Most of my dreams are elusive. I make every effort to remember them each morning, but I have little success. Fragments pop into my mind throughout my day reminding me that my dreams are present in some part of my consciousness.
The most significant dreams I have had in my 55-plus years began about six months after the untimely death of my 22-year-old daughter, Liz.
I would ask her repeatedly to please visit me in my dreams. I thought it was what I wanted. As it turns out, I did get the dream visit I asked for, but instead of bringing me joy, it brought me even more sorrow.
In her dream visit I was in our family room, seated on the floor with a game board in front of me. Instinctively I knew Liz was sitting next to me. I looked over and slowly began to look at her, starting with her shoes, then her leggings and then the sweatshirt she was wearing. She was wearing one of her most favorite outfits. I got as far as her shoulders and I could go no further. I could not get myself to look at her face.
Suddenly, she jumped up and walked into the bedroom. Oh no, I thought, she’s leaving. I followed her and said, “Liz, can I have a hug before you go?” She turned and ran to me and we embraced in a giant hug. Slowly she melted away and I woke up sobbing.
She had been so close, and then she was gone…again. It felt as if someone had reached in and ripped my heart out of my chest.
I have had several of these dreams visits from Liz in the past six years, none as traumatic as the first. They are, however, all strikingly similar. They all take place in some room of our home, and we are always doing very ordinary, everyday things.
Many times the dream feels so natural that I don’t realize what a big deal it is. And then it dawns on me…Liz is here! This is a big deal because she is dead.
In another dream visit, I found myself standing in my kitchen and I could hear someone in the laundry room just off the kitchen. I assumed it was my younger daughter, Anna. Eventually, I glanced up and there stood Liz, looking like she always did, barefoot with shorts and an oversized tee shirt on, standing by the washing machine.
I was so excited and I ran to her and said, “It’s you, it’s you, it’s really you!” She just looked at me, and didn’t say a word. She was wearing the most bizarre pair of glasses I had ever seen. I remember wondering why she was wearing them. She hadn’t worn glasses when she was here.
I realized sometime later that the glasses were symbolic … she was letting me know that she now sees things in a new way.
In another dream, I sat on the couch in our family room and my younger daughter Anna was sitting on the floor. Liz came around the corner and stood and started talking to Anna. I just stared at her. She had her back to me and was talking so softly that I couldn’t hear what she was saying. My sense was she was imparting sisterly advice. She finished what she was saying and turned and walked up the stairs and was gone.
The next morning when I shared this with Anna, she told me that she, too, had dreamt of Liz that night.
Our dreams serve many purposes. Sometimes they are just to entertain us, sometimes they help us find solutions to our problems, and sometimes our dreams are the bridge to our loved ones on the other side.