I Can’t Carry Your Bad Dreams

And I don’t want to.

Photo by Harrison Haines via Pexels

My mom called twice this past Saturday, to tell me she’s been dreaming of my father — bad dreams and I didn’t want specifics. I can’t carry the weight of her fears about his life in my veins. I don’t want to bleed his death — don’t want to aid in the byproduct of the potentially foreseen.

My parents have been divorced since I was twelve years old. I am forty. My mom has never dreamed about my dad before, at least, not in the way she’s dreaming of him now. What does it mean when a former spouse dreams about their ex dying more than once?

According to Dream Moods, a list of explanations regarding dying in one’s dreams or death and dying of another in your dreams includes the following:

In such dreams, the death is often represented by someone else. So if you dream that someone is dead, then it means that you want to repress that aspect of yourself that is represented by the dying person. Whatever that person represents has no part in your own life anymore.

The above statement is from the section, “Death means a part of you has died.” I understand this. This is a statement I can get behind to support, but how do I convince my mother of this?

Could these dreams be the signal she needs to alert her in feeling and knowing the pieces still lingering and holding on to their past are finally breaking off — finally dying? Could she be in the beginning stages of renewal so many years beyond their end date?

Writer, Molly Longman, takes the above thought-process a bit further. “Death in dreams actually means there’s some sort of change or ending happening in your life. To the subconscious mind, this represents the end of life ‘as you now know it.’” There are several milestones that have occurred and are on the verge of occurring in my mother’s life.

She overcame hard drug abuse, is cutting back on smoking cigarettes, has cut drinking liquor out of her recreational activities, and she will be fifty-nine in September. With her being so close to sixty years old, we often talk about how hard the road has been for her — for us and we reflect on those times, grateful to be where we are as mother and daughter.


I am not a dream expert, but I have often been told that our dreams have more to do with us than anyone else and I feel as though this could be the case in this instance, but how do I approach this angle with my mom? How do I tell her the deep soul-searching she should try is probably tapping away at her psyche and she’d be wise to get ready to swim?

“I had another dream about your dad. Is he all right? Have you been keeping up with him regularly?”

My responses have been generic, but reassuring. I don’t want to get into anything too deep with her because I want to respect my dad’s boundaries. I also don’t want to start stoking any fires that have no reason to burn.

“Perhaps life is just that . . . a dream and a fear. “— Joseph Conrad

There is a thin line between listening to comfort one parent and blindly assisting them with their clouded beliefs or feelings. It is not in my best interest to give my mom any ammunition to further fuel her “bad dreams.” I want to be able to make her understand that dreams aren’t always what they seem and are often pathways to many doors we should open ourselves.

“As far as I know, Mom, he’s alive and well. Everything is okay on his end. Everything is okay.” And currently, all is indeed well with my dad.

I believe that and even if I did not, it is not my place to state otherwise unless I am told I can. My mom has enough fear within her about these dreams — I wish to aid her in finding her path away from them. “Perhaps life is just that . . . a dream and a fear.”— Joseph Conrad

If you have been having dreams of someone else dying — a mutual friend, a close relative, or one of your children, I would suggest researching the possible why of it — look into what could be transforming within you first.

I would not suggest tossing those bad dreams on to someone else. I assure you, that person is probably carrying enough, they do not need your misguided fears too.


Originally published in P.S. I Love You via Medium.

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Prepared

The Inevitable

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Tushar Adhikari|Unsplash

Today, I prepared my Living Will & Testament. I had been meaning to draft this up for years, started it, and never finished, but today–it is done. I have all of the necessary mentions, made one of my best friends the Executor and both she and my mom as primary and secondary beneficiaries. Why one of my best friends and not my mom? We have discussed this, my Mom and I. Should I go before her, she is not what one would call a stable person emotionally. She would be too overwhelmed with sadness and grief and probably not the one to execute things accordingly. As grim as death is, in the event of the death of your child, plans still have to be made, funeral arrangements need to be completed, the gathering of souls and notifying them as well must be carried out and well… to be frank, she would not be able to get this done.

My best friend, on the other hand, handles things efficiently and does so in a way that many cannot. Plus, it will not be her first time dealing with death and dying and head-mastering the arrangements. I hate tasking either of them with this, but it must be done. Although I am what most would call young in age, death does not care about that. When I am called by God, I will be called and age will be the last thing on God’s mind. While diligently compiling the list of belongings and making sure Jernee will be cared for and loved when I am gone, I became a bit emotional myself. To think of one’s own death is quite macabre, however, as I stated earlier, this is necessary. I have had a number of peers die “untimely deaths,” and I am certain there will be more. It is not my intention to leave my family wondering what my wishes are nor is it my intention to leave them solely responsible for funding my homegoing.

The nearly three-page document lacks nothing. I went through it with a fine-toothed comb and I am pleased with every item bullet-pointed, including the want to be cremated and have my ashes relegated to my mother who may do what she likes with them at her discretion. I requested a small funeral–family and close friends only. I do not see a reason to have a mass gathering for the purpose of me leaving this earth. The more people at this event, the more my mom and best friend will have to deal with and I intend for their burdens to be light. They will have enough on their plates. Should my Mom go before me, I am the Executor and her primary beneficiary and I will adhere to her wishes as she has laid them out for me. The same goes for my best friend. We talk about these matters, better to do so than not be somewhat prepared.

The only thing left to do now is to obtain signatures and get the Notary Public at my credit union to notarize the document. I will try to accomplish this in the next week or two. I can let out a sigh of relief because after the fall in the shower, nearly two years ago, the one thing bleating in the back of my mind like an untamed billygoat is, “you need a Living Will. Get it done, Tre.”

And now, it is.

The Freeing Of One’s Self

And The Love That Comes From It

TreLittle
Tre, Circa 1987. Age 7.

I recently came out as bisexual to a select few of my family members and friends (oh and um to Medium) and the weight that has been pressing on my heart is slowly lifting. To say that I have freed a huge portion of myself is an understatement. The love, respect, admiration, and acceptance that I have gained from these loved ones carries an intensity behind it that I cannot fully express. I am living during a time where it feels easiest to release, so releasing is proving best for me at this stage in life. I mentioned in “But, God Still Loves Me…” that I began telling my mom a tidbit of what I wanted to discuss and I shared everything deemed shareable with her today. I am a Writer. I like expressing myself through the written word more so than being an open conversationalist.

I wrote a short note in a blank card and gave it to her so that she could read it. My mom got to the third line and closed the card and said, “I am so happy to hear it from you, but I have always known. I began crying as she was mouthing these words to me. My mom did not miss a beat, I know my children. I just do.” I told her to read on, to see why it was so hard for me to just let go and open my mouth and say, “I am bisexual. I have known for as long I can remember…” A lot of the pent-up pain had to do with fear and not knowing how others would react, particularly, my father’s family. My mom is very matter-of-fact. She is also a person who, when time was not as kind, was violent and had a bit of a hot temper on her.

Change is a beautiful thing when one can watch it take place.

Delving into my opening up with her today lead us deeper into things that occurred of which I was not aware. A few years back, a close family member of ours broached upon the topic of my sexuality and called me derogatory and vulgar names in the presence of my mom. To make it simple and plain, I was labeled something I am not based on appearances and assumptions. My mom and my cousin used to argue and fight often so I thought it was just another ordeal conjured up from their past that they had not yet gotten over, however, my mom let it be known today that my cousin had said something out of line about me and she went ballistic. I remember receiving the phone call from my younger cousin to come and pick up my mother because all “hell had broken loose.” She never uttered a word to me in the car about the “why” of it all and I assumed she started the argument. The only thing she said was, “She crossed a line. I wasn’t having it. I left it alone.

“I have been praying and crying and asking the Lord to watch over you. I knew, I did not know how to tell you that I knew, but I have been fighting battles over your sexuality long before today. I will not have to anymore. Be free, baby.Loose yourself. It is the only way you will truly be happy.

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START: Dreaming. Doing. Achieving.

It is jaw-dropping how we chain ourselves to blockades and keep our own selves from moving due to fear and the expectations of others. You placed yourself in a box for so long and for what, baby? Why?” To answer that question among others from my mother, my cousins, and close friends over the course of the last few days has been eye-opening. There was no doubt in my mind how my mother would take it — I never feared that part, the fear came from simply saying what I needed to and watching her reactionIt came from stepping out of the dark and into the light and how overwhelming that can be when things are no longer sheltered — when things change. When we lift up rugs and start unearthing the shit that has been swept under them for years, breakthroughs happen.

Breakthroughs are meant to happen.

My mom is so free with her words and thoughts. I have always envied that. She has no problem being open, honest, upfront, and forward and it has taken me years to gain a sense of backbone somewhat close to hers, so answering her questions today was a welcome reprieve. And then this happened, “So, are we going to go to a gay bar or a strip club together? I think that would be fun.”WhoaHold up, mom. Pump the brakes. I don’t bar it up and you know that. And, I damn sure don’t want to go to the strip club with my mom. But then I thought, “Well, why not? What is really holding me back from going out and enjoying a night out on the town with my mom? Truly enjoying a night out on the town…”

Not a thing. No thing. But, me. Myself. My Self.

Life has a way of breaking you down so that you can get up and when you get up, you better be ready to fight the rest of the way through. My mom is willing to go out with me to places unfamiliar to her, allow me to be free in my element, in the comforts of every realm that I love, without hiding it from her. Although I do not bar it upI do like being in environments where a simple release comes as soon you step through the door, a welcomingNo one is talking behind your back, snickering, pointing fingers, or charring you up with the flames in their eyes because of who you date or love. And if my mom wants to be with me while I continue on this journey of freeing myself, in time, I think I can be cool with that. But for right now, digesting it is taking place.

We never know what our parents think, how they feel, what battles they are fighting on our behalf. Had I not shared with my mom today, it would not have been brought to my attention that she too had been hurting because as a mom, she was fighting for her child regardless of who it was and how she felt about them, she was willing to be Mommy Bearprotect me, and continue to do so for her child. That is a love that knows no bounds. That is a love that cannot be defined — knows no singular description.

That is a love that allows me to be free.


Originally published in Other Doors via Medium.

You’ve made some changes in my head, 
I don’t feel the same
No more
Tell me it’s not make believe, 
This feeling that you’ve shown
To comfort me, my love while I’m alone