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Friday, February 17, 2012

~I Have A Dream?

Sumthin' weird is goin' on.

(...I know, and that's unusual how?)

I'm having dreams.  I know everyone has dreams and it's a matter of whether one remembers them or not.  Generally, I do not have recall of my dreams.  In fact, the last dream I remember having was (as near as I can pinpoint by where I lived when I had the dream) was 1997ish, when I had a completely cracked out fantastical dream where my Nana was piloting a plane as we spiraled through some clouds as we landed in Hong Kong (really?  Hong Kong?) as I was passing out Resse's Pieces to the other passengers.  Obviously, nuthin' peculiar 'bout that.  (Please Note:  Nana is not, nor has ever been a pilot.  And for the official record, I'm not that big of a fan of Resse's Pieces.  Additionally, I've never been to, nor had any real desire to go to Hong Kong, making my dream all the more rifuckingdiculous.)

Occasionally, I wake up feeling like I've had a dream, (usually as a result of a nap and not a full nights sleep) but am never really able to access it or piece it together even when I've put effort into the quest for my dreams.  Just a hazy 'sumthin' entertaining' was going on while my peepers were closed feeling.

But this past week or so I've been much more aware of my dreams.  I had a dream that included my first serious boyfriend.  The nature of his appearance in my slumber movie I cannot say, but I woke up recognizing that he'd played some sort of role. 

Last night I had a dream that included an odd scenario where the players were my friend Somp, an infant and Jack McCoy.  Um, yeah, that Jack McCoy:

(Law & Order mainstay, TD Ameritrade pitchman
and BBG dream participant, Sam Waterson)


For some reason unbeknownst to me, Somp and I were being held hostage in close quarters with other people (who I didn't know/can't remember) in a dark room and were being monitored by someone with a long gun with night vision and I was in charge of keeping this miscellaneous baby alive in addition to serving as a voice of reason for our group.

I somewhat wish I had more details about the mysterious circumstances unfolding in my sleep.  Sumthin's telling me that musta been quite the situation.  My other hand tells me that it was sure to be crrrrrrrrazy and is probably best that I don't have all of the pieces to the dream puzzle.

Even more dumbfounding is why all of the sudden I'm cognizant of my dreams?  As I say, it's just been the past week that I've had any sort of awareness of my dream state.  And absolutely nuthin' has changed during that time.  No addition of any psychotropic drugs.  No new foods.  (Wait!  I remember a dream in maybe 2005 that involved Dean Martin, Don Rickles, the Fonz, Joanie Cunningham and moi playing poker [<-- nope, I do not know how to play poker] that was so incredibly ridiculous that I actually woke up from my deep sleep to find myself [somewhat to my boyfriend at the time chagrin] laughing out loud, that I attributed to the restaurant we'd had dinner at possibly dosing my asparagus, as it was the only thing I'd had different from him.)  I'm under no more or less stress than the norm.  Not even a new laundry detergent.  It's just (as are my dreams) weird.

Back when I used to dream regularly my dreams tended to revolve around a few central themes;  falling and breaking my teeth, somehow overcoming some crime situation-- usually beating/killing some crim and naughty dreams.  All probably falling within the norm of dreamland.  But again, we're talkin' y-e-a-r-s ago.

The new onslaught of dreams have been certifiably wacky.  Clearly.

Because this is so unusual for me, remembering dreams not the loony content, I've found myself looking forward to sleep instead of fighting it as normal.  Free entertainment?  Hellz yeah!  I'm already hoping tonight I can find out why and what was going on in that dark room, who's fuckin' baby that is, how I'm gonna out fox the sniper/hostage taker (look who's super confident) and what the fuck Jack McCoy is up to these days.

...Maybe it's a sign to start turning off the tv when I'm sleeping, or at least not fall asleep to Law & Order.



(Extra reading credit from Listverse:  10 Amazing Facts About Dreams)



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Thursday, February 2, 2012

~Reflections



It was late January 2010 when we found out Papa had cancer.  By the 22nd of March he was gone. 

I learned a lot about death and grief.  I learned a lot about love.  I learned a lot about living. 

Even now I find it difficult to fully comprehend the events surrounding what started for me that January. 

I can remember my massive inconsolable emotional freak out I had after I heard the news.  I desperately wanted to jump in the car and go to Nana & Papa's house, immediately, but I couldn't stop my constant tears.  I ended up holing up for a few days until I could muster the fortitude to make that hour drive to see them without being a complete basket case, 'cause you know who doesn't need a basket case?  The actual person who's been told their time is limited and the one who has loved them for 62 years, that's who.

I had the luxury of spending most of those next few weeks with my Papa and family as we navigated the unfamiliar and painful journey.  Watching someone you love leaving you is awful.  There aren't words to adequately convey how terrible, sad and heart wrenching it is.  The only thing I can imagine that is worse, is not having the chance to walk those final steps of life with your loved one.  

The process of dying-- other than in the, we're all in the process of dying once we're born sense, is an overwhelming experience to be witness to.  Overwhelming emotionally.  To a lesser and more manageable degree overwhelming physically.  The stamina required being on high alert 24/7 for days, weeks, months is simply exhausting.  Emotionally, it's more than exhausting and all encompassing.  It's nothing one can prepare for.  You can try to prepare, but in reality, you just aren't.

I thought after some time to absorb everything the process of dying and loss it brings into your life, I'd have some helpful revelation or advise I could share.  As it turns out, almost two years later, I don't.  Gone is gone.  And gone sucks.  Period. 

As I can tell, the only thing I've learned that makes a loss easier, and the only real tip about grief I have to offer is to do the right thing.  Be.  Say.  Do.  Even when it's hard.  It means you'll have no regrets.  Technically, I can't say doing right will actually make things easier, but I can't imagine what having to manage grief and a bunch of "should've's" would be like.  My advise is it (should've's) is to be avoided at all costs.

Grief is super tricky.  Granted, everyone experiences it differently and there is no right way to deal with it.  But, in my opinion there is a universal truth of how to best manage it.

Eventually, if you allow it to be so, grief, while always around becomes less acute.  Accepting that is one of the greatest (<-- which is sayin' sumthin' as Nana & Papa have actually put a big bow on a 4 wheeled/4 door'd Christmas present) and last gifts Papa gave me.   

I've mentioned the "luxury" of having time together before he passed.  ...An odd way to frame the worst portion of my life thus far, I know.  When exactly did you think I was not an odd girl?  But during a conversation Papa talked with me about the daughter he and Nana lost when she was a teen, and how after she died he felt like he'd just die.  That it was just too much.  But that at some point he considered what she would want for him and that she would want him to live a happy life.  Papa told me once he accepted what he knew was true- that she wouldn't want her death to define and rule his life he was able to begin to actually live his life again with more happiness and less grief.  Papa told me that's exactly what he wanted me to do;  To be sad for a while, but to remember that he wouldn't want me sad forever.

I think I've done what he wanted me to do. 

Which isn't to say every day is just automatically roses and unicorns.  Even now almost two years, my mind and body still conspire to remind me how traumatic this time of the year once was.  For me that apparently means not being able to go to sleep at a decent hour coupled with rising too damn early.  A bit of BBG PTSD from trying to walk an unfamiliar road of having to say good bye, watching changes happen that you don't want to see and being powerless about the entirety of the situation at hand.

Unfortunately, recently I have had to draw on my experiences to help (?) several friends who have (or are in the process of losing) lost loved ones of late.  I used to think I was empathetic when people lost someone close to them, but now since I've walked the road, I feel even more compassion for friends when they are going through such times.  Experiencing the journey is different than knowing about the journey.  Experiencing it is like gaining entry into some club you never wanted to be in, never wanted to understand and never wanted to have to learn the rules about, but here you are.

"Grief is the price we pay for love."     
                                                        ~Queen Elizabeth II

When I reflect back on a lifetime of gifts, joys and love I was given by my Papa it seems like a small, albeit painful, price to pay.  A debt I'm both saddened by, yet happy to carry.

But knowing that alone, doesn't make it easy.  It takes work.

Grief is easy to get mired down in, to be consumed by.  


If you're in the club, at a certain point you have to ask yourself if you are honoring your loved one by living the life they would want you to live?  Or if you are honoring them with your misery?  If the answer is the second, consider how much of an honor it is to be doing the exact opposite of what they would want for you?

As for me?  I'm listening to my Papa.

(And keeping a good thought for the other members of the club.)


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