious a way to reach out, to push us toward clarity and action.

Was my dream a wake-up call, a voice screaming out from deep within me saying, “treasure the ones you love right now because the future is unpredictable; be patient and kind through the difficult moments and more importantly, the selfish moments of life, because people matter.” I think it certainly qualifies.

What I know for sure is this is the first dream I have ever had that I can remember from start to finish, whether it lasted 30 minutes or five minutes. What I know for sure, is that within this dream when I was confused I was provided comfort, when I was fearful I was provided protection, and when I was faced with loss my instincts to comfort kicked in. I may have cried at the horrific scene within the dream and even after I woke, but what I can’t deny is the overwhelming feeling of tenderness I shared with my husband in that dream. We were bonded together by an amazing force.

Are our dreams subconscious messages, possibly road maps to a happier life? Make of them what you will, but for me, this dream hit me at my core. It was far too impactful for me not to listen. We all need wake-up calls from time to time – this was mine.

 

 

 

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