Sweet Dreams

There’s one place you can see your loved one again; one place you can go and no-one else can.

The sub-conscious mind is a wonderful thing. At its finest – when we dream we’ve exchanged cheeses with the Queen in Botswana, accompanied only by Freddie Mercury and the Dali Lama on a unicorn – we marvel at how the mind comes up with such stuff and, unless we’re one of those who believes we can interpret this stuff – an Oneirocritic – -who then says “Ahhh…well cheese means…” etc., we just have a laugh and move on with our day.

Once we lose someone though, things take on an altogether darker turn. Elsewhere, I’ve described a dream I had after Gail died in which I instinctively knew I’d been working somewhere else in the country and I was driving home knowing Gail and I had had an argument and we hadn’t spoken for days. This was a lucid dream though, I knew that as soon as I got home and got in that door, I would see Gail again for the first time since July, and my subconscious wouldn’t let me do it. As I put the key in the dream door I woke up. I was utterly crushed.

As I write this I still don’t feel I’ve dreamt about Gail properly. For well over six months I simply never dreamt of her at all. After seven or eight months she started to be in them but somehow out of sight. Gail’s friends would tell me they’d dreamt about her, they’d spoken to her and she to them, but I had nothing. I’ll admit, it was starting to upset me. I discussed it online with a grieving friend – someone I’d never met – who had lost her husband in similarly health-related circumstances and she admitted to similar thoughts to mine. You almost start to ask ‘Why are YOU dreaming about the love of MY life and I’m not?’. You get angry at others for it. Illogical and self-defeating but that’s how the grieving mind turns.

After about eight months the desire to dream about Gail changed as she started to drop in under upsetting circumstances; it was almost easier to return to the frustrating days when I couldn’t see her. Without fail these latest dreams are really distressing, leaving me shaken and upset when I wake up.

Always in my current dreams, we’ve broken up, she’s left me for someone else, she’s come back to get her clothes after moving out or something equally upsetting. These aren’t lucid dreams either. These are so real that my first thought on waking is always ”She’s left me and I’ve lost her’, to be replaced moments later with the realisation that the situation is real, but for an entirely different reason. It’s like being kicked when you’re down with your assailant then walking on you as they leave the room. These nights – and, frankly, whole days sometimes – can just leave you deflated; bereft all over again for what you’ve lost and angry for whatever the dream situation left you in.

I’m no Oneirocritic, but I understand it’s said that dreaming about being cheated on refers to feelings of insecurity. I’m not sure I feel insecure in myself, but I can guess you don’t need to be a Greek Philosopher to say that a certain amount of self-doubt is inevitable now Gail has gone.

With over 11 months passed as I write this, I’ve got to the stage where I dread to dream. During the months following July I could barely sleep, lying awake for hours going over things in my mind. Then I slept like a log for a few months before ending up in my current state where I stay awake as long as possible to stave off an unwanted dream. Quite where this cycle will go I have no idea of knowing.

I know how Hamlet felt at least.

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