A week ago, I dreamt that my mother was dead. I did not witness her death, but there was an absolute certainty that she was dead. (Offstage, as it were.) Now, part of me knew I was dreaming, knew that she was dead in the dream only. I observed my reaction in the dream, which was a curious emotion I would not have anticipated.
I have wondered in recent years what my response will be when she does pass on. We've had such a troubled relationship, and I've moved from sorrow to anger and now pretty much I just feel compassion peppered with occasional frustration. I've known that her death will have a profound impact on me, I just don't know what it will be--guilty relief? a child's rage? a deep and wordless sorrow?
My response in the dream was curious to me because it was none of these. I can't put words to it other than to say that it was an emotion that I knew could only come when your mother dies; and that it was transforming.
I took the dream as a sign that something had shifted in me, something had let go. When we dream of death, it's said we're experiencing great change in our lives, shedding layers of ourselves, saying goodbye to parts of our psyche that are no longer useful.
I thought the dream's significance was that I were somehow finally free.
See, ever since I can remember, up until last week, every other day or so I'll have a nightmare involving my mother. I feel chased, caught, trapped, suffocated, frightened. I've watched murders, knowing my mother was in the house. I've watched houses crumble from the inside, knowing she was there. I've witnessed torture, unsure of which was more frightening--that or my mother. I've hidden in closets and run through strange homes, all the while feeling watched by her. I never see her in the dream, but I know she's there. They almost don't even qualify as nightmares anymore because I'm like, "Oh, I know this dream. Here we go again. Fuck."
Um, it's a little oppressive.
So I was excited to think I'd have new dreams.
Last night, in a dream about being unable to reach things physically; about watching a Rabbi friend have a sermon interrupted; about noticing that a dedicatory plaque in the synagogue had misspelled my name (well, had used my birth name instead of my chosen name [!]); about walking with several other people whose faces I could not see--all of us with rolly luggage--under a covered walkway that had coins flatly embedded in the sticky and uneven macadam; about my new pair of glasses having a broken nosepiece and me then having to wear old glasses through which I could not see clearly...
There she was. I could not see her, but she was there. Watching, judging, interfering energetically.
She is never a loving presence. I am always terrified.
i'm a white writer. in new york. original, no? i've been blogging since october 2002. this blog picks up in october 2008, when i moved from DC to NY...(and then I moved to Maine in 2012)