With all of the reading I’ve been doing lately about dreams, synchronicity, and shared dreaming I thought I would write the story of Grandma Mason’s passing. This happened in 1984 when I was fourteen years old. I was in about … eighth grade. It is hard to remember exactly what grade I was in but I definitely remember what book we were reading in English class: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Unlike everyone else in the class I loved reading this stuff. The teacher would assign chapter one and I would get so wrapped up in the book I’d read the entire thing the first night. Then I’d have to go back and read it again with the class so I could remember which chapters where which!
At this time my dad’s mother – Grandma Mason – had just been admitted to a personal care home. She was 89 years old and had been having problems living alone for the past year. The place was not nearby and I’d only been there once or twice. The visit just after New Year’s I remember vividly. I went with my brothers, Bob and John, in John’s truck. A few days before he’d gotten sick while he was out somewhere and barfed on the side of his truck. It was January in Pittsburgh so the barf froze before he could clean it all off and as a result, the inside of the truck absolutely reeked. This is the kind of stuff that is hard to forget even if you try really hard. But it makes a great peg to hang other, more memorable, memories upon.
This post goes hand in hand with my last post, How I Learned to Stop Hating Christmas. I had this dream a year or so before the one where I went back to 1976. I had it at the beginning of The Dreading Time – the couple of years between the decline of my parents’ health and my mother’s death.
I was really suffering over the dead family thing and really dreading losing my parents. I didn’t think there was any way I could face life in a post-parent world. I didn’t think there was anything in my future but becoming a Crazy Cat Lady.
I had a lucid dream where I found myself in a mansion. I’d been to this place before but not for many years. The rooms go on one after another in all directions to infinity. In each of the rooms there are people engaged in a different activity. I was wandering around in this place observing. If the inhabitants noticed me or realized that I was not dead like they were, they didn’t give any indication of it.
After wandering around for a while I found a room where they were playing cards. “Hot damn! The Aunts will be here!” I thought. The room was pretty crowded and I am elbowing my way around looking for my aunts. Then I saw a man sitting at a table like he was waiting for someone. Like maybe me? As soon as I made eye contact with him I knew he was a family member, even though I didn’t recognize him as anyone I knew. I went over and sat down across from him.
I have this silly little head game I play. If it ever comes up in conversation, I say that I never met my grandfather when he was alive. Most of the time this comment goes right over the head, but now and then someone gets my meaning and gives me either a strange or a knowing look. I will also clarify – this is not the musical grandfather – that was my mother’s father.
This happened in about 1996 so this is the first trip I’m posting in the Way Back Machine. But since Grandpa Mason was the second person to show up in my first reading, I am going to take a brief detour and post about my past history with him.
At the time this happened, my sister and I were getting back into the family genealogy project. Our family has been researching itself for at least four generations; Linda and I picked up where my mother left off. The odd thing is we weren’t even researching my dad’s side of the family when this happened.
My sister was living in California in those days. She was flying in that evening for a visit. I’d left work early so I could pick her up at the airport. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon and I had a half hour or so before I had to leave, so I decided to lie down and take a short nap with my dog. The dog we had at the time was Crystal – a nervous, yappy American Eskimo Dog.
I fell asleep, then opened my eyes and found myself lying on one of those sofas with the bumpy irregular upholstery that everybody seemed to have in the 1960’s and 70’s. I sat up and there – right in front of me – were my deceased grandparents. They were sitting in front of a window across the room from the sofa. Really bright white light was streaming in through the window behind them. Grandma was sitting in a chair and Grandpa was sitting on the ottoman that matched the chair, slightly in front of her. My mother was sitting in another chair off to the right (she was alive then, but was still in this dream for whatever reason). They (the grandparents) just radiated this intense feeling of warmth, love, peace, happiness …. Continue reading