Of Grieving and Gratitude
I spoke with my Aunt Jane this morning.
She called me on the phone. She was laughing. She said she couldn't talk long, but wanted to know how I was doing. She also wanted to tell me that she was busy and happy.
And she giggled infectiously through out our entire conversation. That wonderful, irreverent giggle that simultaneously puts you at ease and convinces you of just how much she cares for you.
Then almost as soon as it had begun it was over. Still laughing, she said she had to go.
I tried to convince her to stay on the phone with me, but even as she told me she loved me and hung up I started to wake up.
I had been dreaming. I gazed at the room around me, blinking with the cold realization of it.
And then I began waking up again.
I had been dreaming that I had been dreaming that I talked to my Aunt Jane.
Yet, as I woke definitively, the sound of my Aunt Jane's laugh and love reverberated in my head. Before the memory of it could vanish as dreams so commonly do, I turned to my husband who was waking beside me.
No "Good morning, Honey". No "And how did you sleep?".
"I just talked to my Aunt Jane", I said.
He didn't miss a beat. "Oh yeah? How is she?"
"She's happy and busy and she loves me."
As the words left my mouth, the ache began to set in. I rolled on my back, staring at the ceiling. And then I started to cry. I grabbed my pillow, crammed it over my face creating a hasty sanctuary, and let the tears flow.
You see... My Aunt Jane passed away in February 2008. My beautiful, hilarious, talented, loving, red haired Auntie Jane has been "gone" for three and a half years.
Skin cancer. Malignant melanoma. Nasty stuff.
Long after my tears had stopped and dried, I laid in bed. Wondering. Pondering.
One could conjecture that I dreamed of Jane simply because the night before I had been shuffling things around in my storage room and had found the large wooden box I have that bears her name. My thoughts had most certainly lingered on her more than usual the night before as I hefted the box from storage, carried it upstairs, and placed it in my family room.
She had been in my conscious. In my subconscious. Is that why I dreamed that I dreamed that I spoke with her?
One could also speculate that those gone from this earth are not truly gone, that they speak to us in dreams. That they are very near and watching over us. That it was not a trick of the mind, but a true and sincere conversation with a beloved aunt who still lives just not in the same world as I. That she is indeed happy, busy, and that she loves me.
I am not exactly certain what happened in my dreams this morning.
But I am most certain of a few things.
She does live. And I will see her again. We will be reunited and when we are it will be as family. She will know me as her niece and I will love her as my Auntie Jane. Death cannot break the bonds we had on this earth.