Dreaming of you hurts...
I have a recurring dream. The tone is fretful and broken. I find myself splintered by excruciating decisions surrounding my deceased grandmother's possessions, fearful I've forgotten to pay her final taxes, desperate to find a lost file or document, certain I have let her down in some major way. I'm frantic and the dream can turn into a nightmare if I don't wake. There is rarely a positive turn to this dream.
But the other night, there was a shift. I walked into my grandmother's bedroom with dread and pain and just as my thoughts swung to their usual desperation, there she was. My darling grandmother, my Mimo. I could not see her clearly but I could feel her and she wrapped me in her arms and held me close and I could smell her wonderful smell: Vitabath, L'Heure Bleue, a morning cigarette, fresh coffee. She said, "Don't worry honey, you already took care of it. I know you miss me but I am always with you."
When I was a little girl, after Mom died, whenever Mimo and I had to part ways, she would remind me - and my brother - that even though we may be in different towns, she was always thinking about us. She'd say, "Just like E.T., I'll be right here!" and she'd point to our foreheads.
Post-loss dreams can be painful, beautiful, helpful, challenging, even frightening. These expressions of our subconscious can help us connect with our loss, with our memories, with our loved ones. The wonder of brain science aside, I choose a simple approach with grief dreams: Even if our dreams cause us pain, they help us experience our feelings. Expressing emotions moves us through the grief continuum.
Spiritually, I choose to believe this latest dream expression of my Mimo comes from Truth. She is with me, exactly as she said she would be, and reliving those post-loss tasks, long ago complete, does not serve me - or her memory.
Tips for getting the most out of these experiences:
- Journal about your dream and the feelings it brings up.
- Share with a "Dream Partner" (someone who can listen without judgement while you do the same for them)
- Read up on the psychology of dreams, a good place to start is Psychology Today.
If you'd like to share a dream on the blog, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll check in with you before I share it of course.