How I Stopped Hating Christmas Revisited – Shitmas May Yet Come

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.

So is this “I can merge my energy with that of an animal and communicate with it“?

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?”

A Possible Case of Re-in-cat-nation?

In the summer of 2010 I had the following dream. It felt significant but I didn’t know what it meant. At the time we were in the process of selling my parents’ house to the son of the neighbors across the road (Keith). My brothers and I were standing in the front yard of my parents’ house. It felt like springtime, and the sky was a little overcast as if it might rain.

Did my peaved persian come back as a crabby tabby?“Do you think Keith will let us dig some plants out of the back yard?” I asked. “We’ve been so busy cleaning out the house I haven’t had time to do it. But I want to move some of Mom’s garden to my yard.”

“I doubt it,” my brother John said.

“I doubt he would want them, “I said. “He is probably going to mow back there and then the plants will be all gone.”

The dream changed and we were now in my brothers’ old bedroom. This room was right inside the house from where we were standing in the yard. The atmosphere felt heavy and depressing. John leaned against the closet door. “Boy, I don’t feel very good,” he said.
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You Need To Heal Your Relationship With Death

The evening of May 22, 2011 found me lying lathargically in the bathtub, mind wandering, nothing thinking about much of anything.  This is a mental state not far from meditation.  Perhaps it allowed me to connect with my mother even though I was awake, because a thought entered my head out of nowhere and snapped me to full attention: How long ago was it, exactly, that John told you Sherise was pregnant?

My neice, Sherise, married a year or so before.  I knew they were anxious to start a family.  John told me she was expecting … I searched through my memory banks … sometime in the fall?  He was very hush hush about it.  Only a few weeks along, so nothing is certain yet.  I counted the months on my fingers.  Holy crap, she should be due any day now!  I should email John and find out when the baby is due, I thought.

My Great Neice ElinBut I never got the chance because the next morning an email was already there announcing the birth of my new great-neice, Elin.  Somehow I just knew my mother was involved.  I wasn’t the only one who came to that conclusion.  My sister-in-law posted the same thought on her Facebook page that morning.

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A Bit About Reincarnation

I was asked about this recently so I decided to do a post about it. This was not a topic that resonated with me at first. It was frowned on in most church circles where I travelled in my younger days. However I had many family members who believed in it, one being my Tibetan Buddhist sister, who used to tease me about being buried twice in the same grave!

At this point I am back to believing in it again as it is the only explanation I’ve found for many of my own experiences and the experiences of many other people I’ve known. My mother believed that I was reincarnated from her sister, Emily, who died in 1938. This story came to me by way of my sister, who has it further documented in letters our mother sent to her in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Emily, was 12 years older than my mother. From what Mom told me she spent a lot of time with Emily while she was growing up. Emily got married in about 1937 and shortly thereafter became pregnant with her first child. Early on in the pregnancy she developed a complication called hyperemesis gravidarum. This condition is basically morning sickness on steroids – you are so sick you can’t eat anything for months on end. As this was 1938 there were not many options for treating this condition. The treatment now involves a lot of IV’s and drugs that can suppress the problem with varying degrees of efficiency and risk. But back then? They tried a lot of things but by the 7th month of the pregnancy Emily contracted pneumonia and died. There were ideas back then about a “good death”. When the doctors decided that Emily would most likely die they started bringing in this endless parade of family members and friends, including my mother who was eight years old at the time. Mom told me (while alive) that she was taken to visit Emily the night before she died. She said Emily was on a feeding tube and couldn’t talk, and looked absolutely terrified. When they took my mother away Emily looked at her a certain way, and this image of the last time she saw her sister stayed with her vividly for the rest of her life.

They buried Emily in the family plot. That is burial #1.
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