My dreams have been a portal to another world all my life. Not in an idle brain's spinning on a hamster wheel sort of portal. More like conversations or scenarios that are created beyond me, not the other way around like I'd expect. Each dream leaves me with a message that directly relates to my life or the lives of those I love. Occasionally I get a peek into something big but those make me nervous. Sometimes I'm left with sorting out the pictures and events for days, never understanding what the relevance is at the time. Eventually, the relevance comes.
Back when my grandparents passed, I tried hard to conjure them in my dreams every night. They wouldn't visit. I did all I could: asked, begged, prayed, and bargained them into my head. Nothing. Not a peep for years.
Then in one dream, I remember feeling my grandfather's presence. I couldn't see him and I really couldn't hear him but he was all around me and I never questioned the validity of that. It was more like, "THERE you are."
I waited for a long time to "see" my grandmother too but she wouldn't show up. I thought she was still mad at me. No, really. She was pretty pissed at me for a misunderstanding a few months before she passed. The mildest mannered, most tender-hearted woman was in her final stages of dementia that removed her social filter and let her true feelings shine. Let's just say I was a thorn in her side toward the end. Not in reality. In reality I (along with my brother, my mom, and Jimmy) cared for her and made sure she ate, drank, changed out of her pantyhose, and got to her doctor's appointments. But in her agitated state of mind, I was a pill. It was the most tragic kind of love story. Unrequited love. But my God, was it hilarious to see my Boompa unplugged.
She and I had lunch dates. It was one way I could see to it she'd eat well since neither of us was any damn good in the kitchen anymore. I'd help her in the booth and read items off the menu since her memory failed to remind her that's what was next. Feeling good about spending quality time with my Boompa, my smile cast a spell on only me. Across the table, I registered her tiny scowl. "Dear," she'd say in uncharacteristic volume, "you must really be fond of this place. It's the only restaurant we ever go to anymore and the food is not to rave about."
About a year ago, this one dream made me crazy. It was my grandfather trying to tell me something. His words weren't recognizable English words and the more he tried, the less I could understand. Before long, I became frustrated and upset.
"Leave her alone, Jim. She doesn't need to know now."
It was her. I'd know that voice anywhere. HI BOOMPA! What didn't I need to know now, Boompa? What is it?! Please come back and tell me! I woke up that morning absolutely frantic and called my mom. My brother is a cancer survivor who periodically goes in for rechecks. I was terrified Boompa was talking about him. Mom assured me it was not about Eric. His tests came back great and all was going well for him. We both chalked it up to my maternal need to perseverate on all worrisome things even in my sleep.
But that dream clung to my psyche for a very long time, gnawing at me almost every day.
Six months later, Jimmy passed without warning.
And now I understood. All that time I mistook my Boompa's silence for anger. I thought she was still mad at me for the cheap club sandwiches. I was missing the big picture completely. Boompa was too busy to hold any earthly grudge. There was no time for that; she was preparing for the happiest reunion of her afterlife.
At the same time, protecting me from worrying about things I cannot change.