I have been wondering when this would happen. I’ve thought a lot about why it has not happened. But I am not in control of my dreams. It’s no surprise to me that it finally happened during the full moon.
I dreamed about Beth for the first time since last August. It has been 10 months and 27 days since she passed away. I have had a million dreams about crazy things that make no sense. People and places that have no connection in real life. Fighting bad guys. Intense chase scenes. Nearly naked in public places with no idea what happened to my clothes.
But nothing about her. Until now.
It’s a short dream. I am outside my house in a mild stage of panic. I have to go, meaning that if I don’t go soon, there will be irreversible bladder damage.
Oddly enough, this is my house but it’s not like my house at all. It’s a brick house with a basement. I have neither. There are other houses nearby in my nocturnal reality. But I live in the woods with no other house in sight.
I try the front door, turning the doorknob several times. The door is locked. I’ve got to go. I do the crouched walk around by the garage that I don’t have, also brick with white trim and a gray roof.
In real life, ever since I was a small boy, if I was outside with the need to go there was never a reason to panic. My dad taught me the freedom of going outside. I may have found myself in crunch mode a few times at the big box store or the grocery store. But never while I was out in the yard. Outside, in fact, is the preferred place to go.
Next scene. I don’t know how I got there, but I’m standing at the door to the basement that I don’t have. It won’t open. I’m peering in through the dark window but I can’t see a thing.
I step back in one of those squirmy little boy moves. Something catches my eye and I turn to my left. And there she is. A young Beth standing about 20 feet away. Long auburn hair laying across her shoulders. A shy smile, barely noticeable. Just looking at me. She’s dressed in black with white flowers on her shirt. She doesn’t say anything. My image of her doesn’t last more than just a few seconds because that’s when I woke up.
In the dark of my room, moon beams piercing through the window, the first thing I thought about was, “Boy, I’ve really got to go.” It was not until I made the sleepy shuffling walk back to my bed that I realized I had just dreamed about her. I closed my eyes hoping that she would return.
More than any description that I can find adequate, my life of the last 10 months has been defined by her absence. I am not deeply sad about that any longer, but every now and then I still feel the hollow in my gut.
Like one day last week. I had a particularly rough day at work. The day was a mess. My normal level of enthusiasm for problem solving was siphoned off to the point I was dragging. My emotional fuel gauge was on empty by the time I got home.
I couldn’t stop thinking that if she was here, she would make everything okay. Just coming home to her fixed a lot of things in my life. She would listen to me talk about all that was wrong in my world. She would say something funny. We’d laugh at my pity party. Being around her would always give me a second wind.
But not that day. I ate my supper in silence.
I used to dream about us a lot. I know because Beth would tell me.
“You were dreaming last night,” she’d say.
“Oh yeah? How’d you know I was dreaming.”
“You were singing out loud.”
I had some recollection. “Was I any good?”
She smiled. “About the usual.”
“I was singing to you, you know.”
“You should keep practicing.”
Most of my dreams don’t stay with me. They are like a vapor that’s here and then gone. A kind of early morning fog that dissipates into thin air. I know that I dreamed, but I can’t recall about what.
But this one has stayed with me. I saw her. I’m not saying I had a spiritual visitation. I’m well aware that it was nothing more than a dream. It only lasted for one brief second. But in that moment, that deep and hidden part of my cerebral cortex finally remembered her.
I have gotten to the point where it’s not easy to conjure up an image of her in my mind. Ten months ago, I could see her with ease. I could just close my eyes and I could hear her voice or see her face. Back then I had a hard time believing she was gone.
The passing of time has changed all that. Some days it feels like I’m forgetting more than I’m remembering. This is one of the reason’s I have wanted so much to dream of her. Not to live in some kind of morbid past. I am sane enough to move on. But if a dream comes to me, I’ll take even the smallest most insignificant memory of her, if for no other reason than it makes me smile.
This probably all sounds silly unless you’ve been there. I’m even a little embarrassed to talk about it. You might start to think that I’ve gone off the deep end. All this talk about dreams. But I have an idea that God uses our dreams. We are made of more than just cells and tissues and neurons. We are connected across unknown boundaries to those we love.
In our simple way of thinking, we like to imagine that connection. None of us know for sure, but we like to think that our loved ones know what’s going on in our lives. We want to believe that they still care about how we’re doing. Staying connected reminds us that we belong to something eternal.
I have thought about me looking through that dark basement window. Kind of like the dark glass through which we see the mystery of life itself. I cannot see on the other side. What I think I know about any of this is imperfect. But I do know that life here on this earth fades with time. And I must wait.
I don’t want to try and make too much of anything out of my dream the other night. It was just a dream and not some bizarre psychic experience. But I am strangely relieved that she finally showed up. That’s all. Her absence leaves me a little less empty having “seen” her for the first time in a long time.
Besides, she did do me a huge favor.
I haven’t wet the bed since I was 8 years old.