Dream on

Last Monday night I was worried I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep. I was supposed to give a big presentation at work the next day, and it is not unusual for me to play through in my head all the morbid fantasies of what could go wrong in such a situation. But I went right to sleep – and I slept well. I rarely have dreams that I remember, and when I do, they are the disturbing stressful kind, where I spent the first few awake minutes afterwards still trying to hide the body or mend the relationship before I realize it was just a dream. But I woke up Tuesday morning remembering a dream that had none of those negative emotions or after-effects. All I remember from the dream is a sense of a person, a personality, and an image. The person is my mother. My mother has been dead for nearly thirteen years. The personality is something like me now, someone who has suddenly discovered herself and is learning to love herself, and take charge of her life. The image is a tattoo, an intricate, mostly geometric design, symmetrical on multiple axes, the kind of art my mother would have doodled while talking on the phone. I remember my mother as a woman characterized by worry and regret, resigned to her fate and fantasizing about what she wished her life had been. The woman in my dream, with that doodle on her bicep and a sense of satisfaction and determination about her is someone I like to think my mother could have become, given the opportunity, and maybe to some extent did start toward before she died. I keep remembering this dream. I can’t think of quite the right word to describe how it makes me feel. It has bits of satisfaction, joy, happiness, camaraderie, relief, and I seem to have lost the sense of resentment I felt toward her. She was just a person, with a lot of the same genes and brains and emotions and personality flaws as me. It is highly unlikely that, had she lived, she would have become the person in my dream, but the idea that the potential was there has had a significant impact on me.

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