All I want is to feel safe. Lately, it feels like we’re all living on the edge of a knife. I was lying in my bed early this morning (like 4 a.m. early) wide awake and thinking. Snuggled under a blanket with my cat tucked in behind my knees, I thought, “This is really the only place where I feel completely safe.” Between people getting shot at the Oakdale Theatre last night, a drunk driver killing a 24-year-old Waterford resident the day after Christmas about five minutes from our house, and finding out yesterday that a good friend has stomach cancer (an 89-year-old friend, but still)…I just feel like the hits keep on coming. We had a beautiful Christmas and are so lucky in many ways, but let’s be honest—2016 has been a rough year overall.
I fell back asleep for a short time before Liam bounded into our room to wake me up, and I’m glad I did because I dreamt about my Uncle Billy for only the second time since he died seven years ago. And in this dream, he actually interacted with me, whereas in the first one, he was sitting at a table writing a note and I came up behind him and hugged him but he didn’t respond.
This morning, I had a dream that I was at my grandparents’ house in Waterbury (I haven’t been there since my grandma died in 1997). It was like I was going back in time and was looking through the window of their front door into their living room and kitchen. Grandma had these vintage Valentine’s Day decorations on the front window, and I took out my iPhone (clearly present day) to take a photo of just one for Instagram because I liked the feel they had to them. My uncle was behind me…and then the dream gets fuzzy for a bit, but the next thing I know, there’s talk of danger (I’m not sure what, either an open shooting situation or something similar) at a local school during a kids’ swimming lesson. I knew that one of our friend’s children was there and I needed to go.
Then it turned into me needing to go pick up my cousin’s girls, Samantha and Lily, because no one else could go. I’m not sure if they were in danger, but I felt panicked—I was only wearing a nightgown but knew I had to head out. I got into the SUV (my cousin’s), but some force, a negative force, had turned the car seats all around and messed with the steering wheel and locked the gate to the garage behind me so I couldn’t figure out how to escape. All of a sudden, I heard my uncle’s voice and he helped me unlock the gate and back out slowly. Before that, somewhere in the haze of my dream, he also gently helped me cut the tag off of my nightgown and he offered me ice cream.
Liam woke me up right as I was backing out of the garage in the dream, so I’m not sure what would have happened next, but all I can really say is that I feel oddly comforted by that dream. Since he died, I haven’t felt his presence even though I try and try to remember his voice and the conversations we had together. The fact that he came to me this morning after I was feeling completely insecure and sad makes me feel like his spirit is still somewhere, in a good place.
So I am feeling slightly better this morning, but I still really, really wish people would stop being so crazy and violent. It’s like you can’t even go a day without hearing horrible news, either somewhere in the world, somewhere close to home or in your own personal circle. I have been trying not to internalize so much, especially when it doesn’t *directly* affect me, but it’s hard. Being empathetic is ingrained in who I am and I don’t foresee that changing at 37. Will certainly be looking into effective coping mechanisms in 2017.