Grief…such a small word to be so powerful and life-changing. For the biggest majority of my life, my world was like many others..full of family…full of life. Sure I had experienced sadness in my life, but I really knew nothing about enduring grief. In May of 2015, I had a couple of dreams that troubled me in my soul. I know that you’re probably thinking..”Oh no….here’s one of those crazy people that thinks her dreams mean something.” Well, call me crazy if you like, but yes, I believe that some of my dreams do have meaning. I don’t have those kinds of dreams often, but when I do have one…I know right away that it means something. Sometimes the meaning comes soon after I wake up, but sometimes it may be months or even years before I understand the dream completely.
The first dream I had, I found myself in a turbulent storm in the ocean. I wasn’t in a boat, but I was in the water. Surrounding me were enormous waves. I was petrified. I could see no way out and no hope of you rescue. As I felt that sense of dread, I was caught up in one of those immense waves. I remember the fear I felt as the wave took me higher and higher as the wave crested. Once the wave was at its highest point, something lifted me out of the water. As my body rose into the air, I felt the fear literally drain from my body. I no longer felt the terror that had gripped my heart and mind just minutes before. It was as if I floated through the air being pulled out of danger by an unseen force. Eventually, I was placed on the ground, unharmed. I woke from that dream feeling apprehensive…knowing that it meant something, but unsure what it meant. The first thought that crossed my mind was Aaron, but I pushed it from my mind. A few nights later, I dreamed that I was at a house near my grandmother’s old house. I immediately sensed danger. As I looked around, I saw that the house was on fire. I knew there were people inside, so I began to fill pails of water, trying to put the fire out. My efforts were fruitless…the water wasn’t even touching the fire. For some reason, I chose to enter the house. As I walked into the house, I noticed a man sitting at a table with his son. The boy was playing with the fire…almost as if the fire was dancing on his fingertips as he shifted it from one finger to another. I was mortified. I couldn’t understand why this dad was letting his son play with the fire and why they weren’t even trying to escape. Fire was rising from the walls, but no one was burned, including me. In the blink of an eye, the fire dissipated, and the boy, dad, and the boy’s mom sat at the table unharmed. I had both of these dreams in the same week. I tried to fight off the worry, feeling something was coming…something dreadful.
I had a trusted friend at work with whom I shared many beliefs. I talked to her about it, trying to see if she might have some idea. To no avail, she was as stumped as I was. At the end of May, I was the for ed that a dear friend was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. In the last days of June, my brother was also diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. My brother and my friend battled cancer with such grace and bravery. In October of the same year, my brother lost his battle with cancer. Aaron came home for the funeral and during that visit, I sensed something wasn’t quite right with him. In December, two months after my brother died, Aaron called to tell me he was addicted to heroin. He had battled addiction since 2010, and I thought he had beat it. He went to rehab and was released 42 days later. On February 3, 2016, my husband’s mother died. Exactly one week later, February 10, two navy sailors came to my house to inform me that Aaron had passed away.
The initial feeling I had, that those dreams had something to do with Aaron, was spot on, but I couldn’t accept that at the time. I understood that the dreams were almost a warning for me, as if to prepare me for some troubled waters to come. But I could not understand how everyone in the dreams were unharmed. While I may have it wrong, I feel that I was being told in some way, that I would be carried through the pain,and that Aaron would be saved, even though he had played with fire (drugs), his Father was with him all along.
About two weeks after Aaron’s death, I had a dream that I was in a field of golden hay…the kind of hay that sways with the wind, almost mimicking waves in the ocean. In this field was an old truck, and there was a presence with me. That presence was Steve. He didn’t look like his physical body, he was almost transparent, but could also be seen.
Steve spoke to me, saying, “Me and Aaron are ok. Where we are is a place that you don’t want to leave. Aaron isn’t quite ready to visit you yet.”
I said, “You know that we miss you.”
He replied, “ I know.”
In that moment, I woke up and I felt a sense of peace. I’ve tried to recall that dream on my lowest days. Sometimes it helps, but sometimes the pain of my loss is still overwhelming.
Regardless, I have been carried through this journey, and I continue to be carried. Some days have felt so very dark, and I didn’t think I would make it. But I have, and I know that is not of my own strength. Yes, I still get angry, but writing this tonight has helped me to see, that even in my darkest times and those times when I have turned my back, I haven’t been alone.
And while those dreams were troubling, I have found some peace in those dreams tonight.