Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.
Monday Mantra: Nothing's ever as it seems
The lid of the coffin had been removed and I could see his skeletal remains. I could see torn remnants of his clothes, clumps of soil and roots- everything a nightmare would look like.
But this didn't feel like a nightmare.
As I continued peering down, life - or death, I should say - started moving in reverse. Fragments of dirt started flying down past my face, slowly re-filling the dug open wound of the earth. Flesh started appearing on his bones, his clothes started reforming, and he started to become whole once again.
I continued peering down at him, but suddenly I was closer, much closer. Suddenly I was kneeling in the coffin starting at his face, watching him open his eyes. Watching him come back from the dead.
In that moment the only thing I wondered was if he would recognize me after all these longs years. And then, I knew- I knew that he did. I knew he remembered not only me, but that he had died. I could tell by the exact look on his face in that split second that he had been happy in death. He had been in a good place. And even though he had just been pulled from what I assumed was heaven and brought back to our trouble-ridden earth, I could tell he was happy to be here. His face was alight with joy.
I, too, felt this joy. My dead friend Ben was here. With me. Alive.
We were smiling, we were crying, we were hugging- we were a mess. This reunion seemed to carry on for days in my dream; a never-ending happy moment.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this I also realized how much older I was. Ben had died a teenager on the brink of adulthood. I was a full fledged adult. And somehow, he seemed to know what I was thinking. A fraction of a second after I had that thought, he began to age. Just as I had seen him come back to life moments before, he was now changing, catching up to me through time lost in death. Suddenly, he was an adult.
His outfit caught my eye as well. He had been wearing a suit of sorts, but now as an adult he was dressed in a white and green plaid shirt with light colored pants. In all the time I'd known him, I had only ever seen that outfit once. The rest of the time he was in black on black on black, with a baseball cap pulled low over his eyes and chains either on his wallet or his wrists or his neck, making him look every bit dark and broody. Making him look the exact opposite of everything he was- one of the happiest, kindest, most polite and loving human beings I'd ever known.
I almost never dream about Ben. In total, after all of these years, this is my second dream. The first one not even a vague memory, so lackluster in all of it's pieces. This dream was everything opposite of that; full of detail and emotion and, in some senses, closure.
Ben and I never said goodbye. We never had the chance. When he died, we were still in the midst of making up from a stupid fight that I can't even remember all the details of. I assumed that's what this dream was, as I scoured every dream dictionary I could get my hands on.
Usually, I'm pretty good at this dream analysis business. For instance, I had this dream about a week before the anniversary of his death, so I assumed that was a trigger for it. I've always wondered what he would look like as an adult, and I got to see that. I always wondered if in death, somehow, he was still mad about our fight and mad at me, or if we were OK, so to speak. The outfit, I knew, was a true representation of Ben. It was the version of him he didn't let anyone see until they'd earned it. Until they'd looked past their judgement of him from the exterior and seen who he was on the inside.
From all of those angles, it seemed like I had answers. My brain sorting and working and fixing and healing.
The dream dictionaries disagreed with everything I thought. To be honest, I couldn't find anything that exactly matched my dream, so I had to go with the basics. Death, coffin, dead, etc. Every single piece of my dream that I looked up said the exact same thing: A wedding is coming, and with it, good omens.
My wedding is coming- soon. According to the all mighty dream dictionaries, only good and wonderful and happy things are headed my way. While I appreciate that my strange and unusual dream is tied to my wedding, I can't help but wonder at the the content of it all. The dream could have come to me in any form, but it came in the form of Ben. It came with closure and love and happiness and oh-so many hugs. It came with what seems like a double meaning; a solution or answers to the past, and promises for the future.
It came with what felt like a blessing.
At the tail end of my dream, I was trying to figure out how to get him to stay. I wanted to find a way to keep him here, to somehow allow him a chance at life. Ben never spoke in my dream, but he always knew what I was thinking. And somehow, I too knew the thoughts inside his head. It's like a could hear his voice in my heart.
So while I was pondering options like the secret service and how to tell his family he was alive, he was smiling at me, waiting for me to catch on. While I was wishing he could stay, he was showing me he couldn't. This had been a visit.
No dream dictionary can define that last piece. I did more searching and I stumbled across one article about a theory of how the dead communicate with the living. It said that we never get to choose when to talk to them in dreams. We can try forcing ourselves to dream about them, but it's futile. Those who have passed have to initiate the contact. And when they do, when you are in that place that feels every much as real as your waking life, it is. It is the only way they can talk to us and it is very, very real.
I will keep living where Ben cannot.
I will live a happy life, with a man I love, and my two furry babies. I will always wonder about this dream, but I will also always cherish it. If the last piece is true and this was a visit, then I look forward to a day when he may visit again. And if that day comes, I will show him my beautiful life and how well I've lived it. For him, and for me.
Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream? - Poe