In my dreams

In a recent dream, Mom and I were shopping. I don’t know where, or what we bought, but I do recall that Mom was her normal self. It was sort of mundane, in fact, this shopping scene in my dream. It is typical of most dreams – I don’t recall many details at all. But when I woke up, I did remember that Mom had been just plain old Mom in the dream. And it made me kind of sad. I don’t always know that I am missing her. That dream made me miss her.

I also have anxiety dreams on a regular basis. The same thing, over and over. I am in graduate school at Ohio University, pursuing an advance degree in journalism. I am living in subpar housing, renting with a bunch of strangers while living in Athens, away from my husband in Columbus. And I start out each quarter strong, completing all of my assignments. But when finals roll around, or final papers are due, I fail to complete any of them. I don’t show up to class anymore. I avoid checking my transcripts so I never have to look at all of the terrible grades I’m accumulating. I wake up believing this is true sometimes, that I am a complete failure in journalism school at OU. And the thing is, I already have an advanced degree in journalism from OU. And I was a good student. It is a weird recurring anxiety dream, and I am tired of it.

I visited Mom today, once again letting almost two weeks pass between visits. I walked into the program area, and Mom was lying on a couch, awake, with Mr. R sitting in a chair next to the couch. I walked toward at her, staring at her until we made eye contact. She looked at me, but for awhile no sign of recognition showed on her face. As I got close, and I said, “Hi, Mom,” she sat up and said, “Oh, hello.” She seemed pleased, but not exactly excited, like the last time. I pulled a chair up next to her. She had one sock on, so I went to her room to try to find another. I found a bunch of single socks in her drawer. I picked one, a completely different color, and put it on her naked foot. A male resident walked by, and Mom turned her head to look at him. This caused Mr. R to start saying things to Mom that had that tone I had heard before – he was being critical, and was suddenly angry, apparently because of the attention he gave to this other man. Mom would respond to what he said, but she was positively unaffected by the tone of his voice.

A group of older people in patriotic costumes came in to perform for the residents, and I urged Mom to come watch them. She stood up, and I asked Mr. R if he wanted to come, too. He stood up, and he and Mom joined hands, and we walked to the circle. I pulled up chairs so they could sit next to each other, and I sat behind Mom. Mr. R would sing along with some of the recorded songs – “You’re a grand old flag,” things like that. He reached over and took Mom’s hand. I had been upset by the way he had been talking to her just minutes before, but I stayed out of it, because I knew it would pass. I had no idea it would pass so quickly. About six songs into the performance, I told Mom I had to go back to work, kissed her goodbye, and left. I noticed she and Mr. R got up, too, and returned to their couch, away from the crowd gathered to watch the dancers. As Mom headed that way, she waved goodbye to me.

She looked good today. Fairly clean hair, and such a peaceful expression on her face. Breezy in white pants and a yellow fleece shirt. Seeing her like that reminded me of my shopping dream. I have to admit I’m so glad she still looks good – that she looks pretty “normal.” I noticed today that the male resident who was once described as the “new hottie” has changed so much in his short time at the Alz center. Maybe because he is young, the disease is progressing rapidly. He keeps his head hung very low at all times, with his chin resting on his chest. I think it must be so uncomfortable. His hair has thinned, and his body has changed. He has lost weight, but his belly protrudes. His face has thinned, but his cheeks are puffy. I felt sad today, seeing him. And remembering my dream. How nice it would be to go shopping with the regular old Bonnie this weekend. I have a big coupon for Kohl’s. She liked that store.

7 comments so far

  1. Sherri on

    I just had to comment as soon as I read this…. I, too, have had dreams of me and my Dad (who has been gone 4 years now) shopping. Same thing – mundane experience – we’re looking at shoes or something – and he is his old self – way before he got sick – I want to say it’s almost a 1980’s version of my Dad – maybe early 1990’s – when he was in his 40’s or 50’s. Odd, huh? That we would have the same dream, that is. Odd, too, that I have the anxiety dreams – often revisiting some “bizarro” version of my past in them :-). In others, I’ve given one of kids medicine that he / she desperately needs and it’s not working, and… somehow that is my fault – or – somehow I took all of our money and put it in the house somewhere and now it is gone. Hmmmm….. Well – I can tell you this, I would go shopping with you if we were in the same city :-). I’m so sorry you’re missing your mom so much this lately.

  2. Gemma on

    I’m so surprised at your anxiety dream about OU. I have a very similar one but mine is based on true life. Started freshman year in OU honors, by sophomore year I had a 1.5. Spring quarter, I only had a .7 average. Stopped going to all classes except horseback riding! Stopped eating too.

  3. momsbrain on

    Sherri: That is weird about the dreams of our parents in the past, doing mundane activities. But then again, maybe it’s our subconscious letting us return to the past in a gentle way.

    Gemma: I am so sick of my OU dream. The one class I almost failed was racquetball, which I managed to drop on the last possible day after I skipped the first several classes. Maybe I’m having school dreams because Patrick is taking classes again…

  4. Garth on

    I think you might be misinterpreting your OSU dream Emily. It actually sounds like a good dream to keep having. I’ve often had similar dreams over and over about being back in high school and coming up on graduation and realizing I wasn’t prepared to graduate and feeling like a failure. It bothered me for a long time that I kept having this dream.

    Then I heard a person talking about the meaning of dreams and she said that kind of dream is often your subconscious reassuring you that whatever challenge you’re facing in your life at the moment, you’re able to handle it. You graduated OSU (I graduated high school) in real life. It’s like the thing you’re worried about is represented by what you’re worrying about in your dream. But you got through that in real life, and you’ve got what it takes to get through whatever you’re facing now.

    I don’t know if that helps, but it helped me when I began to look at my dream from that perspective.

  5. Garth on

    Woops – I meant OU not OSU. Sorry about that!

  6. momsbrain on

    Hi, Garth – great to see your comment! And I love your interpretation of the dream. I guess I have a pessimistic streak, so I of course assumed the negative about its meaning. But to be reassured by this repeat dream instead – what a concept! Thank you!!

  7. Marty on

    Ah, yes. Same dream about having finals come up and me not even know they were scheduled, etc. Or coming into the cafe I used to own and seeing a loooong line of customers with no prep work done. Ahhhhhhhhh! This symbolic dream I had recently, though, made me laugh out loud.

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