This seems to be a very popular topic if blog statistics are to be believed – there are a lot of people out the googling “how to stop hating christmas”! I have written about this subject before and it is an ongoing struggle for me. It is a struggle for my brother and sister as well, and we sometimes jokingly refer to it as “Shitmas”. Hence the title of this post (and some of the dream content). I do not mean to offend anyone with this term – it has nothing to do with religion, only to do with the family and social expectations around this holiday in our culture, and the plain fact that if you live long enough, you will indeed experience Shitmas first hand.
I have also written about the belief – shared among several in my family – that my niece’s daughter is a reincarnation of my mother. This story ties them both together rather nicely.
I had this dream in early October of 2012, almost exactly two years ago. Both of my parents were on the other side by this time, and the whole business about my great niece being reincarnated from my mother had happened too. In this dream I arrived at a house (that I did not recognize from waking life) all decorated for Christmas. I go inside and help prepare the meal with several other people. There is a radio on playing a story about a nun who insisted on feeding hungry children. Every day the priest told her there was not enough, but still gave her one fish. She managed to feed them indefinitely on that one fish per day (referencing the story of Loves and Fishes from the Bible).
When the meal is done we sit down around a table – something seems familiar about it, but I can’t place it. I look at the food, the decorations, and realize how much fun we are having. I am so thankful that this year, here we are, around the table having such a great time. I notice a piece of paper with scribble on it – I decide to use this as a prop for a little speech of gratitude. I will make a joke that these are my notes.
Then I notice I am sitting next to my mother. Wham – now I am fully lucid! Oh shit, this is a dream! I remember that in WPR (waking physical reality) it isn’t even HALLOWEEN yet! But I don’t want to ruin it or wake up so I keep my mouth shut about what I’ve just realized. Getting back into the flow of the dream, I stand up to give my speech. I explain how after my parents crossed over, Christmas sucked for us and so we started calling it Shitmas. I tell them how I honestly though I would never enjoy another one again, but here I find myself with this fine group of people having such a wonderful time, and I am deeply grateful. But – I turn to look at my mother – we are in a dream, and it isn’t even Halloween yet, so Shitmas might yet come!
Then I burst into tears. My mother says something like “No don’t – it’s OK” and reaches over and puts her hand on my shoulder. I cry for a few seconds and then wake up, having violated the lucid dreaming rule about not getting emotional. But when I wake up I am not left with the feeling of grief, I am left with the feeling of gratitude from the dream. I decide to write it down. Before I can move, my orange cat reaches out from his sleeping spot on my pillow and puts his paw on my shoulder EXACTLY the same way my mother just did in the dream.
Meanwhile back in WPR, my brother and his wife had put a bid in on a house not far from us. They closed on the house around the same time this dream happened. I had not seen the house at any point during this process. After the closing they let us know that my niece was coming up for Christmas that year and bringing her husband and daughter. We could see them and the new house at the same time!
So now I am looking forward to this! I wonder, what should I get her for Christmas? Well, my mother always loved art, and my brother Bob felt that she had come back in this lifetime to pursue art. So I bought her a toddler age appropriate art set. Can’t go wrong with that, right?
The day dawns. We drive the 1/2 mile or so to my bother’s new house. The house has a large window in the living room facing the road, and as we pull in the driveway, my great niece is standing on the couch looking out this window, as if she was watching for us. She made eye contact with me as the car pulled in the driveway.
Once in the house she opened her presents. Most young children that age are afraid of people they don’t know – she had no fear of us whatsoever. But it wasn’t until we sat down to Christmas dinner that is all snapped into place. This was the house from the dream! And here I am just like in the dream, only instead of being there with my mother, I am there with Elin. Hummm ….
My husband Bill is usually the killjoy when it comes to the end of things. He is the one who is aware that people want to clean up and go to bed, that we all have to get up the next day, and things like that. I am having a great time so I am not thinking about any of that. He keeps tapping me on the shoulder – we really should go. Finally I realize he is right and give in. But then, as we are standing there in our coats making our goodbyes, Elin latches onto Bill’s legs and won’t let go. If anyone tried to pry her off, she started to cry. Awkward! Nobody is sure what to do or what’s going on. Finally my niece pries her off and stands there holding her while she screams, apologizing. And we leave. Did Elin know that Bill was the one pushing for us to go home? Did she not want it to end either?
The whole thing was enough to convince Bill. It creeped him out, he said. But not long after the spring thaw he asked, all chipper, “So, are they coming up and bringing your Mom for Easter?”