I think the dreams started when I was five years old. I didn’t understand what I was seeing at first. Actually, I treated them as though they all were nightmares until I was old enough to understand. As I grew from a child into a teen I started to realize what was happening. I was jumping or being sucked into other peoples dreams and/or nightmares.
I was fourteen when I started to dream about an old house that sat on a hill and the elderly couple that lived within. It wasn’t an unpleasant dream compared to some of my earlier ones. At first I was seeing through the eyes of the dreamer. I saw only what they saw and experienced only what they experienced.
It wasn’t until a year later that I’d find out that I had been dreaming my mothers dream. I had been going through some old family photos when I came upon the house on the hill and several pictures of the elderly couple; not so elderly in a few of the photographs. I asked about them and discovered they were, infact, my great-great grandparents, long dead before I was even a sparkle in my mothers eyes. It was enthralling hearing her tell stories of her childhood playing in and around the house on the hill. And it was amazing to hear the love in her voice when she spoke of the strangers, to me, in the photos. By the time she had finished, I felt like I knew them as well.
The dream stopped for awhile after my conversation with my mom. I felt cheated since I now knew what and who I was seeing but I wasn’t dreaming about it any longer.
My dreams took on a more nightmarish quality and it was getting old fast. I had no idea who’s nightmare I had been sucked into and I frankly didn’t care to find out; it was just creepy in every way. Creepy from the large skeleton hand that chased me through an endless maze down to the masked man that seemed to be waiting for me behind every door with a large ax. For an entire month I woke up screaming. Once I calmed down I prayed that the peaceful dream of long gone family would return. The nightmare didn’t stop until, with great will, I managed to shut the ax-man in a room and lock the door.
I was sucked into several other dreams and nightmares after the ax-man but I just couldn’t find the one dream I wanted to experience again.
I had given up when, three months later, I found myself outside the house on the hill. This time I wasn’t seeing through my moms eyes, I was seeing through my own. I was an observer; I had finally gotten what I wanted.
I watched as my mom, along with the elderly man and several others, got out of a car. The first thing I noticed was that they were all dressed in black. The second was that they wore somber expressions. As I followed behind them, a ghost not to be seen, my suspicions were confirmed. My great-great grandmother had passed away. I felt a deep sadness settle over my soul; I didn’t even know her but I was grieving none the less. The dream continued on for several more minutes before I awoke with a sob.
The grief was so complete that I mourned for the woman an entire week. I kept to myself and spoke to very few. Once the feeling of utter despondence faded, I once again approached my mother for information about my great-great grandparents.
Several questions into my inquiry I found out that Elizabeth, my great-great grandmother and with whom my mother shares her middle name, fell ill and died four days after being admitted to the hospital. She died suddenly in the middle of the night and all alone. Something my mother still couldn’t come to grips with. She felt betrayed and cheated that she didn’t get to say goodbye.
I took time to reflect on my newly gathered information and unknowing began to plot. Dreams were a time when anything was possible, right? So why couldn’t see get the closure she needed?
Two days later I, causally, broached the subject of Elizabeth’s death. In passing I asked if she ever thought about what she would have said to her had she had the chance? With the idea planted I headed off to bed.
To my dismay I was sucked into other dreams for two more weeks until finally I closed my eyes only to find myself standing in the stark white of a hospital. Phantoms of the unseen people passed me by as I was drawn into one of the rooms. It took awhile but I was finally shown what I had been hoping for.
My mother was sitting beside the bed of Elizabeth, holding her hand, something I could only assume she had actually done all those years ago. I had to strain to hear the words she was saying. From the bits and pieces I picked up, she had told her that she loved her and would see her again someday and that she would always be in her memory.
This time when the dream faded I felt at peace, as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. My mom had gotten the closure she so desperately needed and I was the one that helped her get it.
Maybe I was given this....gift....curse.....for a reason. And maybe, just maybe, I could live with that.