Dream myself awake


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.

14 responses »

  1. Allusive logic to dreams. Don’t know if it’s the subconscious self comforting with memories or something close realizing comfort is needed and reaches back – but I do know sleep is not everything shutting down to rest.
    Dreams are puzzles presented and puzzles solved.

  2. I still dream of my first cat, and of people I loved who are dead. And I holler in the night too. It’s sort of a human thing to do. I’ve never noticed any link to subsequent events. You spirit just organizes what has happened to it at whatever pace it can handle, I think.

  3. Here is what I have learned over a lifetime of loss:

    Grief will be heard; despite our efforts, it cannot be contained. Each episode of loss demands expression. Cumulative loss is cumulative grief. Grieving takes its own shape and time.

    Your sentence made me cry: “The feeling of finally being able to voice my pain was both a relief and terrible.”

    This is good, girl. Keep on… painful as it is. There is the other side you’re paddling toward.

  4. I cried myself awake once some years ago. My boyfriend and I were in a car crash and he got killed. Gone forever. The sense of loss was huge. I think that dream came from a deep-seated knowing that the relationship would never work, and would one day end – which it did. A premonition? I also had a hideous and terrifying dream, full of evil, a few days before 9/11. Maybe your dream was part of the process of loss and healing.

  5. Yet again, I’m going to tell you about something that I have never told anyone about. Not anyone I still have a contact with, anyway.

    Several years ago, in early February, as my brother and I were in bed, not yet sleeping, we were talking. As usual. We were early teens then, we shared a room, and we were always talking before we got asleep. Our parents couldn’t hear us, it was nice. That evening, we discussed what we would do in case of a fire. We decided what we were to try to save, and how we would escape through the tiny window of the room. We knew we could go through that window, because we both did some time before. The plan was neat and perfect (for kids anyway).

    A day or two later I believe, it was very soon after, our younger brother awaken in cries in the middle of the night. He was really young at the time, probably 5 or 6, maybe even under 5. He described his dream in a way only a young child could do, with crude words, terrifying descriptions. In his dream, the house caught fire, and I died in there.

    Why me? I was the older brother, I’m actually about 10 years older then him. I was the one caring for him when my parents where out (for work or anything). I was probably an important person to him, possibly second only to my parents.

    Why a fire? Did he saw that on TV or something? Even back then, we had no idea.

    Then, just a few days later, on February 6th, 1993, the house became a total loss after a fire burnt it down.

    (gah! taking a short pause to dry my eyes…….)

    It was early in the morning. We (the children) had just left for school. My parents had just left for work a few seconds earlier (literally, seconds) when a client at the neighbor restaurant noticed smoke coming out of the house. The waitress at the restaurant rushed to the phone, but it was already dead (it shared the same line as our house — sharing a phone line with a neighbor was still common back then in that area of the world, getting a private phone line installed was expensive, these kids with their iPhones will never understand how rich they are). She had to cross the street to call the firefighters from the convenience store (eyewitnesses said it was funny to see her run across the street, she wasn’t the type of person you’d expect to see running).

    Nobody was injured, or killed. Lots and lots of plants (my mother was always a green lover) died, and probably several spiders in the basement were fried, but otherwise nobody were injured. There was very little flames actually, everything had been lost because of the heavy smoke. We recovered the pictures, the only thing my mother really cared about. They are still in their original albums, with the covers darkened by smoke. These albums have been under my possession for years. They had been borrowed by the mother of my son (that’s a decade ago, as he just turned 11) back when I lived with her because she wanted to see what I looked like as a kid. She returned them to me a year or two after I left her so I could return them to my mother, but I couldn’t stand to see these albums, the darkened covers and all — and I don’t really mind the pictures of me as a kid, they are bad souvenirs in themselves — so they really got stocked in the deep corner of a wardrobe, being rediscovered only when I was moving out (I did that move often than I have fingers to count). And they ended up here, in my current apartment, again in a hidden corner of a wardrobe. And then, while I was looking for something else in my old stuff (you remember I told you I keep old computer parts and stuff like that, in case they might one they serve a new purpose) I stumbled on them again. At that point, I had a planned visit to my mother, so I took them out so I wouldn’t forget to bring them back to her. That was about a year ago, and I’m pretty sure my mother would never think of getting new albums for the pictures, the darkened covers are a souvenir in itself, a part of the history just as the pictures they protect.

    Now I *must* leave the computer and do something completely different to change my mind. I’m sorry if I don’t read and comment on your two other posts tonight, I’ll try to return to them tomorrow.

    • And now here is the rest of my post lol 🙂

      All this was suppose to point to the fact that these were strange coincidences. I never believed these were signs or anything. We only made a connection because something happened soon after. If no fire had occurred, I would have forgotten about that discussion with my brother and the dream of my younger brother. We remembered because we made a connection. How many times do you make strange dreams or do you have casual conversation, if nothing happens which you are able to connect, you just forget about it.

      As for your dream, I will not even attempt to make sense of it for you. There is probably little meaning, and if any only you will be able to determine it.

      • I’m not even going to try to make sense of my dream. Not even sure why I talked about it, other than lack of anything else that has felt ‘real’ lately.

        Yes, that is just a coincidence, a damn freaky one, but still. I remember a dream from when I was aged 7 or under where characters from a fast-food commercial danced around on the back of my toilet. I remember it – but it never happened. If it ever DOES, however – I’ll be freaked out entirely. There are other, much more disgusting, dreams that I remember from that age. I’ve always been great at nightmares!

        I’m interested in the fact that despite the emotional link you have to this incident, you still can see it was just coincidence. You’ve a very strong mind, and I’m glad to have met you.

        • I once dreamed I had a pet squirrel following me everywhere I went. I think I decided that day that my dreams meant nothing at all 😛

          Technically, we haven’t met yet. We’ll arrange something when one of us get rich. But the sentence moved me in a way you cannot know. I’m glad to have some kind of relationship with you too 🙂

    • That was such an emotional event all around. Do you think you could get new albums for those old photos and transfer them? It might help you to heal the damage the fire has caused to you. Maybe the smell on the individual pictures won’t go away, entirely, but it seems that seeing them in their current albums is upsetting, a reminder that really you do not need.

      You’ve also proven that you HAVE had interesting things happen – interesting doesn’t necessarily mean positive. I’ve never lived through something remotely like this. I lost my comfort, my home, because I chose to leave – never because it was suddenly taken away, literally in one night. I would be a different person forever, if that had happened to me. I’m sorry to hear such a terrible event happened to you.

Thoughts? Gardening tips? Cocktail recipes? Don't just like and leave, please - I can talk for Ireland and would love to prove it!

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