The worst nightmare I’ve ever had

It was Christmas-time at my grandmother’s, my dad’s mom. Everything was as it usually is, but something started to feel off to me. I finally pinpointed it to the fact that I didn’t see my grandma, Mammy everyone calls her, anywhere. I started asking my family and no one seemed perturbed or surprised by her disappearance. Everything was the same as it usually is, but Mammy was completely missing. I realized the way you do in a dream, slowly and suddenly at the same time, that my grandmother had passed away. I was understandably crushed and as I looked around her home, I noticed all the things that wouldn’t be the same without her. For our family gatherings, like Christmas, she spends hours that morning making a veritable feast for us all to enjoy together. For Christmas specifically, she picks and decorates a live tree and begins her shopping months ahead of time so everyone has some presents to open. As I looked around thinking about this and crying, all the things she does began to disappear. At the same time, my cousins and aunts and uncles looked at me quizzically and told me to calm down, asking What’s the big deal?

I woke up in hysterics, still crying, and woke my boyfriend so he could comfort me. I don’t know how long I cried after waking up, but it was longer than from any other dream I can ever remember having

I think this dream says a lot about my current psyche. I think it speaks to my fear of change and misunderstanding and being different from my family. My grandfather, Mammy’s husband of 58 years, passed away last November, so I think it’s understandable that the thought of losing family members has been weighing heavily on my mind in the last four months (Wow, has it already been four months? Wow…). Most importantly, I think my dream speaks to the fact that I still feel the reverberations of our loss while sometimes I feel my family members are fine. I know they’re probably all feeling about the same way I am, and I know we’ve all still got each other, but sometimes they seem so normal when everything just feels more than a bit off to me.

I think Easter will be especially hard, as I don’t know if it was my grandfather’s favorite, but it was the one he was most heavily involved in the traditions of. He would offer $20 to anyone willing to swim across the pond outside their house (I’m from the country), and he’d sit on the bank wallet out watching as you did so. He would also offer cash prizes to winners of a basketball shootout in men, women, and children divisions (I’m also from Indiana). This is our first Easter without him, and while we’ll surely continue his traditions, it will just never be the same.

I called Mammy on the phone today, to check in and to tell her about my dream, and she said not to worry, not to cry too much, but just to try to remember the good times.