It’s been six months since Tom died. I keep having the same dream. Someone who has died is alive. But I know in the dream that person is about to die. Most of the time, it’s Tom. I dream that his death was a mistake. He was not dead, just sleeping. He has now woken up. But he still has cancer, and he will still die. And I know what it will feel like when it happens. In these dreams, I remember the first death, remember the real death, and I know what’s coming, and I dread it.
The other night, I dreamed that my grandfather, dead ten years now, was alive. He looked well. He walked. But the doctors were going to take him off a life-sustaining medicine, and he had two days to live.
In another dream, Jesse and I went to Florida and found his dad, still alive but very ill. I immediately began thinking logistics. Who we needed to inform that his death had not happened. I couldn’t wait to call my parents and tell them it had all been a mistake. It hadn’t happened.
In only one dream has my subconscious saved Tom. In that dream, we were in Key West, just as we were last year, the week before he died. But in my dream there was a conference of doctors at the hotel we were staying at, and one of them realized that Tom had been misdiagnosed. He didn’t have cancer at all. A simple surgery could correct what was wrong, and we would have him back. Healthy. Well.
In that dream, I wept. I wept because I knew what it felt like to lose Tom, and I knew we would avoid that pain. At least awhile longer.
Waking from those dreams is strange. I wake from one dream and find myself in what feels like another.
I talked to Vicki, Jesse’s mom, on the phone the other day. We talked about the dream-like (nightmare-like) quality life had taken on the last six months. It feels like I fell asleep and woke up to someone else’s life. And I would like my old life back now.
It is what it is. We keep sleeping and waking. Six months.