On Wednesday morning, I woke myself up shortly before my alarm was due to go off. I was dreaming about one of my very good cats, Seymour, and my very best dog, Shade. They are both dead, and I knew this in my dream. The only visual I have left of the dream is of photos of them; two animals who never met in life. I have an aerial image of the photos, which were submerged in a swimming pool. The water was green with algae (more proof that I dream in colour). Either the pool was very tiny or photos were very large, because they nearly covered the bottom. My head tells me it was a tiny pool, as if that really matters.
I don’t remember anything of the dream previous to that image. What is clear in my memory is that I was trying to cry, out of grief for my lost ones, struggling to make a sound and to let the pain loose. I succeeded, but had to come entirely awake to make a sound. I awoke to the sound of my own sobs. The feeling of finally being able to voice my pain was both a relief and terrible.
I couldn’t stop crying, but I didn’t want to. I let myself go on for a bit – lying on my back, weighted down by cats, with hubby next to me. His sleep-breathing went unchanged, as far as I could tell. Eventually I not only made the sounds, but a few tears rolled from each eye. That was all I needed to recover, to acknowledge my good boys.
I got up and went about my morning as usual, but with a heavy feeling of loss to go with my puffy face. When I went upstairs to get dressed for work, I asked iDJ if he’d heard me crying.
He said he had. I said it was pretty bad, and I could have used some comforting – why didn’t he try?
He said that the last two times I cried in my sleep, I shoved him away.
Oh, I said. I didn’t know I had done that before. I was dreaming then. Sorry. This time I was awake. I thought it might have sounded different this time?
No, he said. It was the same. But he’d try again to comfort me the next time.
I don’t ever remember crying myself awake before. To sleep, yes – of course. Cursing, fighting, and arguing myself awake? Sure – and I know I do it a lot more often than I’m aware of as I don’t usually wake up. iDJ is used to my sleep habits, as strange as they apparently are. He’s so very used to them that what felt to me like screams of pain could be ignored. Wow.
I thought about saying something in type, somewhere, about the incident as it felt… prophetic. But I don’t really believe in that sort of thing. Despite the one dream I had that… well, that’s another story.
And even if I did blare it all over Facebook, and my blog: what then? A) Nothing bad happens and I look like my normal not-quite-right self. B) Something bad does happen and I’m in the “I told you so!” position – awkward and goes way beyond not-quite-right when you try to talk about it. C) Something bad does happen, but not to me, and has nothing to do with my animals or to my family, and does not cause me to feel anything like the loss I experienced that morning.
A) and C) suit my skeptical mind. A) is no harm to anyone. C) however, if something happens, is a matter of coincidence and I refuse to make any connection. Refuse, refute… because C) did happen.
Humans have survived this long due to superstition. It works as a survival instinct. It is no longer needed, but back in our early days it made sense to be wary of everything. Did my wife die because she ate that pork, or is it because she saw a black cat before she ate it? Without science, being wary of both the pork and the cat made sense. I’m not picking this example at random – to this day, two of the three Abrahamic religions believe that pork is bad, and black cats are still considered bad luck in many cultures.
Science teaches us how to identify coincidence. As my experimental dream-sample is only one day, one incident, I have too small a sample on which to base an experiment that my dream foretold grief.
But it was dammed unsettling, in the way strong, unexpected emotion is. I still don’t know why I had such an emotional dream. I know why I had my good dog on my mind, but not Seymour.
Damn, I miss them.