After a particularly grueling day of parenting, my husband and I enjoyed several minutes of drowsy pillow conversation, quietly over the babe nursing/sleeping between us. I vented. We pondered and wondered how best to discipline, how best to exemplify the behavior we hope for them to embody. We fell asleep before any epiphanies.
I know I am dying. Sitting up in bed, I see it in my husband’s face. Our younger son lays his head across my tummy. While I’ve been strong up till now, as I run my hands through his unruly hair, my resolve breaks; my heart aches. I love him so much. No. I’m not ready to die yet. The bright white light comes. No. I need to see my older children first. They have to know, have to hear me tell them I love them. They’re here. It’s okay now.
I awoke with that sense of breathlessness near panic. I wasn’t dead, no matter how real it had seemed. It was a short dream for me, one who tends to have the epic variety, but its strength and clarity remain with me still.
I’m not proficient at dream interpretation, but I’ve experimented enough myself and have been with others enough to know that dreams speak to us in ways we might not otherwise understand. I’ve been fortunate to be in groups to facilitate dream work. At a meeting recently, one of my spiritual teachers was there, too. We had been in a dream group together, and I admire her immensely. “In dream symbology, what does it mean when you die?” I asked her. “Usually it’s the ego,” she answered. (We could have been asking each other about the weather. It’s good to have friends you can talk to without the small talk.) It clicked into place, as it will when you get your right understanding of a dream.
I had fallen asleep wondering how best to deal with my children. I must have offered my query to the Divine, for it was received and answered. To best relate to my kids, I have to get out of the way and let love lead. That doesn’t mean I am a pushover and let them run wild. Kids need boundaries for what is acceptable or not, and there are consequences for inappropriate behaviors and actions. What’s important, though, is that I shouldn’t completely freak out just because something isn’t done the way I think it should be done. These kids may come from my womb, but I believe they’re designed by and for God. Heaven forbid I mess that up.
So I’m grateful for this dream that reminds me to let go and to love as if this were my last moments. It sounds so simple. The lesson is so easy. It’s the homework that’s hard.
The other morning, not long after my dream of dying, my husband told me that when he awoke the older kids to get ready for school, they both said the same thing. “I had the most wonderful dream.” I wonder what lesson they were given. May they remember their dreams.