"These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it's cold outside
Every moment I'm awake, the further I'm away."
I once received a letter from a reader that said in part:
"Everyone tells me that I'm going to have a dream about my [departed loved one] and that I'll feel better. But I haven't dreamed about them yet. What's wrong with me? And what happens if I don't dream about them -- does it mean that I don't miss them? Because I really do".
We all have them.
Some dreams are the good dreams that rock us gently in our sleep and others are the worrisome dreams that invade our attempts to sleep at all.
Do you feel like the author of this letter? Are you comparing your dreams (or lack thereof) to the dreams of others? Are you worrying about dreams that you are having -- or NOT having -- about someone you have lost? Let's put those worries to rest.
Since literally the age of 7, my daughter has dreamed of a career in fashion. This is all she's ever cared about and the only career goal that she has ever had. In fact, we still have her very rudimentary designs and "creations" from that age -- and it is the career in which she is now engaged quite successfully. On the other hand, my interest in fashion, while admittedly obsessive and extreme, basically consists only of trying on clothes and shoes to see what fits and carrying shopping bags to my car. I do not want to design it and I certainly do not want to have to assemble it (because I have the attention span of a gnat). I just want it to magically appear before me, fit perfectly and make me look fantastic. Does this then mean that because my daughter's fashion dreams and my fashion dreams are completely different, that someone's dreams are "wrong"? Of course not. The same thought processes apply here.
Naturally, we know that there is nothing "wrong" with the author of this letter. Furthermore, if she never once dreams about her late loved one, it certainly does not mean that she is not grieving or that she does not miss them. It simply means that her subconscious is dealing in its own way, in its own time. What did I advise our friend? I encouraged her to allow her mind and her soul to relax and to stop comparing herself (even in her sleep) to others; that she is unique and so are her dreams ... conscious and otherwise.
Have I dreamed about my own late loved ones? Yes, I have -- and yes, those dreams have and continue to bring me comfort. When I became widowed years ago, I first dreamt about my late husband about six months after he had passed away. I found the most comforting thing about that dream (and many more since) is that in them, he is whole, he is healthy and he is happy. He is not the man whose body was slowly and torturously ravaged by one of the most hideous illnesses on the face of the earth (ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease). I like to think that the dreams I have of him and other departed loved ones are their way of occasionally dropping in to see how things are going and to make sure that we are doing well.
Everyone dreams differently; both awake and asleep. As with everything else in the grief recovery process and just as you would not compare your daytime dreams to someone else, please do not compare your nighttime dreams -- whatever they are -- to the dreams of another. You are you. What happens if you do not dream about your loved ones? Nothing bad, I promise! There is nothing wrong with you and it certainly does not mean that you are not grieving or have not properly grieved. It simply means that you are different -- and it is OK to be different.
(...in fact, I rather pride myself on being different).
Rather than waiting for a magical dream (ala the cliffhanger scene from television's "Dallas" that featured Bobby Ewing in the shower), instead rest comfortably in love that never dies -- which is, in fact, a dream come true and a dream that many in this world never realize. Wrap yourself in the comfort of warm memories while progressing in your way and in your time through your Healing Journey.
And sleep well.
** "These Dreams" by Heart; written by Martin Page and Bernie Taupin. Released 1986 by Capitol Records. All rights reserved.
Bracketed additions are for privacy, clarity and continuity purposes.
Also a contributor to the iconic, "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series, Carole Brody Fleet's latest book, "When Bad Things Happen to Good Women" is the #1 New Release on Amazon and an Amazon Hot 100 New Release. "Happily Even After..." is the winner of the prestigious Books for a Better Life Award. "Widows Wear Stilettos..." is in its seventh consecutive year on national bestseller lists. For more information about Carole Brody Fleet, please visit www.carolefleetspeaker.com and www.widowswearstilettos.com