It always seems to happen when I am feeling that my life is good. No, let me rephrase, it always happens when I feel as though my life isn’t just going good or well, but great.
It sneaks in through the night using a cover of darkness and a weakness associated with slumber. Knowing the intended victim (myself) doesn’t stand a chance because there are no walls, no observance of its presence until it is too late.
Sometimes it masks itself using my family or friends as an intended target. Other times it drags up memories of the past, the atrocities associated with a long career such as mine. Either way it has a way of tearing me down, leaving me feeling spent both physically and mentally. Other days, it leaves me wrecked beyond belief and I wonder just how much more one man can take. I am confident and strong, I always have been, but there are days I want to curl up and cry for no reason at all.
Dreams of death.
Last night as I slept, Jake my second son came to me in a dream. I was fishing and he appeared in front of me from nowhere.
I said: Jake what are you doing, how did you get here?
Jake: I came to say goodbye dad
Me: Where are you going?
Jake: It’s time for me to go, just wanted you to know I love you
Me: what are talking about?
Jake: Goodbye dad (as he vanished)
The rest of the dream consisted of me doing everything I could to get home! To find my son! And as with most hectic, disorganized dreams every obstacle was put in my place! When I finally got there, he was in fact dead. Gone from this world. It was a nondescript death, a combination of every horrible thing I have witnessed over the life of my career. It was horrendous.
I haven’t been able to shake it.
Here is my problem. I know what it is, I know what these dreams manifest from, I know that it is not a reality.
I also knew every single thing about my first wife’s death before it happened because I had in fact dreamt about it over a several year period. I knew everything about where to go and what to do at Stanford Hospital because in my dreams I had been there even though I had never set foot on the property once.
I knew after my second wife was diagnosed with Leukemia that it wasn’t going to go well. Oh at first I believed it was my cynical side, you know that part of us that is carefully crafted from years of getting burned?
But as we went along I did my best to keep faith, to suppress my feelings of dread, to be the most important person in her life during every hiccup or stumble. All the while knowing, not guessing or having a feeling, but knowing she was in fact going to die. Why? Because I dreamt about it over time. From the hospital visits to the pharmacy runs, to her addiction to opioids. I dreamt it all. I knew she would die at home, I knew she was going to suffer and I knew she would leave a huge mark on this world. Not just because of who she was as a person, but because it always came to me in a dream. The only thing my dreams got wrong was her dying in our dining room. In my dreams she died surrounded by family at her dads.
So what is it about me that this happens too?
Is this a curse that only I can live with and if so, do I embrace the knowledge or cower from its implications?
I have so many wonderful people I talk with about my life, my emotions and how to deal with the past.
I have someone very close that I love who lets me talk openly about those last two years while watching the woman I cared for deteriorate and die. The ramifications of being alone but not alone, a caretaker, a warden, a nurse, a pharmacist and surviving nightmare after nightmare. Who listens to everything and anything that comes to mind while I am venting about these crazy notions in my head, understanding completely without thinking any less of me as a person. A beautiful safe space in my life.
But these dreams, these damn dreams, I just need them to stop! I’m weary of death, I am weary of pain, I no longer wish to carry the sufferings of so many in my head only to be replayed over and over again at the whim of nightfall’s grace.
So what do I do?
I do what I have always done.
I write about it for you.
If you are suffering in the slightest I need you to know you are not alone. I need you to understand it doesn’t feel ok, but it is and you are fine. I want you to feel as though you can talk about it, express those very same feelings without judgment or remorse.
I am blessed with the ability to write, to share, and to explain things in a way that you can understand. Everyone has a gift, a talent, something they are particularly good at, I have been told this is mine. Writing allows me to get these feelings out, to purge them from my mind, to let them go even if it’s just for a little while.
If you have something that allows you the same freedom you need to act when you feel down, you need to grab whatever gift you have been bestowed and make it your ritual. It will help I promise.
If you can’t, please find a professional to talk with, to council.
Now, I am going to try and call my son, I think he is out of class by now.
I just need to hear his voice.