Sometimes life is a sleepwalk in which we see everything clearly and deny it.
My walk began when I was 14, five weeks before the Fourth of July in 1961.
I had a recurring dream. It was dark and raining. I saw myself asleep on my grandma’s couch. Something stirred me. I got up and walked to the kitchen. There, lying curled up on the floor, was my grandma – my mom’s mom. I knelt down and reached for her hand. Only then would I realize my eyes were open and staring at the ceiling.
Every night, for five weeks, the same dream.
The morning after the first time, I told my sister, Sue. She said I was being dramatic. The second time I told my brother, Kit, who told my mother I was being weird. After that I went on dreaming — but never spoke of it again.
The weather forecasters warned of rain for the extended holiday weekend, but promised clear skies for fireworks.
I had a job selling 45s at the only record store in town. By closing time Saturday, I knew they’d been right about the rain. My brother forgot to pick me up, forcing me to walk the half-mile home in a dismal drizzle. I remember hoping my mom was working the vigil shift at a hospice home by then, unaware of my whereabouts. All I wanted was to crawl into bed and sleep through the holiday.
And I might have. But Mom and Kit were in the living room arguing over my grandmother when I sneaked in.
“I wouldn’t ask. But I must work,” she was saying. Frantic and sorrow straining her voice. “Go? Just for tonight?”
“Nothing doing,” said Kit. “I’ve got plans for early morning. Besides, David’s living with her. He’s the one who should be there, not me.”
“Your brother won’t be there tonight and she’s not well,” Mom pleaded. “She needs you.” He ignored her. “Please?”
“I’ll go,” I said, disarming them. Without time for questions or concern, Mom gazed her gratitude and Kit drove me to where I’d never go again.
It wasn’t magnanimous of me. I idolized my grandma. Had circumstances demanded I live with her for good, I’d have gone as willingly. It’s not that I didn’t adore my mom. I did. But Mom loved six of us, equally. Grams loved me, especially.
My grandma was the scent of boiled coffee, fried doughnuts, and brown soap wrapped in the warmth of a summer day. A stern, determined woman who lived alone on an empty road, in a plain house, without television or telephone. Though her isolation required Mom’s visiting every day, she clung to her privacy and possessions as if they were gold. They weren’t – not even gold-tone.
By 11 the rain turned fierce, with roaring thunder swallowing the sky. I had to pound hard on her raised-paneled door before Grandma would let me in. She immediately demanded to know the whereabouts of my brothers.
“They couldn’t come,” I lied. “I came instead.”
“I don’t want you,” she said. “I want Kit. Where’s David? I want David.”
She sounded slurred, as if the storm had scrambled her senses.
“Well you got me, Grams,” I said. “So let’s get you to bed. I’ll sleep in the parlor on the couch.”
It took some fussing before she shuffled back to the bedroom. I sat with her in the dark a while, making certain she was settled before gently kissing her good night. Then I returned to the parlor and lay down damp, intent on sleeping fast.
When a silent streak of lightning crept by the window, I realized my eyes were open. There was no thunder. No rain. No noise. Only that bright white transient light marking the moment and where I was.
THE ABOVE EXCERPT IS FROM:
Seriously, Mom, you didn’t know?
by Marguerite Quantaine © Copyright 2019
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This freshly edited, updated essay was first published in 2003 in the St. Petersburg Times. Copyright by Marguerite Quantaine © 2003 & 2013.
Do you have a memorable dream? Have any of your dreams come true?
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I’m all eyes and heart.
I would be so much less without people like you, Carol, willing to both take the time to read my words, and spend the time to tell me that those words resonated in a positive way. Thank you.
The first emotion I felt was sadness…..I so enjoy reading whatever you write….whether your blog or pieces on facebook……you are a very talented person…….
Right back at a Yvonne!
Beautifully invoking, leaving traces of emotions that I will feel all day. Thank you for sharing.
Your shared experience is beautiful and powerful. I am always touched by your words, Marguerite.
I once had a dream that my son was kidnapped at the mall as I was looking at a certain shoe rack and his father had him in his stroller but hadn’t been paying attention. Some time later I was at the mall with my husband, my son, and my husband’s cousin. She and I were looking at shoes and my husband took my son in his stroller to another store. As I stared at the shoe rack with our cousin all of the sudden the dream came rushing back to me and I ran through the mall for my son. He was sitting in his stroller alone outside of a store that my husband had stepped into “for a minute”.
I truly believe the dream had forewarned me of a tragedy that might have happened. I’ve had other dreams of insignificance that later came true so I make a point of never ignoring my dreams.
Personally, I believe dreams are God’s way of preparing us for situations or just letting us know he’s listening.
Thank you for sharing this.
I think you’re right, Breeghn. About it all. So glad your son is safe and that you listened to your heart.
Heartfelt story, Marguerite. You always capture my attention with your gift of story telling, placing me in your memory of vivid characters and situations. Interesting that you dreamt of her death and then “coincidentally” was the one who was with her when she died. I’m sure your tender kiss and gentleness putting her to bed helped her pass more peacefully. ~Michelle
I don’t believe in coincidences, Michelle, but I hope you’re right about the kiss. I’ll choose to believe it so.
Thanks for that.
Reblogged this on dyke writer and commented:
I had the experience of 2 dreams coming true.
the first was a conversation with a girl at school and it happened the next day. I think it was about a celebrity who’s name I don’t recall.
the other was – My Dad had gone on a driving vacation with the dog and wasn’t due back for another week,
I dreamt that I was walking down the front path to the gate, when my dog jumped the fence and my Dad was right behind him.
the next day, I went out to go across the street to play with a pal and then the dog jumped the fence.
My Dad had come home early.
they weren’t events of any significance
I think all dreams have significance. What if it was your belief your dad would return that set off a yearning in his mind, turning him back, sooner, taking you both out of harms way? We may not know the reason, but I bet there always is one.
He would have been on his way back before my dream
I haven’t been able to dream for some years
my brain has been supressing them, becuase it’s been nothing but nightmares for too long
dreams are critical to mental health and well being
not to mention, keeping our brains entertained while we sleep
usually problem solving, coping, fantasies and dress rehearsals for anticipated events
I love this story. I was so absorbed and could relate completely to your experience of the dream, and the moving scene in the kitchen. To have a premonition or a vision and then to experience it is very amazing. I love your description of your behavior upon finding Grandma Sutherland on the floor. The confusion, denial, compassion. So real and heartfelt.
Thank you for sharing it.. Not everyone thinks that “dreamers” are dramatic, weird or crazy.
I often wish dreams on others, Lisa, especially when someone tells me she never dreams. I hope you do. I’m not certain I could have endured the actual loss without the trial runs.
My-heart-to-yours dear friend.
Beautifully written Marguerite as always…have tears in my eyes. xxx
Beautiful. Touching. Tearful. Enlightening. Personal. Thank you for sharing your heart, your soul, and your words with us. You, once again, inspire us all.
Thank you! That was crazy nice of you to take the time to say.
You’re always so generous and I’m always so humbled by your reaction to my words, Kieran. Thank you.
Brilliant, Marguerite! Very thought-provoking. I love your writing style.