Tag Archives: bereavement

I Dreamed that My Dad Survived

27 Dec

I dreamed that my dad survived cancer.

The year was 2014 (the year that he actually died). Dad was in a hospital. I felt guilty, because my siblings and I had been neglecting him, leaving him alone at the hospital.

So I went to the hospital. It was on a derelict street that could have been a suburb of Chicago or the outskirts of the city. There was hardly any traffic, and a chain link fence was by the hospital.

I pulled up and parallel parked, only to realize it looked like an illegal parking place. I got out and walked around outside the hospital to find a legal place to park (or did I drive around?). Behind the hospital was some parking. So I started walking back to the car. Strangely, this involved walking around a chain link fence just north of the hospital. Someone drove past me. I felt lost and confused and had no idea what to do. I remembered where I’d parked my car, but somehow it was taking me a long time to get to it. I ended up huddling next to the chain link fence.

Not Celebrating

13 May

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are miserable after your parents die. In less than an hour, this Mother’s Day will be behind me. This will be the third Mother’s Day since my mother’s death in March of 2016. It hasn’t gotten easier.

So many businesses inundate the Internet—including my inbox—with ads that say, “Happy Mother’s Day!” and urge me to buy gifts for my (dead) mother. This is what greeted me this morning, after I finished writing in my dream journal. I wanted to scream at all these businesses. NEWSFLASH: NOT EVERYONE’S PARENTS ARE STILL ALIVE! Their behavior seems not merely inconsiderate but downright cruel. I unsubscribed from three email lists.

In the late morning, I took a walk in my neighborhood under a too-bright and relentless sun. As I walked past a neighbor’s house, I noticed a lilac bush in their front yard, so I leaned forward and sniffed the beautiful aroma.

I recalled that during my childhood and adolescence, a vacant lot was across the street from our house, and in that vacant lot were two lilac bushes. For years, I picked lilacs on Mother’s Day and gave them to my mother.

Remembering this on my walk today choked me up, after all that anger at the internet. I kept walking and knew the high for the day was supposed to be eighty-three degrees, and it felt like it had already reached the high. It must have been the sunlight, because as soon as I got home, my smart phone indicated that it was only sixty-six degrees, which I could hardly believe.

This ended up as a day of bereavement more intense than I anticipated, especially since I was closer to my dad, and my mother was a narcissist. Even if your mother was a narcissist, you grieve for her…and sometimes for the nurturing mother you never had. I spent the afternoon napping, meditating, and reading. I managed to finish reading three books in one day. This evening especially, I’ve allowed myself to be with the grief. The anger I felt earlier is gone.

Valentine

14 Feb

When I was an undergraduate, on Valentine’s Day I was once in a little office with two or three other students, and we were all collating papers for something that escapes my memory. We may have, in addition to sorting the papers into a certain order, folding them and slipping them into envelopes and then sealing said envelopes; certainly, I’ve done that kind of volunteer work for nonprofits.

Since it was Valentine’s Day, the other students were sad that they didn’t have dates. Much as I’ve always loved romantic nineteenth-century literature, even back then I was happy to be single, but I kept that to myself.

We agreed that having chocolate would be a great consolation. One, maybe two, of us went to a supermarket and came back with a gallon of the most hedonistic chocolate ice cream they could find, probably Rocky Road.

About twenty-five years later, this month I was at a supermarket and spotted Coconut Bliss non-dairy ice cream for sale and bought myself not one but two pints of Chocolate Fudge Brownie (and finished one pint before Valentine’s Day). Thus, I’m continuing a tradition of pretending to feel lonely on Valentine’s Day, so I can indulge in my chocolate addiction.

Meanwhile, the anniversary of my dad’s birthday is coming up on February 16th. That only occurred to me yesterday. Bereavement anniversaries bring… things… up. “Things” often meaning a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Memories are another thing. I shouldn’t suppress grief but should mindfully observe it, or so I tell myself. Still, I might do something self-indulgent that day, such as watch a movie or attend a ghost convention.

Back from the Dead

31 Dec

I dreamed that Cheetah came back from the dead.

100_0139

She was a feisty grey tabby who lived with me for two decades. She passed away on January 16, 2016.

In the dream, I lived in what looked like my parents’ house—the house that was recently sold. At least, it looked just like it, and the neighborhood resembled that neighborhood.

I had just flown back home from Phoenix and was walking down Smoke Road to the house. It was bright and sunny outside, with a bright blue sky, and I was surprised it wasn’t cold and snowy and was relieved, too, since I’d gotten accustomed to the Phoenix weather.

At the house, I was in the kitchen and again struck by how bright and sunny it was, how bright blue the sky was as seen through the sliding glass doors, and how comfortable the temperature was, how similar the weather was to Phoenix this time of year. None of the anticipated snow and ice. My cats, the ones I now live with, I think were there, at the house.

I went into a cluttered room, I think a bedroom, and there was a couch with a bunch of blankets on it. I reached into the blankets and pulled out…a perfectly healthy Cheetah. In the reality of the dream, I knew she had been buried in the ground and had come back to life the previous day, had climbed up out of the ground on her own. She seemed young again and perfectly healthy, and she didn’t object when I picked her up and cuddled her. She seemed like a much more mellow version of Cheetah.

After I woke up, I lay there in shock, as it sank in that I had just dreamed that my old cat, Cheetah, came back from the dead.

Oregon is Burning

5 Sep

Today is the second anniversary of my mother’s birthday since her death. Add to that, it looks like the apocalypse outside. And that sociopath is dismantling DACA. I’m not in a good mood.

I’m not the only one freaking out over the hazardous air quality. The following is a letter I’m about to hand-write to my senators and representative:

Dear Senators,

Portland is snowing ash. Portland, Eugene, and other parts of Oregon look like the sky right in front of me: smoky and somewhat orange, with a glowing orange sun. For days, I have been smelling smoke, sometimes even from inside my house. When I ventured outside yesterday—coughing, mind you—I discovered that the public pool was closed due to the hazardous air quality, so I went to a nearby coffee shop, where several of the customers were wearing surgical masks. That reminded me of the handmade cloth masks I saw for sale in Tibet, and I’m going to make myself one today. I should have already done so.

I am absolutely FURIOUS that the narcissistic sociopath squatting in the White House pretends that climate change doesn’t exist and is an invention of the Chinese! Who from planet Earth doesn’t believe in climate change in the year 2017?!? This is proof that Donald Dump and his minions are aliens from another planet, probably Rexicoricus…whatever it’s called. Dump needs to be deported back to his planet.

We need to care about the planet we live on, which is planet Earth. We need to have a government that isn’t so evil and insane that it pretends that climate change doesn’t exist. We see it happening before our very eyes. Oregon is burning. Texas and Louisiana are drowning in flood. We are seeing record high temperatures everywhere. Meanwhile, that heartless monster Donald Dump is fiddling.

Another Unsettling Dream

23 Mar

I dreamed I was staying at my parents’ house and, in my old bedroom, I was thinking about how lately my mother hadn’t been using her creativity, making crafts, and I thought it was a pity and a waste of time and must be frustrating. I noticed the house was very quiet, and I wondered where she was.

But then I remembered: my mother is dead.

It was a shock all over again. I had to remind myself that I was there when she died, and in my head was an image of her lying peacefully in bed and looking about 20 years younger than she really was when she died.

Unsettling Dream

13 Mar

I woke from a dream in which, although I’m middle-aged, I was moving in with my parents.

Early on the dream, my brother and nephew were with us, and we all met up at a building, perhaps a restaurant. First I was waiting in line with my parents, and then I spotted Francis and Malcolm and we talked about something and they headed out, and I decided to go with them, so I was following. It seems to me like the place had very red décor.

My parents and I, just the three of us, were hanging out together—it seems like we were at a shopping mall at some point.

In another scene, we were all three in the house and doing some rearranging to accommodate my stuff and me. I had to rearrange my bedroom and was thinking as though I had the intention of putting all of my possessions in that room, even though I was a middle-aged adult in the dream, the same age I am now. But I had the intention of taking care of my parents, helping them out in their old age.

A desk space wrapped around the edges of my bedroom, and I started arranging stuff on it, including my dollhouse. From another room, I overheard my dad saying something about my needing to finish up redecorating my dollhouse; he was talking to my mother and added, “You still have [something or other], don’t you?” I don’t know if she replied. I felt aware of having a lot of worldly possessions, a lot of knick-knacks and things I’d collected over the years.

A moment later, I was standing in the doorway of my bedroom, and it was drastically different from the room that really had been my bedroom. It was tiny, maybe the size of what started out as my brother’s bedroom, became the nursery/my sister’s bedroom, and ultimately became the library after I finished college and my sister moved into my old bedroom (which was a lot larger).

Anyway, the bedroom I’d be using now had drab grey-yellow carpet that I realized was rather less than impressive and dingy, and I was wondering how I’d fit all my stuff into that tiny space. I was barefoot and was standing there and, while lost in thought, rubbing my bare toes into the carpet.

It suddenly occurred to me: I thought Dad died. How is it possible we’ve been spending all this time with him? Next I realized that I was drowsy and thought I must have just woken from a dream. I couldn’t hear my dad talking anymore, and I suddenly felt scared, terrified that it was true that he was dead.

Then I woke up…and remembered that both my parents are dead.

ISp1uxviybhyf51000000000