Dreaming of the Dead
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Tilt.
Iâ€™m nervous. My parents, my dad especially, are 80-ish and not in good health, and this morning, I woke from the â€œdeath dream.â€
Iâ€™m not sure how far back it goes on my motherâ€™s side of the family, but I know Iâ€™ve had them since I was a little girl. Dreaming of the Dead. I was told as a child that you couldnâ€™t dream of the Dead and you couldnâ€™t Â dream in color. I did both. And usually when the Dead appeared at a Â gathering of some sort, someone in the family would die within 3 days. I donâ€™t remember a timeâ€”everâ€”when this Â did Â not Â occur, Â except Â when Â I Â pulled Â Granddaddy from an open grave, woke up, and called my mom, who was able to reach him in time.
This isnâ€™t the same as visitations. Thereâ€™s a different feel to those â€œdreams.â€ Ones where messages are delivered, warnings are offered, or Â comfort Â is given in moments of grief.
The â€œdeath Â dreamâ€ Â isnâ€™t like that. Itâ€™s less personal and Â one-on-one with the Dead. The Dead make an appearance, Â often, Â but Â itâ€™s Â more like Â theyâ€™re Â just Â present than the focus of the encounter, as they are in a visitation where something personal is shown to me.
For me, Â as Â well Â as Â those Â in Â my Â family Â whoâ€™ve Â de- scribed their versions of it, there are common features to the â€œdeathÂ dream.â€ Sometimes Â we are at a funeral and someoneâ€™s Â missing. I usually realize whatâ€™s going on and start trying to figure out whoâ€™s not there because Â thatâ€™s alwaysâ€”since I was Â 14, the person Â who dies Â within 3 days.
Often, weâ€™re at some kind of family reunion or celebration. Â There Â are introductions, Â greetings, Â remember- when stories. Other times, theyâ€™re all sitting with the family in church, occasionally Â talking among themselves Â but usually quiet. Almost like theyâ€™re at a funeral service and waiting for the pastor to start eulogizing.
Itâ€™s been Â a while Â since Â Iâ€™ve Â had this Â dreamâ€”a Â few years agoâ€”and when I did, the uncle in the dream died within 3 days.
My dream last night featured my whole family on my dadâ€™s side. None of my momâ€™s folks that I remember. It was Â at Â a Â family Â reunion pavilion Â near Â the Â Kolomoki Mound in Blakely, GA. But I was there with my girls and my Â brothers Â and Â their Â families, Â my Â parents, Â and dadâ€™s various dead siblings and cousins and nephews and plenty of Â people Â I barely Â remember, Â both Â living Â and Â passed. And…my dadâ€™s mother who is in her late 90â€™s.
Ooooookaaaaaaaay. I havenâ€™t dreamed of that hateful, domineering, manipulative Â bitch Â in Â years, Â possibly Â not since I was 18 and swore Iâ€™d never have anything to do with her ever again after a Â particular incident that made me decide I would never expose any child of mine to her poison. In the years since, Iâ€™ve learned exactly what the old hypocriteâ€™s Â secrets Â are, Â and Â IÂ have Â never Â regretted keeping my children away from her.
So for her to show up in a â€œdeath dream,â€ well, this is major. Largely because someone at this family gathering, possibly my dad, was introducing her to my kids and telling her sheâ€™d never met my girls and they were standing with me, away from her, and not moving to show her any more affection than she ever showed me as a child. My kids were by Â my side. They know about her. And they know why about her, too.
But the focus was on her and my dad. They were both at the head of the table, which is kind of funny that sheâ€™d share the spotlight with her firstborn. Iâ€™ve had the feeling for years that the two of Â them share such strong karma that theyâ€™ll pass close together. My mom, of course, was shoved to the side of the table and ignored.
The last time I saw Daddy was Motherâ€™s Day. Because of the custody situation, Â I havenâ€™t been able to get back up there for a Fatherâ€™s Day since my divorce. I had that feeling back in May, like the Angel of Death is hovering over him. I had serious doubts then that heâ€™d make it until Fatherâ€™s Day of next year, and Iâ€™ve found myself creating more of a distance than usual from him. Not that we were ever really close at all and I have my own father is- sues Iâ€™ve been working Â through for years. Â But I know what happened 6 years ago when he was in ICU and I connected empathically with him without knowing what I was doing and I Â felt his body dying when he was in the tunnel, before he turned around. I cannot do that again.
Like I said, itâ€™s been a while since I had one of these â€œdeath dreams.â€ Iâ€™d forgotten that I do this. Having this dream scares me because Iâ€™m not ready for any more loss, as if I ever could be. For now I watch and wonder who itâ€™ll be and when Iâ€™ll hear.
Meanwhile, my mom emails me to tell me she woke today with a dream of the Dead as well.