Exhumed

It’s 3:45AM and I woke up from a dream that has me scared like a little child to go back to sleep. Used to be that if I was frightened by a nightmare… well into adulthood, I would run to my mother’s bedside, she would wrap me in her arms, place several thumb drawn crosses on my forehead as she whispered a little prayer for me to calm my nerves and make me know that God was watching over me and nothing in the dream could harm me.

What a horrible paradigm shift that it’s a dream of her that has me not wanting to go back to sleep.

In the dream, for a reason I can’t fully understand, we are funeralizing her… AGAIN. She died once, but she has died again in this dream. And we’ve rented a log cabin somewhere where everyone is coming to pay their respects. And I mean everyone. At least 3 times the occupants of her first funeral. But everything has been haphazardly thrown together and there is no elder family close to speak of – none of her brothers and sister… not my god mother… just me and Dominic. The whole time up to the actual funeralizing, I’ve been greeting and organizing the guests to the best of my ability and then my brother comes to me and says, “Whatever you do, DON’T look in the casket…. she looks TERRIBLE.” At this point we were positioned where looking at the casket was a view down towards the top of her head. And as I did exactly the opposite of what my brother advised, I saw from that angle the bottom rim of her nostril, looking reddish, like there was blood there. And that’s when I realized what was happening in the dream. Because I was so busy organizing and getting everyone else comfortable it hadn’t dawned on me that she had been exhumed from her burial for this “event”. Wearing the same pink dress but there was less of her now. The 8 months of decay had left less of her. And she was a frightful shadow of what we remembered. As I stared from that angle, my brother was trying to explain to me what happened… why she looked so bad. I asked where the funeral directors were and he said that the only person we could talk to was the log cabin director. He started saying “We understood one version of her wishes and they had their own interpretation,” when my mother began to move in the casket. Not just shift around a little… full on reaching up and stretching from side to side as if she was trying to get up and out of the casket. And instead of us rejoicing that she was alive again, we freaked out and tried to find the first opportunity to close the casket so that to us on the outside, she would be dead again. I told Dominic to work on shutting the casket and I was going to track down the log cabin director. I ran up the hill to his residence and explained to him what happened… but he seemed less than concerned. So I ran back to the main cabin where we all were. All the while worrying about how we’ll catalog everyone who came so that we’ll be able to send thank you cards. When I got back to the cabin, Dominic met me at the door and said the casket won’t close…. “it’s stuck” he said. So I went over to it and said, “Did you use the crank?” and started to crank down the top part of the casket… that I realized, as I was cranking was NOT the very super expensive box we put her in, but a shell of a piece of shoddy wood that they must have replaced her in when we weren’t looking. I got the top piece down but for some reason her head was still exposed… as if all we had to do was shift her down into the casket and the problem would be solved… but the problem was… neither one of us could do it.

She was breathing now… consistently… but we were still trying to figure out how to get her back in the casket. We got some help from some of the other patrons to prop the casket up so that she was essentially “standing” hoping gravity would slide her down into the casket. But she wasn’t sliding down. As a matter of fact, now she was blinking and breathing and looking around. And her eyes locked on me and she began to speak. But this isn’t the mother I remember. This person was bewildering and frightening and very witch / ghost like. “I like it here” she began as she looked around. “I LIKE IT HERE….” and pushed her self up out of the casket and started to walk towards me. “I have my 4 children here… everyone is here for me… I LIKE IT, ” as a wicked grin took over her face and she backed me into what looked like a bathroom. My focus left her because a dove had apparantly made it into the cabin and was coming towards the bathroom and I was trying to shoo it away.. wave away with something… even bat at it… but it was relentless and once it made it into the bathroom, i looked down at my mother who was cackling now, full on like a witch.

And I woke up.

I’m so harrowed and haunted by this dream that no matter what comfort my husband gives me, I can’t go back to sleep. All I can do is keep coming to this end result that she’s really gone. There is truly nothing else I can do for her to help her stay alive or to make her passing less difficult. And no matter what I do, the memory of her returns to me in my dreams and is the most disturbing, unmother-like aberration of who she was to me. Why can’t I have peaceful dreams of her talking to and smiling at me like I did with Grandma? Why does her image come to me less and when it does, it’s a horrid painful image. I love my mother. I miss her TERRIBLY. Why is her memory haunting me?

And who is going to pray over me so that I’ll fall back asleep tonight?

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