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Autism: Vivid Dreams

19 Jan

It was the first of many such dreams, but one I will likely remember for the rest of my life. A lot of things happened in my life during that time, and in the life of my family. My brother got hit by a car. He spent a lot of that year in the hospital. My dog died. I was in the hospital for a week, with an illness the doctors were unable to diagnose – but turned out to be a reaction to Kraft Dinner, and my father’s best friend died.

Sam. I remember him now in bits and pieces. I can see him in parts of my life, but he is always beside me, or behind me, and I don’t see his face. I don’t remember his face. I was about 8 when he died suddenly of a heart attack, while going for a walk near his house.

My dad wasn’t going to tell us. Not right away, anyway. My brother was in the hospital, near death, and we had a lot to deal with. But I overheard the conversation.

I dreamed of Sam that night. There was a very large hole in the ground. In the dark hole was red light, like flowing lava. Many people were standing around the hole, shouting, screaming, excited, and frightened.

Sam saw me there, and somehow the rest of the noise was drowned out as he spoke to me. “Don’t end up like me,” he said, and then was shoved in to the fiery pit in the ground.

Every person I know who has died returns to me in my dreams within a few hours or days. If I knew them well, they visit with me – my cousins, my grandfather, grandmother, father… If I only knew them a little, or knew them in the past, I see them visiting with others, but do not talk with them myself.

I have always had vivid dreams. No other dreams of people who have died have been so frightening, however. Mostly they help. The end isn’t exactly the end, because I know they will return to me in my dreams.

My father hasn’t returned often. Most of my dreams of him end up as nightmares – but not warning ones, like the one with Sam. My cousin, Wendy, and our grandfather visit me often. A lot at first – and they died within months of each other – then not so much for years, but they are a part of my dreams quite frequently now.

Though they still live, my children continue to return to me in my dreams. Often they are young, but other times they have grown, and I find those visits comforting at times. At other times, I wake up in tears to realize they are no longer in my life.

Lately my medicine has increase my vivid dream activity. I see this listed as a concerning side effect. It really is the only benefit I have seen from the medicine.

Last night, I had visits with my cousins Wendy, and Rob. I visited with their father, Bob, who is living, though I haven’t seen him in years. I visited with my mother, niece, and nephews. We traveled through that city that I grew up in – where they all still live. At night, in my dreams, I fly on a plane, and visit my family. I can’t do that when awake, and I am grateful for those moments (even though they are not real.)

The night before, I took my youngest daughter swimming for a Disney Princess party. We had a great time, and though in my dream she was still 3 years old, still it was a visit with her, and I was thankful.

These days I live so much more in my dreams, that I almost don’t want to wake up in the mornings. There is so much more that I can do in my dreams, and so much freedom which overcomes the shackles I feel in the real world.

It may not be a healthy thing to live for, but at night, when I am ready to fall asleep, I am more excited than any other time of the day. For in those moments between sleeping and waking, I get to live again.

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