Saturday, May 07, 2011

Dreams and visions of my mother

My mother went into the hospital on Thursday, November 4, 2010, and died late on Monday, November 8, 2010.

Before that time, sometimes months before, I had had premonitions of her death. I had been having dreams for a long time, years, reflecting my concerns about her declining health. These could be attributed to what I could plainly see, without having to call them predictive. Some dreams though, including one a few days before her death, are harder to explain.

There was a time after her death, a week or so, when I had much fewer dreams than normal, and the ones I had of her sometimes seemed more like visions, particularly since I wasn't always asleep when they happened. I also had feelings of her being there at times. Most of the time, though, I felt an emptiness, and numbness, that was very profound. It didn't help either, that my own health at the time was not very good.

In the second week, I seemed to be having more dreams, some with my mother, though she tended to play minor parts. It wasn't until after the second week that I began to have a lot more dreams, including ones in which my mother played major parts. These dreams frequently referred to her death, though she was apparently alive in them, or at least acted so. Sometimes she appeared younger, and sometimes not, and sometimes she didn't look so good, like the dream was showing her actual body, dead but animated. Sometimes my grandmother, her mother, also appeared in the dreams. I had had many dreams about my grandmother in the past, but she rarely talked in them. Now, she talked a lot.

Below are a list of the visions, dreams, premonitions, etc., though I can't claim to have included all of them. The dreams still continue, too, though now she usually appears as a more normal figure in them, without references to her death. Most of the dreams and other items have been shortened quite a bit here, to better fit within the long list.

A few months before my mother died, perhaps early September, though I think it might have been late August, I was thinking about what I might get her for Christmas, when the feeling came, that it didn't matter, that when the time came it wouldn't be something that mattered. It was a feeling that the question itself wouldn't have any meaning. There was a bit of an empty feeling with it. I tried to reject it, push it away, because it implied that my mother wouldn't be there.

At around 6:30 AM on Labor Day, Monday, September 6, 2010, I walked down to the living room to check on my mother. I found her sitting on the floor near the hallway, facing away from me. She had tried to step around the partly folded towel she had put down weeks ago for the cat to lay on, and tripped and fell. Her left wrist was injured, and had a bump on the upper part of it on the side toward her body. It was fairly good sized, perhaps a third of the way across.

Earlier, I had been on the computer, and listening to the radio. Perhaps a little less than ten minutes or so before, the Internet connection had been lost. I thought that my mother might have for some reason wanted to call Sharon, and picked up the phone, causing the connection to be lost. I thought I should go down and tell her that it was alright to call, if she didn't already know, since the connection was lost and I wasn't on the phone any more. However, I went ahead and read some of what I had been reading I think, maybe all of it, and then continued listening to the radio, because I wanted to hear what they were saying. I started to get increasingly nervous though, wondering if perhaps she had fallen. When the radio came to a break, I went down to check on her.

When I saw her there, sitting on the floor, her back to me, I said something to her, and she turned around and showed me her wrist, I thought to myself, "Oh, Mommy, what have you done?" I said something to her, talking softly, but trying to be upbeat.

However, I had a bad feeling about this, and thought of my grandmother falling and breaking her wrist a few days before she died. My mother had fallen before a few times, and severely hurt, maybe breaking, one wrist or the other, but she had always recovered. Now, for some reason, it felt different, like this was it, this was the one that would do it. I had already had a bad feeling about her putting the towel down for the cat, back when she did it, but there was nothing that could have been done. Any attempt to take it away or argue with her about it would not have worked out well, and I understood that she was trying to do something nice for the cat, that she loved.

It was almost like something now, though, of retrieving a distant, half-remembered memory, of what the fall and injured wrist meant. I was disturbed by this and tried not to think too much about it, tried to believe that everything would work out alright, like before. (I have this account recorded in a file, and while going through the file I happened to add some to this entry on Monday, Labor Day, September 5, 2011. It was a strange coincidence, Labor Days a year apart, though they didn't occur on the same day.)

Before the fall, things had felt a little odd that weekend. I worked on getting my email in better shape, reading some of it and moving some to folders for a possible later time. Looking back, it almost felt like I was marking time, waiting for something. By Sunday I had gotten a feeling that something was going to happen Sunday. I had no idea what, or if it would involve us at all. It turned out, of course, that it happened early on Monday, but exact dates can be hard to come by with these feelings.

Saturday afternoon, the Saturday before the fall on Monday, I had a long dream that seems closely associated with what happened. In the dream I had reached up to a light high on the wall outside where I worked, intending to demonstrate to the management people that it needing fixing, pulling at the two cords hanging from it, like before, hoping to make it act up like before when I did that. Before, it had started making popping and sputtering noises and glowing red and hotter around the base, and crumbs of red glowing concrete block were going off it and a larger glowing triangular chunk two or three inches across was flying off. Now it didn't do much, though, making only a little noise. But then the face of an end of a concrete block came off, glowing on the bottom and halfway along its length, and fell toward me. I was wearing long, heavy, black neoprene rubber radiator shop gloves for some reason, and raised my left hand up to fend the glowing piece off, and it hit the side of my hand, and my arm, and it seemed to hit my side too, and I fell down, and it was even partly laying on me for a few seconds. Everyone gathered around me, and they got it away from me and were standing around me bent over looking down at me. An ambulance was called and I was taken to the hospital.

This matches what happened in real life fairly closely, though it happened to my mother instead of me, and although I was burned while she was injured in a different way, we both fell, and both our left hands were hurt, and our left forearms, hers from where it had gotten hurt around a week ago, and both our sides were injured, hers from something that happened a week or so ago, and it was her right side whereas it was my left side in the dream. We both went to the hospital too, though my sister took her, instead of an ambulance.

It also had the feature of me waiting too long, in the dream waiting a few seconds while trying to get something I was working on finished, before going to see someone who was leaving and then finding him already gone. In real life I was reading what was on the computer and listening to the radio before checking on her. I also had had the feeling that she might have fallen, and an increasing sense of urgency, in the minutes before finally checking on her.

The dream also had the interesting feature of metal things being concealed inside stuff, to both spy on us and for other reasons, and when I tried to put the hands of a woman in a carriage under a scanner, that would see through what she was carrying, she resisted but when I finally managed to do it, I saw that her hands and at least half or so of her forearms had black metal in them instead of bones, that someone had for some reason replaced at least that much of her bones with metal. This could be seen as highlighting the part of my mother's body that she came to have a problem with in the fall, and might also be a reference to the hidden splint that they put on her, as well as to the x-rays she undoubtedly had at the hospital.

I also had an incident that Saturday night, where a bulb in the ceiling fan over the kitchen table made a popping sound behind me and burned out. The fan has two chains hanging down from it, for the fan and the lights, matching the two cords for the light in the dream, the light that also made popping sounds. The dream happened Saturday afternoon, before the bulb burned out that night.

I had a long dream Saturday, October 30, 2010, in the 3:00-3:30 AM area, a little over a week before she died, in which my mother came to my bedroom, looking a little younger. She lay down beside me and didn't say anything. Something seemed wrong, she seemed bothered by something. I looked at her face in the dim light. Her face looked a little puffy and her eyes were mostly rolled back at different angles, with dark red inside the lids and some around the eyes, on the edges of the eyeballs, and she had a bit of a grimace. I asked what was wrong and tried to comfort her. When I looked at her again, her eyes had changed to completely dark, a glistening dark with a reddish tint, almost completely a black color though. She talked a little bit I think, and finally got up and stood in front of the curtain, looking toward it. Her face was more normal now. She seemed upset about something though, maybe even with me some, though her face was mostly expressionless.

The dream has many things that matched what happened in real life. When she died, the light in the hospital room was relatively dim. She was laying in bed, and her face was swelled some. She had also had some problems with her eyes when she went to the hospital, with an infection, though they had apparently fixed that before she died. The darkness of her eyes in the dream, though, and their pointing up, seems to portend more than that. As for going over to the curtain in the dream, well, "curtains" is sometimes used as a euphemism for death.

On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, Election Day, my sister took my mother to vote. I went at a later time, then picked up my mother at my sister's house. I offered to take her to Burger King and get some supper to take home. I told her we had to stop off at the house briefly. As I drove toward the house, she reminded me about going to Burger King. I said again that I was just stopping for a little while at the house, then we would go. She said she wanted to make sure I wasn't trying to get out of giving her her treat. I took her to the bank, to get some money out. I told her on the way where we were, what we were going toward and going by. After the bank, I drove toward the Burger King, again telling her about where we where, while we talked about things. After the Burger King I drove toward home, and we continued as before, talking, with me telling her where we were, and where we were going.

As we went, I came to feel more and more that things were ending, that this would somehow be the last time things would be this way. It reminded me of when I had taken my grandmother home, decades ago, after celebrating her ninetieth birthday. I had kept looking at her and thinking that things were about to change, that this would be the last time things would be this way. The next day, in the morning, my grandmother fell and injured her back, and was taken to the hospital, and spent a long time getting well enough to go home. Then, at home, after getting better for a while, my grandmother fell and broke her wrist, and died two or three days later. It felt now like it had felt then, when I was taking my grandmother home.

Though I did not know it at the time, my mother had less than a week to live.

Late Friday, November 5, 2010, at night, the day after my mother went to the hospital, I was at home, and got a strange feeling of peace, that it was over. I tried to resist that, didn't want to accept it, got very upset about it, telling her, mostly in my mind, to stay, to hang in there, not to go away, to come back, over and over.

I had not been feeling well. My ankle had bled all over the floor, just before they came and took her to the hospital. I got a call from my youngest sister, though, to come down to the hospital, and I did, and I talked to my mother for a long time, and she laughed a lot. I am very glad I went. I was very shaky on the way home though, and an hour after I got back my ankle started bleeding all over the floor again.

On Monday night, November 8, 2010, I got a call from my oldest sister, saying that my mother was expected to die, and that I should go to the hospital, and then, while I was getting ready to go, my brother called and said her organs were failing and they were going to shut her off. This came as a surprise. She had seemed to be doing well while I was there Friday. I had not gone back, afraid that my ankle would start bleeding again, but I talked to my youngest sister on the phone Saturday, and she said that she was doing really well and was expected to be moved out of Intensive Care on Sunday. When I called my sister on Sunday, though, she said that my mother hadn't been having a good day. Now, on Monday night, I hurried down to the hospital, and got to spend some time with her, though she wasn't conscious. A lot of family members were there too, though I was given a couple of times to be alone with her. She died that night, a few hours after I arrived.

On Wednesday, November 10, 2010, probably around 4:00 AM, give or take an hour or two, I felt a presence in the house, and also heard something. It didn't feel like it was in the room. It seemed to be in the front part of the house initially, then at the far end of the hallway, then at this end of the hallway, a few feet from the computer room, where I was. The little dogs didn't seem bothered by it. I had been sleeping at the computer with the radio on, but wasn't asleep at the time, or didn't seem to be.

On Wednesday, November 10, 2010, probably around 2:00 to 4:00 AM, as I was sitting by the computer, with the radio on, trying to sleep, I drifted and went into a halfway dream state. I hadn't slept for a long time. I had been writing a book for National Novel Writing Month, and I went into a version of the character I was writing about, who now looked more like me, and my mother was with me, in place of his mother. She was much younger, maybe in her early forties. It was dark, and we were separated by a few feet, going down a street, bent over some, moving sneakily but fairly quickly. She was a little ahead, but not much. We sometimes talked to each other in low tones. I think it was mostly a residential area, but with perhaps a few businesses. It was filled with old buildings, with I guess you would call a cobblestone street. It repeated itself a time or two. We were on an adventure, going stealthily into an area where we might find someone I think, in one of the buildings further on. It was brief, but enjoyable.

On Friday, November 12, 2010, around 3:00-6:30 AM, more or less, I was sleeping at the computer with the radio on. I dreamed that my mother, looking very young, in her twenties, and with a very small waist, kept coming up to me, rushing up to me, as I sat there by the computer. She was in heavy black and white, like the old pictures of her, except that it was heavier, with a dark outline around her. She seemed very dynamic, walking swiftly up to me, bent forward slightly, her arms bent, but moving back and forth some as she walked, coming toward me with an intent look, like she was on a mission, her face smiling a little, but also looking intent. It happened over and over, one right after the other. It seemed more like a vision, instead of a dream, and matched the physical situation I was in, sitting there in the chair, my head down, my eyes closed.

At my mother's funeral, on Friday, November 12, 2010, I went down the aisle and looked at her in her coffin. As I looked at her, for a moment, for an instant, another version of her seemed to recede several feet away from me, away from the body in the coffin, through the side and the open lid of the coffin, a version of her that was alive and several years younger, partly sitting up, looking toward me with her mouth open slightly, a slight smile on her face, almost of slightly uncertain expectation. She was looking toward me, seeming very comfortable herself, but looking a little unsure of my reaction, of what my reaction to her might be. I drew back, blinking and shaking my head I think, turning away from her. I looked back a few times, but the vision was gone now. It seemed astoundingly real, though, in the brief instant of its happening.

I thought about it many times in the days and weeks and months that followed. It seemed very real at the time it happened, but very brief. I wondered about it, and wondered whether it was real or just a trick of the mind, but at the moment it happened I was greatly affected by it, and had to leave the area of the coffin for a while.

On Wednesday, November 17, 2010, around 3:00-6:00 AM, I dreamed I was driving from mid-to-northern Arizona, back home. Some other people were with me. It was daytime. I was on a divided highway partly cut through hills. Roadwork was going on. My mother was with us, looking younger, maybe in her late forties. She was alive and alert, but somewhat shrunken down, her hips and especially her legs, with her legs shorter and tiny feet. We were taking her back for her funeral, but were experiencing delays due to the road work. I think my grandmother might have been with us.

Apparently on Thursday, November 18, 2010 in a sleep period ending at 9:30 AM, I dreamed my mother fixed sandwiches for me, Jimmy Dean type stuff. I got six Chapsticks, and reminded her to put them on the sandwiches....

Apparently on Thursday, November 18, 2010, in a sleep period ending at 12:30 PM, I dreamed that my mother was trying to fix something that she was calling shrimp or something like that, that she had bought at the store. We had had it before sometimes, in my history as it was in the dream. It wasn't really shrimp, but looked like a little person, maybe three feet tall, with wispy trailing strips like antennas, coming from the sides of the forehead and maybe shoulders or sides. I was talking to her about it, and started saying that it looked like a person, how much it looked like a person. She was saying not to say that. I kept on doing it. I was finally saying that it was a person, that it was really a fairy, or maybe more likely a pixie, or maybe an elf....

On Monday, November 22, 2010, around 5:30-9:30 AM, I had an extremely real-feeling dream in which my mother came back, suddenly appeared laying on the rug in a hotel room, as I was talking to my little sister. My mother looked a little irritated, and perhaps a little confused. I was somewhat surprised to see her, and a little confused myself. I told my sister she was here, then went to her and lifted her to her feet, tilting her up. She felt perfectly solid, perfectly real, perfectly three-dimensional. It didn't feel like a dream at all, it felt like she was really there. She seemed around sixty. She was wearing clothes that she used to wear, an old faded blue-purple blouse with flower designs on it and a dark skirt. I was glad to see her, but a little confused because I thought we had just buried her, how could she be back?

We talked about various small things, going into the room beyond the fireplace. She seemed to be getting younger, closer to fifty. My sister went with us, also talking to us. We talked some about the get-together party that had occurred, and maybe about how they would be surprised to find that she was back. I said, in responding to something, "and the autopsy they did and the cut up pieces that they buried."

My mother looked at me briefly, looking a little disturbed, and then said, "Yeah." (In real life no autopsy occurred.)

She seemed to be a little younger, under fifty now. She talked about going on an airplane to another state, one a few states over, to the east. My sister was going to take her to the airport. It seemed she had to leave pretty soon.

She went into the bathroom and changed into overalls, like a farmer might wear. In real life she would never wear such things, but it was probably a reference to the farm where she grew up.

My mother and sister talked for a while, and continued talking, and I said, suddenly feeling that I should give a warning, though it seemed a bit like a party pooper, that "You never know how long these things will last, it might be two hours, or an hour," while privately hoping that my warnings were groundless, that she would be here much longer, days or months or indefinitely, as the dream quickly faded into being awake, and she was gone.

The dream occurred on the 47th anniversary of the day John F. Kennedy was shot.

I was extremely cold at times in the couple of weeks after my mother's death. Especially earlier, closer to the time of her death, and in the days afterward, concentrated more in the first week, where I had on a coat and a blanket and couldn't get warm no matter what. I was shaking with the cold, even one time in the late afternoon, sitting by the TV. The heat wasn't on back then, which I'm sure didn't help, but it seemed more than that, as I felt colder than I should, given the actual temperature (this IS the Valley of the Sun). Around a week and a half after her death, I put the plate back in the ductwork in the attic, which blocked off the cold air and helped noticeably, but I shouldn't have been that cold, especially in the late afternoon, especially since I could feel the warmth, the heat, all wrapped up like that, but it still couldn't help.

Ghosts are frequently associated with cold spots. Art Bell, the radio talk show host, had experiences with being cold after his wife, Ramona, died. He has since remarried, but after his earlier wife died he was getting cold a lot, and one time he was even sitting in the shower with the hot water on and still couldn't get warm.

Sometimes in the days and weeks after my mother died, as I wandered around the living room, it seemed that I could reach out my arms and hug her, hug a space in the air where she was. Sometimes I wondered about it, and thought to test it, and tried to turn and hug another area, but it didn't feel that she was there, it felt empty, and that she was in the other place.

On Friday, November 26, 2010, around 4:00-6:00 AM (the day after Thanksgiving), I had a long dream, in which I was very tired, and driving. Then at home, I saw my mother again, and she sometimes seemed connected to what was happening to her body in the grave. We walked around to the back of the house, talking. The cat that she liked was alive again too, and she took it into the house with her, through a door that didn't exist in real life....

On Saturday, November 27, 2010, around 6:30-9:30 AM, I had a dream in which I ate some strange food, then went to my grandmother's house in Arizona, then went walking and found her. Then my mother came, and we went walking toward our house, with me carrying my grandmother, but I somehow got lost and we went through a block with lots of rooms that seemed to be a medical place. Then somehow I was in a race in the 1970 Cadillac. Then I went home and found that my mother and grandmother and youngest sister were there with some kids, but there were two sets of mothers and grandmothers, almost identical, but with one set looking worse than the other.

On Saturday, November 27, 2010, maybe in the 10:00-10:30 AM area, I was in the computer room, drifting but not asleep. I had a half-vision of my mother and grandmother off to the left side of me, a few feet away, in the room, coming toward me some, but I don't think they ever got closer than a couple of feet. They were standing there looking at me, apparently talking about me sometimes, concerned about me, though I didn't hear what they said and I'm not sure I actually saw them speak, though it seems I did a little.

On Friday, December 10, 2010, around 10:30-11:40 AM, I dreamed that I was in what seemed to be a living room, perhaps in my house. My mother was in there, laying on the couch, partly toward me. I was standing on the floor by the couch, leaning over to her, and shadowy figures were moving around nearby, but most of the area was a gray fog. The housekeeper was there, cleaning the house, though I heard her more then saw her. I could only see her a little bit, a dark figure in the fog. She spoke a little though, briefly, sounding distant. I asked my mother why the housekeeper was there cleaning the house, and she said something like, "Oh, she just was," and seemed happy about it, in a distracted way....

On Wednesday, December 15, 2010, around 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, I dreamed that I was in my bedroom. My oldest sister was a few feet away. We were talking, and she had a big smile on her face. I heard the tinkling of the bells my mother used to call me with, small ceramic bells with a handle on top. I heard them twice, a few seconds apart, faint but clear and sharp in tone, nearby, like maybe in the hallway just outside the room, and my mother was there, coming in through the open door, looking maybe around fifty, maybe less, in her faded violet-purple flowered blouse and a dark skirt I think. She was just partly seen, partly faded out, almost like an impression she was there, but I still felt like she was solid, at least the part that was visible, less so the parts that weren't. I was looking at her to the side, to the right, without turning my head much, and she came in, a presence or partial presence, partly seen, but definitely there.

On Wednesday, December 15, 2010, around 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, I dreamed I was with my mother at an old school, looking for books in a room full of old books, then a storm came....

On Friday, January 14, 2011, around 5:30-7:00 AM, I dreamed that I was thinking that my mother was dead, was remembering and thinking that it was too bad, that she wasn't here to tell something to I think, then thinking suddenly that it was found to be a mistake, and that she was alive, and I was glad that it had been a mistake and she was alive again.

On Friday, January 14, 2011, around 7:30-9:15 PM, I dreamed my mother and my brother and I, and one or two other family members, probably my sisters, went to a place outside of town somewhere. It seemed like a very small town, a settlement. We stopped at a place with a Old West appearance, a store with a large flat lot in front, unpaved, scattered with fine light brown gravel. It was daytime. Everyone seemed much younger. The girls were still children, and sometimes my brother seemed to be around ten or twelve, though sometimes he seemed to be older, in his teens. I'm not sure what we were driving. It seems we might have originally been in more than one car.

We were in the store for a while. I don't remember exactly what it was, but I think it was kind of a restaurant/tourist store/convenience mart type of thing. I think my father might have been there too, or in the area, or had been there, or was coming there. I'm not sure I actually saw him.

It was getting time to leave, and we got in the car and drove off, with my mother driving. She was talking, and I was talking sometimes too. The girls were also talking, mostly carrying on their own conversations, sometimes only one-way. I turned back as we drove out of the lot, away from the somewhat tall sidewalk that ran along the front of the building, with the tall, thin, square wooden pillars that lined it, and thought I saw my brother back there, looking toward us, seemingly around ten years old. I didn't see him in the car, looking toward the back seat on the driver's side. After a few seconds I said to my mother that I thought we left him back there. She questioned what I was saying, repeating it, then said to me, reassuringly, that he was here, and I turned and looked at the back seat on the passenger side and he was there.

We drove for quite a while, though it didn't seem too long in the dream. It was late at night, and we were driving in the mountains, on a road that might have been unpaved, though it was flat and in good condition. We were in the 1973 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon now, blue with a white top. We stopped at some stores on the left, a series of perhaps three or more stores connected to each other, almost like a small mall. My mother went in, and the girls went into the store but not very far, going in and looking at the stuff in the bins and on display and then coming back out, going back and forth. My youngest sister was talking and giggling. My mother came back and we started off in the car again, with my mother driving like before.

My mother drove slowly forward in the dark, away from the stores. A few other buildings were scattered back a little ways from the road, but not too many. The road mostly went through a cutaway section of the mountains here. Directly ahead of us were two or more huge speed bumps that had been put in. I remembered going here long ago. The speed bumps were like large half-cylinders made of dirt, laying across the road, smooth and perfectly shaped. At first there just seemed to be two of them, separated by perhaps twenty feet or so. They were big enough that it looked difficult to get over them. My mother slowed to a crawl, slowly going over it and down the other side. I thought the car might scrape but it didn't. Initially they seemed to be perhaps 15 or so inches high, but they got higher as we approached them. As we went toward the second one, which had been the same size as the first one earlier, was now quite a bit taller, perhaps two or three feet. We managed to get over it. It was so large it was like going over a small hill, with the car somehow able to clear it, with maybe only a minimal amount of scraping.

We headed toward another one then, slightly farther apart than the other two. It was huge, maybe four or five feet high. Ahead, another car was coming, moving faster then we were, though still not very fast, maybe less then 20 miles an hour. I thought it would get a surprise when it got to the bumps if it didn't slow down more, and thought it might have to slow abruptly as it got to them. It might be local, though, and familiar with them, and somehow knew what it was doing.

I didn't see how we could get over this bump, though, it was so huge, and began cringing and partly turning away, even sometimes briefly closing my eyes. I was talking about it, worrying about it. My mother was talking back to me, reassuringly, slowly and tired sounding, her head tilted back some as she slowly drove toward it. We started to go up it, the front of the car tilting up in the air. We headed toward the top of it, and I could see over it, and it looked like we were going to make it after all.

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