Dare to dream

young-nana

This summer, as I was crawling out of the hole of PTSD and facing the brick wall of my husband not wanting to get divorced, I had a  dream. Calling it a dream feels like such an injustice. It was an experience…one that just so happened to occur while I was sound asleep. Yes, that sounds better.

It’s been four months, but I still remember it. You don’t normally remember dreams for this long, but like I said…I’m sure it wasn’t just a dream. Here’s how it went down: In between the hodge podge of me traveling to all sorts of places, staying in weird hotels, bringing the boys skiing, whatever (just a chaotic mix of running around), I come to see my Nana. My sweet Nana, my dad’s mom…the one who I stayed with every weekend after Mom moved away when I was 9.  The female caretaker who gave me the attachment bond I was craving after the bond with my mother was severed. In real life, I wear her wedding band. I have her rocking chair. I use her baking pans. I keep her memory alive in my daily routine as best I can. In the dream, she was there, right in front of me. Sitting at a picnic bench. So vivid. So real.  So beautiful.  I stop the chaotic running around and center myself to her presence. As it is in every single dream I’ve had about her since she died, I know it’s a dream. I know it’s not real, but I don’t care, because I’m just so happy I get to see her sweet face in front of me and not have it be a memory or photograph. Since I know it’s a dream,  I appreciate every second of it, and dread the end…the waking up. Every time I see her in my dreams, she doesn’t talk and I never touch her. That’s just the unspoken rule we both understand…until that night. I see her sitting at the table. She’s looking away from me, like she often does. I get up close to her and look at her face, her skin. It feels so good, so nostalgic, to be that close to her again. I’m absorbing every part of what I see…her cheeks, her neck, her mouth, her hands. She looks up at me. I’m standing next to her as she’s sitting, and she looks up at me, smiling. But unlike her other dream visits, she has tears in her eyes. At first, I can’t tell if she’s really sad or happy. As  I know it’s a dream,  I can appreciate that this is different than when I normally see her. Smiling,  I take her face and I cup it in my hands. I’ve never touched her in my dreams before. This was so special. I’m cupping her chin in my hands, with my fingers holding each cheek. I’m actually feeling my grandmother for the first time in 16 years. God, it felt so real.  Her eyes are welled with small puddles of tears, but she’s smiling. I know I can’t talk to her, nor she to me. That’s the rule.  Touching her grounded me. Amid all the turmoil in my life, touching her made everything bad stop for a few minutes and I felt lovable again. In my mind, I’m thinking “I miss you so much. What am I going to do when I wake up and you’re not here?” Wow, I’m crying as I typed that sentence. She looks at me, and doesn’t talk…but she thinks something, and I can hear it, in my brain. She thought “When you think about missing me, just think about the love you feel all around you. That’s me. That’s my love”. I could hear her think that in my head.I felt the emotion of what she was saying to me. I emerge from this dream hearing a sound emit from my body…like a start of a wail. I wake up to realize she’s gone. I’m in my bed, alone. Except, I don’t feel alone. I realize the magnitude of what just happened, and I feel lucky, because I know she just gave me such a powerful message, even though I’m not sure of what it is. I think that’s why she was crying. She’s sad for what I’m going through, because she loves me like no one has before, but she’s smiling to show me that love and to let me know that she knows I will pull through this and she knows I will be happy.   I’m not 100% sure, but I know it’s close to that. It has to be, because in just writing and remembering it, tears are flowing…and I feel  happy.

I often ask Nana to come to me in my dreams, because her unconditional love makes me feel safe. I want to wrap that love around me like a warm blanket and hibernate forever in it, but you can’t hibernate forever. That would mean you aren’t living.  She never comes when I ask, of course. She comes when it’s time. The week of that dream, I’d been using guided meditations of Lisa A. Romano on the Insight Timer app. They are all about healing the inner child, whether it’s from abuse or neglect or living with narcissistic parents. They are supposed to reprogram your brain to get rid of the thought processes that were created as a byproduct of the abuse. I think the dream was a direct result of  listening to those meditations.  Nana has probably been giving me messages in her dream visits all the time, but I never knew how to receive them or even notice them. I wasn’t open because my thought processes were all screwed up. I was in survival mode, except I wasn’t really surviving. I’ve spent my life sealed shut…my brain’s way of protecting me. But now I’m starting to open. Therapy,  yoga, meditation, exercise…nurturing myself and learning to love myself has cracked open my shell. Nana was crying because she loves me so much…I’m going through all this pain, and she’s feeling it. Except, she’s smiling, because she knows it’s only temporary. She knows. It’s funny how we always shielded her when she was alive. She was so pure, we didn’t want to taint her. “Don’t tell Nana, it would kill her”. She never knew of any troubles I had. Ha! We were so wrong! She knows…and she’s not tainted. She was a stronger woman than we gave her credit for. She was looking at me, though those tears, knowing…and smiling. And I get it now. I’m a stronger woman than I gave myself credit for. Now, I can look at myself, through my tears, knowing….and smiling.

 

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8 thoughts on “Dare to dream”

  1. Damn! Now you’ve got me all teared up. You wrote, “Calling it a dream feels like such an injustice. It was an experience…” Yes, what you had was not a dream, it was a genuine visitation from your Nana. I had one of these after a friend’s husband died. They are very different from a dream, as you know. The rule you have about not speaking- as you saw, you don’t need to speak with telepathy. And such a beautiful message/experience she gave you!! When you recalled touching her face, it reminded me of an experience I had where I was at a holistic fair and a woman was talking about connecting with our departed loved ones. She led us through a guided meditation, and I decided to try to connect with an uncle who passed thirty years ago. At one point, she had us imagine what we might say to them and how they might answer us back. When I “imagined” what he’d say, I actually heard his voice outside my head. At first I thought I’d imagined it, but I actually heard. his. voice! And it was outside of my head, not in my own thoughts. It blew me away. And hasn’t happened in that way again. But I’ve learned that I can connect in other ways.

    What a beautiful gift that your Nana continues to give you: her love. (Gonna check out that app).

    1. Wow, that’s pretty cool that you had that happen while you were awake! I’m always hesitant to tell people I know about these dreams, or the synchronicity that seems to surround me lately. It’s much easier to risk being called crazy by strangers online than by people I need. I guess that’s the goal, to not feel differently between the two. Lot’s of work…

      1. It’s still new. You’ll get there.

        Yes, after I stopped doubting myself about if I really heard my uncle or not, I cried. It was so amazing to hear his voice again. That’s how I finally decided it was real. It was his voice. These days when I connect with someone, I tune into how they feel and get a sense of the thoughts in my own head. I rarely do it because I’m working on being able to purposely connect to my own higher self and wisdom.

  2. Hello my darling Cha….

    I am sorry I have not replied sooner…. as soon as you told me you were writing this blog…I read the first one, the day you told me you had started this…I started to read the 2nd one and realized this was something that required my full attention and not something I do while waiting in the car for my son to finish up with band practice..so I waited until I had time…and today…this morning… I did.

    First let me start with… How incredibly brave I think you are by putting yourself out there with all your precious vulnerability…Let me tell you ..it is rare to hear the inner thoughts of many of those around us, because most of us are scared of what someone might think…strangers not so much…but those that know us..maybe they are related to us and they are mentioned in our thoughts and not always in a good way..and we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings ..cuz God knows…we know what that feels like to be hurt by words and we don’t want to intentionally hurt anyone…so…. BRAVE of you to write it down and share it anyway!

    Now… about Nana… I never knew just how close you were to her. I remember meeting her only once during our childhood and I believe it was the time we had gone to a thrift store and you had bought this shirt?? It was a lovely green paisley polyester blend special edition and we then went to visit your Nana to show her the shirt you bought…correct me if my memory is all off cuz it happens…but I remember her oohhing and ahhing over that damn shirt and we were just cracking up! Cuz it was such a crazy ass shirt!!!

    As you know … my gram was such a special force in my life throughout my teens… She was the one and only that stood by me throughout ALL of it…She demanded respect from me and that I demand respect for myself. I fought her every step of the way..all her damn rules…I couldn’t stand it at the time…curfews…time frames… checkins… wardrobe critiques… it was constant and I thought she just didn’t understand the times and how important it was for me to be cool and fit in!

    But the thing is…she understood it all…. I just wasn’t there yet. I didn’t understand that it didn’t ultimately matter how I dressed..it mattered more on how I carried myself. I could go on and on about her…but that is not what this response is about ….
    This response is about my dreams of her….
    I dreamt of my gram every day the moment she had her life altering moment…leaving her with brain damage and taking away my gram as I knew her forever. She no longer knew where she was or what year it was or sometimes… who I was. But from the moment she was sent to the hospital…the dreams began.
    She showed up..every night…I could feel her before I could see her…I could actually smell her…she smelled like her home…can’t describe it, but it was her. She would just be there…it was bat shit crazy! I would be in the middle of any wacko crazy dream…sometimes the dreams were sexual and there she would be and I would be like…REALLY?????
    She didn’t say much ..she would just be there… but every once in while she would say something to me…and whenever that happened it was a JOLT…I would remember what she said and it would pulse through me….my young 23 year old brain would shout at me…THIS IS IMPORTANT! Her words were instrumental in my steps towards adulthood…maturing…thought shifting…mind stirring…and always profound. She was sick for five years before she died. The day she died is the day the dreams ended. To this day, I don’t know why she appeared when she was alive and disappeared when she died…but she did. I’d like to think I absorbed a piece of her spirit or maybe she didnt think I needed her advise anymore…or maybe somewhere in the busyness of my life I stopped listening. I am not sure. I just know she has never appeared in my dreams again. It has been 17 years since her death… I am the person I am today because of her…I wish she could have seen me blossom into the woman I am today. I hope I make her proud. Though over the last decade of my life…she might not be. I divorced my husband…she would have hated that. I drink more than I should…she always hated that. I don’t go to church…she would have really hated that. Ugh..sorry…I can’t talk about her without carrying on…
    All of that is to say…. I SO GET THIS!
    And that I never knew…
    But now I do…
    And maybe you never knew…
    But now you do…

    1. Wow. So, part of the reason I started this blog was to practice my writing, writing for an audience, in particular. Another reason why I’m doing this is to get things that are in me to be outside of me. And the third, and possibly biggest, reason I’m writing this blog is to share something that people might connect to…something that might stir something up in them and maybe, at some point, help them in some way. Is this going to help you? I don’t know. I do know that it connected with you, and that makes me smile (Even though the things that really connect you and me are not things to smile about). And the fact that it connected with you, stirred something up in me. Maybe this will help me in my journey. I’m not really going to try an analyze it too much…I always have to remind myself, “trust the process”. I know that everything that is happening to me, no matter how life changing or how minute, is part of the process. Part of my transformation from my “representative” to me.

      I love you. And I love the more recent “us”. I never knew, but now I do:)

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