When I was 14 my grandfather died. It was one of those deaths that everyone knew was coming. My mom brought me and each of my siblings over one at a time to visit with him right before he died. He was sort of fading in and out of talking gibberish and making sure we were all okay. Every time he drifted my step-grandmother brought his attention to me, sitting at the foot of his bed, and he would smile. I remember being woken up by my mom early one morning because she had sat with him through the night. She sat on the side of my bed and woke me up and before she opened her mouth I knew what she was going to say. I had a dream the night before I was locked in a room with his coffin.
This was a series of dreams I had been having for a good 6 months prior to his death. I would wake up mid sobbing or puffy eyed and not really remember the dream but knew it had something to do with him. I didn’t handle the funeral very well, but I blame my sister for that. She’s the strong one. And right before the wake she cracked like I had never seen her do before and it scared the shit out of me. If she can’t handle something, I know I won’t be able to deal.
The dreams didn’t stop, however they did change. The first one started with a phone call. My grandfather called from heaven with some news to deliver and after talking to my mom and not being able to get her to listen, I got on the phone. He told me the news, and I knew he had to hang up but I shouted “I miss you” and he was gone. I woke up and ran to deliver the news to my mom. The dreams continued sporadically and the phone calls changed to my grandfather coming over to spend a day with me around the house to catch up on how everyone was doing. The weird part was sometimes we would speak in French. I had always regretted not being able to speak in French with him (he was fluent – from Zurich) but I had yet to become fluent.
Anyway, that’s the only death of someone who was very close to me. And I don’t think the dreams were foreshadowing anything. I think the dreams were there to help me deal with fear. I wrote about my grandmother being sick. She finally made it home last week after delays with infections. And my dreams about death started up again. And this isn’t foreshadowing anyone’s death. That woman is a steel magnolia. I expect she’ll surpass everyone’s expectations like usual, although she will take a little longer to do so this time around.
Instead this is more of a selfish concern about growing up. I will face mortality again inevitably. And I think my psyche is prepping me for facing my fears, getting the tears out in my sleep until I’m strong enough to think about them when I’m awake. So I push away a little, call my mom, ask her to check up on people for me because I’m too scared to do it myself.
I think part of learning how to love is learning how to deal with death. No one is naturally good at dealing with death. But I do know that the more I love someone, the more likely I am to keep a certain distance. And I’m sure everyone does this to a degree. The dreams that started again have knocked me off kilter. I’m stubborn and really good at convincing myself I’m tough. But not so much lately.