15 November 2009


Another widow blogger posted the other day about how she has dreamed about her husband every night for two weeks running. The dreams have brought her peace and restful sleep, although they have also brought her a raw sense of loss upon waking.

I commented on her post that I have not dreamed about John since his death. In fact, I don't think I've ever dreamed about John period. I tend not to dream of people I know well; instead, my dreams center around acquaintances who intrigue me, people I'd like to know better. More than once I've woken up from a dream and realized that I have a crush on someone. Many people who are grieving say that seeing lost loved ones healthy and vibrant in their dreams brings them a sense of calm and happiness. I've envied that, but only in an abstract way since I never expected to see John in the wanderings of my sleeping mind.

As you can now guess, that all changed last night. I had a vivid dream about John, and he was healthy and vibrant, but, oddly, we were attending his funeral together. We were graveside, next to each other, a crowd of people there with us. It was as though we were rehearsing for the service, but everyone was dressed for the real thing, and there was an officiant there. The officiant was an old friend of mine, someone I've reconnected with here in Portland (Hi, Liz! Do you even read my blog?), and she's not a clergy member. The box with John's ashes was in the ground and we were throwing dirt on it, and Liz was giving some kind of speech/sermon/I don't know what, and at the end she said, "Amen," then turned to John and said, "Is 'Amen' okay, or do you prefer a different closing?" He instructed her to use a word I'd never heard before and can't remember; when she looked puzzled, he told her that it meant "my one true love."

Very odd, all of it.

I can't say that dreaming about John made me feel any one way or another. Seeing him in a dream was for me like seeing him in a picture. I find it harder and harder to conjure the real emotion around what it felt like to have him around. I know that I miss him. Of that there is no question. But the specifics of his presence are lost on me. My life is so different now than it was when he was alive that I can't just slot him back in, and in a way, that makes his absence less acute. I can only imagine what it would be like to have him here, but I have no hard evidence to back it up.


Sylvie said...

Oh Stacey, I don't know what to say... just sending you a big hug.

beyond said...

tears in my eyes. thank you for sharing, this is very powerful.

Beth Dunn said...

Thank you for sharing that. xoxo


Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

Beautiful post, as always.

jemy said...

When my grandmother died, after a very long protracted post-stroke decline, my mother dreamed of her many times. The very last dream my grandmother appeared in, she and my mother were walking down the street, and my grandmother was complaining that she couldn't get into the store she had run for over 50 years. My mother told her "that's because you're not here anymore, you died." My grandmother looked puzzled and surprised. My mother said the strangeness of the dream was how low-key the emotions were. My mother then said to my grandmother "You're not supposed to be here anymore. You need to move on." And my grandmother then seemed thoughtful, as if a grand revelation had overcome her. And then my mother woke up, feeling strangely at peace.

However, since the death of my brother-in-law, which was a surprise and a shock, I have dreamed of him many times. And in each dream there has been some sort of mistake. Someone did the paperwork wrong, or the story was told wrong, and really everything is fine. I don't wake from these dreams upset, but strangely enough it's almost as if I believe them. I find myself through breakfast puzzling over how they could have possibly screwed up the paperwork so badly.

But, as you described, neither I nor my mother found these dreams especially hurtful. Just another lens through which to view, I guess. A strange lens though, as dreams often are.

Audrey said...

I have had very few dreams about Anthony, and not until quite recently. In one, I was so surprised he was there that I had to stop the narrative of the dream to point out to him that he was, in fact, dead. A bit rude, perhaps, and it ruined "the story." But I was so shocked he'd appeared.

I'm glad your dream was so peaceful. I find his comment about an appropriate "closing" (closure) to be really interesting.

As always, much love to you. hope your family's all on the mend.

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Aimee said...

Not long after my aunt died, I dreamed that she came to my apartment for the first time (she died before being able to visit). I had drawn a picture of her and in the dream, asked her if she liked it and she said she did. Then I said, "Do you know what they're saying about you? They're saying you're dead!" and then began to laugh about it. Then she laughed, like it was the silliest, most absurd thing we'd ever heard.

It is weird to dream about loved ones and the topic of the dream is their death. Now that you've had the first dream, do you think you want to dream about him again?

Snickollet said...


That dream about your aunt made me laugh, too.

As for dreaming about John again, yes, I'd love to. We'll see . . .


Aimee said...


I'm glad the anecdote made you laugh.

Most of the time, when I have dreamed of loved ones who have passed on, it's been like a visit with them. I've woken up feeling peaceful or happy. I hope that when you dream of John again, you'll have that kind of experience.

django's mommy said...

I can count the number of times I've dreamed about Josh on one hand. In one of the dreams, we were walking through this concrete parking-garage-looking place discussing our son's daycare situation. Three of the dreams contained NC-17 material. In the final one, it wasn't even really a dream, but there was someone looking at me very closely with one eye, and I somehow knew it was him.

I think I like the symbolism of your dream better. Nevertheless, I have always woken feeling... more healed, I guess is the best phrase for it.

BethGo said...

I often dream like this of my cousin whom we lost to brain cancer in 1991. When I see him, he is happy and healthy and very cool, as he always was.
The dreams were torture when I was younger, now I just find myself feeling sad and wistful after I have one. It's been close to twenty years and I still miss him. :(