Summer, 2001. We were at my aunt’s long pine dining table watching boats jockey for position on the St. Clair River in Michigan. Their neighbor’s well was vacant. He was out in the mix, in a boat SO fast the speed sucked the “F” right off the logo, dubbing it “ountain.”
The aunt was in her glory preparing and serving yet another delicious meal. A homemade three-layer pineapple cake posed provocatively under Saran Wrap; toothpicks protected the fluffy frosting and made the dessert look a little bit dangerous.
My uncle was (usually) happy to have his grown kids at the table; they – and their spouses – were well into their beers.
Gram and I were the downers. I was mourning my most recent marriage and she was slipping more deeply into dementia.
Conversation and laughter were bouncing back and forth across the table and Gram was itching to join in. She was not yet at the point where she was afraid to open her mouth. When a few of the cousins slipped out for smokes, she found a silence long enough to get a few words in.
“I saw Julia last night.”
Aunt Julia, her sister, had been dead for 30 years. My uncle’s grin widened and he blurted out “Was she still in that big brass box we got for her funeral?” And he roared with laughter. Everyone laughed.
Gram forced a giggle, but she clenched her elbows together under her chest and cupped her bony hands between her knees.
I remember thinking she probably did see Julia.
Because the more deeply she slipped, the more open she was on other levels – unrestricted by convention, as spiritually/psychically open and innocent as a small child. When she died in ER – and was brought back – she described her out of body experience this way: “There were two of me, but it was ok.”
We visited in dreams after she passed 9 years ago.
Seven years since my mother started the slide and hated me for seeing it and knowing it. My previous blog, FROM THE LANAI: The Dream with Six Pages shows how the dream/spirit world sent comfort.
But I want more.
Last week I bought Conscious Dreaming by Robert Moss.
Wikipedia describes Moss as “an Australian historian, journalist and author and the creator of Active Dreaming, an original synthesis of dreamwork and shamanism.”
Shortly thereafter, something so strange happened, I had to tell him. Today I wrote:
I’m new to your books, but not to focus on dreams. I’ve had past life memories, visits from loved ones on the other side, “postcards” I call some of the imagery they’ve sent – and visions from spirit guides or ancestors.
But with your books I feel like I’ve moved out of the slow lane. I need to share my recent experience.
First, let me say I always used to joke that when my Gram passed, she’d be my first visitor in Florida. (I had just moved 1400 miles south of family.) My beloved Gram raised me and in my heart I knew her dementia would be gone and she would be fully back.
Many visits after her transition proved that was the case. She was a little cranky about me not being with her; she was most definitely back to her usual self.
In the past few years my mother – 1800 miles north in a remote area – has been showing signs of dementia. She got pregnant at 15 and had the bastard (me) at 16. Her sister and husband (my stepfather) have always pushed that button, yanked that chain – spent decades using the “bad girl” card to put her in her place.
She IS a bit controlling and narcissistic.
When her memory loss began to manifest, I encouraged her to see a neurologist. When she resisted, I insisted my stepfather take her. (There’s more to it, of course.) But essentially, these things made me her enemy.
Last summer my stepfather went out of town and left her alone at home; he did that before and she was injured. This second time, she was injured again – and hospitalized. I called him and said I would go up, I insisted she could not be alone and he finally said SHE DOESN’T WANT YOU THERE.
Her behavior after that statement made me realize it wasn’t coming from him – it WAS coming from her. She started calling screaming, making accusations (after her money, trying to come between her and her friends), etc. One day I finally yelled back – YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TALK TO ME THIS WAY!
She never called again. I call when necessary, and she is polite. Nothing more. I realize she has chosen to forget she had a daughter. I was always a reminder, an inconvenience, an embarrassment.
But the other night I dreamed my most difficult client was insisting I attend a retirement party. I hate business parties. (This was also happening in real life.) And in the dream my mother called the client; I was on another phone, listening in. And my mother told her in no uncertain terms that I was sick and would not be attending.
She was stepping in on my behalf. Which leads me to think that in dementia, maybe part of our consciousness separates. That her higher consciousness was able to lift out of her scrambled, fearful self and enter my dream state.
It was a great comfort.
I posted the message to his Facebook page; he responded with minutes
I have often observed that in cases diagnosed as dementia, Alzheimer’s etc, a vital part of the sufferer is traveling outside the body, having its own life.
It’s grand that at least that part of your mother cares for you and wants to help.
It’s so good to know part of them rises to function on a higher plane; and that – with faith and knowledge – we have the potential to meet them there in our dreams.
I highly recommend Conscious Dreaming by Robert Moss.
Buy it on Amazon or Thriftbooks.com