My eight-year old son M. woke up in tears this morning. He dreamt that Otter, our dog who died in September, was sleeping on the couch downstairs - a place he often slept during the last of his 14 years here on the earth. M said he was so happy to see Otter in his dream and then he woke up. He remembered Otter was gone and mourned him once again.
On my morning walk with my neighbor, she told me her mother, who has dementia, regularly calls her crying. She often wakes up having forgotten that family members including her husband and beloved sister died many years ago. To help with this, my friend made a list of a family members who have died and when it happened. The list hangs insider her mother's closet door. Her mother calls crying because she just discovered that someone she loved is gone. Her ailing mind keeps here in a state of perpetual grief - forgetting and then learning once again of the loss - as she gets dressed in the morning.
My own dreams are just a cruel. You don't survive sexual assault, a cancer diagnosis and treatment and the regular traumas required to reach 45 years old and get a night full of sweet dreams. It doesn't work that way. And because of treatment, surgeries and cancer fatigue I've slept 12-14 hours a day for this last year. Sleep for me this last year has been a chance to dream. And as Hamlet points out, there's the rub.