For as long as I can remember, I’ve not only had very vivid and unusual dreams, but I’ve also almost always remembered them. When I was six I had a dream that I fell out of a window and into a barrel of bees. At 17 I had a dream that a gunman came into the mall where I was working and started shooting – I hid underneath a covered table hoping he wouldn’t find me, but he did. When I was 27 I actually was shot and killed in a dream – I could feel the spot in my chest burning. I couldn’t shake that dream for days.

I always used to hear that dreams are our way of processing things – stress, fear, anxiety, joy. There’s got to be something to that theory.

Last night I had a series of strange dreams. Most of them felt like a bunch of brief moments all strung together – I was at my friend Megan’s house, I was at the library with my niece, I was with some strange man that apparently I either liked or was dating. But then I had another dream that was separate from those others. In it my aunt was alive and she was riding her bicycle on the sidewalk in some suburban neighborhood I had never seen before. She had on a long blond wig, so I almost didn’t recognize her, but she saw me and she stopped. I kept asking her what she was doing (because in my mind she had already died). “I’m really starting to feel better”, she said. Her body looked different – like how she looked before she ever got sick. She wasn’t sickly skinny any longer and her face was full again. She reached out to hug me and I treated her so gently – I didn’t want to squeeze her too hard. She got back on her bike and started to leave. “Wait! Wait…come back!”, I shouted. It was too late.

I woke up this morning feeling sad and empty. I cried a little before I got out of bed and I am crying now. I miss her. I wish I could hug her again.

This is not the first dream I’ve had of my aunt since she died. In those dreams I have told her how sorry I am that she got sick and I tell her I love her. I think I must finally be processing this loss.

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