riding bitch

The life of a writer and survivor of loss.


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Sweet Dreams

People have varying opinions on the origins and meanings of dreams. This post isn’t meant to be a discussion of either, rather an observation on the emotional power dreams can carry. For those of us who have lost loved ones, it can be quite an experience to encounter the person(s) in our dreams. It can feel as if the person has just “visited” or like they’re trying to tell us something. In some cases, it can feel mysterious, jolting, even upsetting.

For years after my mother died, whenever I would see her in my dreams she ignored me – the opposite of how she behaved in life. She had always been the emotional anchor of our family. After my parents split up and my father moved away, in many respects she became the center of my world. Yet, to this day, she has never spoken to me in my dreams. 

The last time I dreamt of her, she was the special guest at a party and when she entered the room, everyone applauded. I felt thrilled, curious and proud to see her looking so beautiful and radiantly happy, almost like a movie star. Of course I still wish one day she would look at me or say something (what I wouldn’t give for a hug), but I have learned to simply be grateful in her presence and respect her independence, for in my dreams she always comes across as a strong, independent woman, comfortable in her own skin and not defined by motherhood.

With Kaz it’s been different. For one, I have dreamt of him more often in the past two years than I have dreamt of my mother in the past twenty. Second, we do interact in my dreams, both physically and verbally. Some of my dreams have been “R” rated. Some have been upsetting, others odd, but most have been good.

In the first few months after he passed, we were definitely still a married couple in my dreams. His body was healthy and strong, the way it had been when we first met and, though we never discussed it, there was a shared awareness that he had been sick and was no longer alive in my waking life.  The combination of these elements gave those early dreams a heightened sense of urgency, like “these few moments are all we have, let’s make them good!” 

After a while, the nature of our relationship in my dreams changed, as if he was evolving with time, or I was, or both. Once I dreamt that he was living with another woman. I felt happy to see him again, especially looking so happy and healthy, but found it difficult to contain my jealousy. That dream ended with me leaving to take a walk around the block because I couldn’t take seeing them together anymore (and pretending to be okay with it).

Last night I dreamt of him again. I only remember the end. We had just finished having dinner with a bunch of friends in a strange city, perhaps Europe, and Kaz had to leave. He walked towards a waiting vehicle, like a van or small SUV. I actually felt shy about following him. Were we still together? Was I still his wife? What was I to him now?  

I finally did follow him, and he turned around to hug me. “I’ll see you later,” he said and smiled. Then he got into the back of the vehicle, and it drove way. My questions hadn’t been answered, but I felt elated and woke up laughing, “I just saw Kaz!”

No matter what the situation, any time I see him (or my mother) in a dream, it always feels like a gift.