I don’t like dreaming. I don’t like the feeling of weird and inexplicable things happening; I don’t like the feeling of being out of control, and mostly I don’t like having to deal with any nightmarishness. I read once that if you wanted to remember your dreams, to take Vitamin B6 before bed, so I immediately stopped taking any B vitamins before bed, and that certainly aided my ability not to recall dreams.
That being said, there are a few dreams that seeped through the B block, dreams that I recall even decades later. In one such dream, I was being led from one elevator to another. When I got out of each elevator, I had to ascend few stairs, so although I was descending deeper into the earth, it seemed as if I were actually going up. I came out of the final elevator to the top floor of a round arena. At the bottom of this round room, a woman stood at what looked like an altar, and through a loudspeaker, I could hear someone saying, “You are now 6,000 feet beneath Death Valley.” At the time, I took that to mean I would be soon dying, but apparently not, because I am still here.
I seldom dream about Jeff specifically, though I have the impression he is a constant companion in my dreams as he was in life. A handful of dreams during the first years after he died were about him specifically. In one such dream, he came into my room, stood at the foot of the bed and touched my blanket-covered feet. He then climbed onto the bed, on top of the covers, and cuddled up to me. He was in his underwear, and in the dream, I knew he’d come from where he’d been sleeping, though I had the impression he’d been with someone, as if he had another life. He said, “I miss you.” When I woke, I felt as if he’d come to see me one last time, though I have no idea what is true when it comes to life, death, and especially dreams.
In another epic dream, I was walking in the desert under a clouded white sky. The sand was pure white and windswept. No vegetation grew in that desert. No dark rocks relieved the hilly expanse of white. It was all just . . . white. As I walked, three white horses sped across my path, then four white bunnies in a bunch, then one at a time, two small white squarish creatures I could not identify, and then finally, one immense white owl. I thought, “I must be dreaming because such magical and mystical things don’t happen in real life,” but that world and my feelings of reality were so solid, it didn’t feel like a dreamscape. Still, I tried to peel back the veneer of the dream and wake myself up, and when I didn’t wake, my dreaming self figured that what I had seen was no dream.
Last night’s dreams, though vivid, weren’t as epic as any of these, but still memorable for the insights they offered me. The first one was brief, just a walk on part. Literally, a walk on. I was walking with an indistinct person when that person stopped abruptly and said to me, “Boy you sure do take short steps.” In the dream, I made a mental note to take longer steps, and when I took my walk today, I made sure not to take baby steps as apparently I have been doing.
In the other dream, I was young, perhaps in my twenties. An old man, a friend of sorts (who wasn’t anyone I know in real life), told me to save my money so that when I was old I could go on a grand adventure, that everyone needed one grand adventure in life. The “me” in the dream thought, “Even if I never go, I’ll still have my adventure. Life is a grand adventure.” For just a minute, after I woke up, I retained the sense of being young with most of my life ahead of me. When the truth dawned, that I was old, and that I’d already gone on a grand adventure, I just shrugged it off, but I did remember what I’d thought in the dream, that life is a grand adventure.
It made me smile, this reminder that whatever else it is, with all its ups and downs, triumphs and traumas, life really is a grand adventure.
Despite these two dreams seeming to be my own subconscious speaking to me of things I should be aware of, I will still make sure to take my B vitamins early enough today so that I don’t dream again tonight.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.