I have a recurrent dream. The first time I had it was the night after she died. It comes back with some regularity, usually in the early mornings right before I get up for the day. I can't tell you if is my last dream of sleep by design or if it is because it does not feel right to go back to sleep after. In the dream we are usually in an apartment or business office. The location is never tied to any specific place yet feels extremely familiar, homey even. All of the details, from the furniture, to the clothes, to the wall decor, are things we would never chose to own.
We've just had a discussion with her doctor, who never actually appears. It is just us. The doctor has told us that she only has 24 hours left to live. We don't have any actual discussion of this, it is just known. If there are discussions, they center around whether the doctors are right or not. I am taking the stance that the prognosis is only true if we buy into it. If we don't accept the time limits, then we will prove them wrong and just keep on living.
The dream always ends the same, but the details along the way vary. In last night's version we were in small apartment completely consumed by an overstuffed brown leather couch. The local news is blaring on a TV in the background. She's gone to the store and I am sunk into the couch thinking about the diagnosis. I am thinking that I should have gone to the store with her, that I should be spending every last second with her while I can. Then I hear her car pull up, which for some reason is a big, blue, Chrysler 300. I look out the vertical window blinds and see her coming up the walkway. She opens the door and complains loudly about the smell of burning hair. She says that our neighbor is burning a deer hide over an open campfire.
She then loudly calls out my name. Whenever she feels a seizure coming on her last resort is always to call my name right before she succumbs to it. I come running and do my best to make sure she can breathe and doesn't hurt herself. In this dream, she calls my name and I catch her just before she starts to fall. I pick her up in my arms and remark how light she feels. It's like carrying a bird, all feathers and air, an unbearable lightness.
She is sweating, a lot. I look in to her beautiful green eyes and see that her pupils are different sizes. More, they are not centered in the irises, nor with each other. One moment they are tiny, the next her pupils are wide open. The local news is droning on in the background. They are trying to explain the correct way to tan a deer hide. I should turn the TV off, but cannot look away from her eyes. This is too soon. We still have 12 hours until their deadline. She says that she loves me. There is a tinge of gold around the edge of her irises now, the way that light reflects from an animals eyes at night. I tell her that I love her too, that she cannot go to that place, not yet. I am trying to talk her out of the seizure. I am patting her cheeks. Each time I say her name she looks at me, but her mind is in that other place now. She's in the fourth dimension now.
And then I wake up.
I simply open my eyes and it is morning. I am cold and alone. Sometimes I am hugging a pillow tightly, sometimes not. If this were a movie scene, the camera would show me opening my eyes in the early morning twilight. There would be a text overlay that says "October". The story is not yet complete.
There is rarely an overwhelming sadness following these dreams. That is saved for the dream itself. Instead, waking up is a favor I am doing for my subconscious. I am allowing myself to accept the distance that comes with time. There is doubt and gravity. More than anything there is calm. I have peace in those few moments before the world realizes I am awake. I have space to process. I am realizing that part of the peace comes from feeling that I've been able to talk with her. That we've been able to send each other a message through the ether. I know that much, and that is ok.