I had a dream about Wes the other night. He came for a visit. When that happens, it carries me through for weeks as if he really came to visit me. It’s what it feels like anyway. As if we’ve had a special day or evening. These particular dreams are real and they are powerful – at least in my little world, they are. I feel really blessed on these days, and I don’t want the dream to end – ever. But they do, invariably. Like our life together. But it is jarring how vivid they are and how I can almost recall every detail and retain it for days, weeks and even years. Years – that too, is jarring in it’s reality. Think about that: I’ve been dreaming of Wes for years. But even so, I take these opportunities to relish in the belief in Wes, and in our relationship as a couple. The connection is still there. Even in la-la land.
If I want to read into the meaning of these dreams, I can. And I do, by the way. Want to, that is. I want to know everything about their ulterior meanings and what it means to me as the one left behind. I want answers. I still want answers to the why. Good Lord, I’d like someone to explain it to me – the whole thing. Why was Wes taken and why isn’t he here? It’s a constant internal dialogue with me – why? Why Wes? I really can’t say I’m in any better of a position to reconcile all these emotions: anger, sadness, loneliness, and certainly the emptiness I feel for not being able to house these questions into neat little packages. And I’m truly no better equipped to come up with the answers that will comfort me or sustain me. When I think I am managing ok, just ok, mind you – not great, but ok, I then will have a dream of Wes and I am flying high for the time being. Relishing in every minute detail of him and of the dream that he is encapsulated in. It’s glorious, for the immediate and maybe a little beyond, actually a lot beyond, until I start to wallow in the missing part again and the hurt comes back to the surface. But honestly, I feel grateful for these experiences.
Over the past 4 years since Wes has been gone, I have had many, many dreams of him that are so real, so memorable and so profound, that every time I start to awaken and realize Wes is in my dream, I try as hard as I can to stay in slumber and let the dream continue. I never want it to end. Of course I don’t. In all of these dreams, Wes is healthy and vibrant – well, he looks really healthy and has been extremely vibrant, but hiding in the shadows of these dreams is the hint that he is sick, that there is cancer looming and encroaching and residing. Or maybe those are just my fears being revealed. He certainly doesn’t look or act, nor are there suggestions of him being sick in these dreams. He is just Wes – happy and booming. But maybe what these dreams are telling me is that the cancer is no more, not present – not within Wes anymore and he is happy and he is fine. I don’t know what the message is for sure, but for the moment, he is here, he is happy, he is with me, a part of me, just like before, and I am whole again, while dreaming this glorious dream.
In all the dreams the messages are positive and he is still living a life for the time being. I think for me, these dreams indicate the reality of our situation – that the connection between the two of us is still as strong and commanding as ever. Maybe that’s the point – maybe that’s the message. That there is something to these dreams that lets me know that Wes is still in my life, healthy and fine, still living and breathing. Well, sort of.
I did a little research on what dreams mean, especially the kind of dreams dealing with our departed loved ones. I think I looked this up before, shortly after Wes died and after a few of these dreams had occurred, but that was also when I couldn’t keep my thinking cap on to save my life, so I researched it again. This time it stuck – for now anyway. As I researched more into dreams, I found out that these types of dreams are called “visitation dreams,” and true to form they provide us with great comfort. I can certainly attest to that. My visits from Wesley sustain me. In an article by Anne Reith, Ph.D., she explains what these dreams are, and outlines their characteristics. She states that the reason these dreams are so real is because when sleeping “our rational mind and our ego are not engaged. Things can happen in our dream world that we would normally stop or discount while awake.” It states that the dreams actually “feel real.” I can attest to that as well. These dreams tend to be extremely vivid which is why we are able to recount the details for long periods of time – maybe forever. It’s what I hope for anyway. These days it’s what I have to look forward to in regards to Wes. And I do – look forward to them, that is. But most times our loved ones appear in these dreams completely healthy, whole and complete – perfect even, because they are connected with God or an energy source. Dr. Reith explains that there doesn’t have to be verbalizing in these dreams, although there can be, and in my experiences, there is chatter, a lot of it. But either way, their messages are conveyed nonetheless. Mostly, she says, the messages in these dreams fall mostly in the categories of reassurance. Their presence in our dreams, are to let us know that they are fine and they want us to be happy. Fat chance Wesley, but ok. She states that after a visitation dream, you wake up and are usually filled with a sense of peace and love. But the experience is emotional. I have awakened with tears, with a laugh and always, always with a longing in my heart to keep the visit going. But just like Wes – he gives to me in departure, what he always gave to me in life: peace, love, comfort, and strength. I love you Wesley –just come home and give me the message in person.
OK, so maybe this is over the top, but nonetheless, these experiences have been mine, and all that the good doctor describes has been my experiences exactly. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but probably not. Not in my case anyway. I can feel Wes in these dreams; I can feel him close to me, as I have talked with him, laughed with him, but mostly been comforted by his presence. It’s as if we spent an afternoon together – just hanging out. And I remember all of them. I wouldn’t give up on those memories – not for anything. In my experience, these dreams have been amazing, however they are not unobtrusive. In fact – they are anything but. As I am left reeling after a Wes dream, I can often times get sadder still. These dreams have lifted me up, of course they have, but there is also a downside, which usually comes a day or so later when the longing in my heart becomes bigger than I can handle. But I will take that downside, every day of the week, as a condition for these extraordinary dream experiences. You better believe I will.
As I was driving the other day, after my dream and feeling a little low as I was navigating the whole missing deal again, I heard Christina Peri’s song that says:
“I have loved you for a thousand years,
I’ll love you for a thousand more.
I’ve died everyday waiting for you.”
I think those are the words anyway – it’s what I sing regardless of accuracy, and I start to cry. My emotions are at the surface again after my dream, and as I sit listening to this song, the tears still seem to find me, even today. Even still. Maybe forever. Probably forever.
As I read an Eskimo Proverb that says: “Perhaps they are not stars but rather the opening in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.” I think Eskimo’s are always right. I’m pretty sure they are. They are like the great Indian chief’s or medicine men that know everything because they are in touch with the spirits, long since passed. It’s what I think anyway. But even so, I can only hope that Wes is fine, cancer free and that he is happy. It is my eternal hope, to be sure, and it’s what I believe these dreams are all about.
So as I regroup again after my dreams, I realize that I will need to put that proverbial foot in front of the other and keep taking those steps to someplace, or often times, no place, but just keep walking Sharon. And as I continue to walk, I know that these dreams of Wes are a gift. I think they are a gift from Wes actually, but whatever – they are mine to cherish and that I do. But as I walk this walk, without my best friend, I know that I still need Wes as much as I ever have, and I will wait patiently until the next dream. With each night that closes, I am always hopeful that he will come and visit me – and I will wait for him, for that I am absolutely certain. Probably for a thousand years.