Saturday, May 14, 2011

Guilt Dreams

I am one of those people whose unconscious emotions are reflected in my dreams. I often have dreams where I come to school unprepared to take a test, or I cannot find my classroom, or I am trying to catch a plane but I am late or I am traveling but don't know where I am going. I have read that dreams such as these are not uncommon.

I also have "guilt dreams". Dreams that I have not been a good enough parent have plagued me for many years. Now that I have matured into later adulthood, I am having dreams that I am not a good enough daughter either.

Friends of mine have recently had to deal with aging parents. One had to put her dad into institutionalized care because his Alzheimer's disease was no longer something his wife could handle. Another good friend's dad has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and has come back to California to live with her. And yet another slightly older friend's husband dropped dead recently from a massive heart attack.

My dad is 85, lives by himself in a big old house, and as far as I know, is in relative good health. I have five siblings, four of whom live close enough to keep tabs on him. I have been fortunate to be able to live in California for over thirty years. The bay area has long been the place I think of as "home". When I lost my job two years ago, I went to stay with "family" back East (ie, I moved back in with my dad). While I loved spending time with my dad when I was there, I couldn't wait to get back to my beloved California and my friends.

Now, I am having second thoughts, partly because had a dream the other night. My long dead grandmother was lying in her bed, the covers pulled up to her chin. I stood right next to the bed looking at her face. Her grey hair was piled in a bun on her head, as it had been in life, but the skin on her face was a mottled dark purple. She open her eyes, wide, and stared at me. And with a deep raspy voice that sounded more like the wolf than grandma, she said "You're too late".

And so I wonder. Is it time for me to give up the luxury of living in California, to go back to Connecticut and spend more time with dear old dad? That is, before it really is too late.

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