String of Lights

I debated posting anything about this because it can seem anywhere from unbelievable to a type of mental whoredom. Still, writing helps make sense of things, so I decided to do it anyway. I swear to anyone reading this that this is 100% true. Every bit of it.

Last night I was feeling very melancholy, so went for a walk very late at night. It wasn’t a normal sort of malaise, but something that ended up with me contemplating life — where I’m going, my current job, my location, my writing, my social interactions, pretty much everything. I couldn’t make peace with any aspect of it, but realized that I am at a sort of crossroads where some decisions need to be made. The only resolution I could come up with was to make a list of the positives and negatives and compare them to the proposed changes. I was literally unable to focus and the malaise persisted. I couldn’t really identify the source. It was nebulous and fleeting.

I came back home and watched the latter half of The Desolation of Smaug, and went to sleep around 2am, because I had today (Monday) off. I woke up around 6am, used the bathroom, and went back to sleep.

Between 6 and 9 I had a very vivid dream. It was entirely in sepia tones and was about a young male with dark, curly hair thinking about his grandmother. He was thinking that she was very fast and liked to run a lot and that he hadn’t seen her in a very long time. He decided to go see her at her home, but her bedroom was shrouded in white sheets and white drapes. The bed was made, but his grandmother wasn’t there.

Worried, he decided to look for her in a classroom (for some reason which made sense in the dream but which has no significance to me now). As he was about to enter the classroom, he saw a streak, sort of like someone running with a strand of white Christmas lights trailing behind. The man tried to chase the strand of lights but was way too slow.

He started to cry, knowing that the lights were because of his grandmother. He ran into the classroom and asked the teacher (who was dressed as though it was the 30s) if she had seen his grandmother. The class was watching a film from an old projector and the stream of lights passed over the film. The teacher laughed at the boy and said that he would never be able to catch her — everyone knew she was too fast.

The stream of lights passed by again, this time staying in place so that he could follow. They changed from the angular Christmas lights to large orbs as he followed them. He went up a rope ladder, sobbing now. He ascended to an attic and saw his grandmother running past. Sprinting after her, he almost caught her but she slipped away. The whole attic was lit with this never ending strand of white lights.

Finally, his grandmother appeared in a doorway, looking way too young to be a grandmother, but he recognized her nonetheless. She stepped forward and told him that he couldn’t follow her. He said that he wanted to talk to her. She ran around him, wrapping him in the strand of lights, tripped him, and knocked him to the dusty wooden floor of the attic.

She leaned down, kissed him on the cheek, told him that she was proud of him, and ran off. Bound by the lights, he couldn’t follow her, so he lay there and cried.

I woke up at about 9:30, almost in tears. About 15 minutes passed during which I calmed down and shook the dream off.

My cell phone rang.

It was my uncle, which I thought was weird because he didn’t know I had the day off. He hung up, left a brief message, which I listened to. He was saying something about not wanting to say it on a message and that he would call back. He did just then.

My great grandmother died this morning. My uncle was calling to tell me.

She just turned 104 years old last month and had been in a nursing home for about 8 years, having only just started to lose her memory. So, her death wasn’t a shock, but…I mean, she was 104. It was expected for years and years. Why would I have a dream like that now? She wasn’t on my mind particularly. I hadn’t seen her in a while. Why now?

The woman seemed eternal to me. She was a generous, feisty French woman, full of love and wiry humor. My favorite story about her was that, when she was in her mid 80s, she was diagnosed with breast cancer (which claimed her daughter, who was more like my mother, almost three years ago), the doctor gravely told her that they would have to perform a mastectomy.

She said, “Fine! Take them both; I don’t need them!”

She fell in her early 90s and fractured a hip — while gardening in her backyard. She was ordered to use one of those four-footed canes to get around while she healed. More often than not you would find the cane in the middle of the room somewhere, where it had begun to irritate her or get in her way, and you would have to track her down. She was usually in the kitchen, making stew, baking cookies, cleaning cupboards, etc. The woman would not slow down. Ever.

She survived for 20 more years after cancer, and more than 10 after the hip issue, and I think it was that kind of scrappy attitude that kept her going.

I’m not a particularly religious person, and can be somewhat of a cynic, but I can’t help but wonder if I had this dream for a reason. Did she visit me? Did part of me know about her passing somehow? Was it just some random coincidence?

But I can’t bring myself to believe this latter part. Maybe it’s just me wanting to believe that my great grandmother is streaking around the afterlife, both breasts in tact, cane forgotten, wrapping people in strands of light, tripping them, and dashing off to some divine garden somewhere. I imagine my grandmother looking up from whatever book she is reading, seeing her mother running around, roll her eyes, and go back to reading her book.

Whatever the reality, my world is a little more empty for having lost them both, and I think the universe has gained more than it bargained for. =)



~ by Darren Endymion on April 14, 2014.

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