Sunday, October 21, 2012

Of Dreams and Friends

... I woke this morning from a dream about my late best friend, Alison. I was crying. Oh, thank God, it was only a dream.

I have a history of these dreams. I waited for two years to dream about my mother. She died when I was twenty. I looked forward to seeing her in my dreams. When I finally did, I dreamed I found her, alive and well. It had all been a misunderstanding. 

"You're alive," I cried! Thinking her to be dead had been a strange and terrible mistake, and she was not only alive, but glowing with health. "You're alive, alive, alive!!!"

"Yes." She dismissed my elation with a roll of her dream eyes, something she would never have done in real life. "I have a doctor's appointment. Can you drive me? I can't find my keys."

The dream was in dull black, white, grey. I drove my mother to the doctor's office, where we were told that she had cancer for real now, and was dying. 

Sucker punch.

I had that dream over and over again, and each time I woke sobbing and exhausted.

So, I should not be surprised that when I dreamed of Alison this morning, she was in a coma, and I was solely responsible for her care. I also had to walk the dogs - all of them, past and present, all at once - on a steep ledge in a slippery wet snowstorm. I came in from the walk and rolled my best friend Alison over, so she wouldn't develop bedsores, but my hands were so cold. I felt horrible because I wanted to put fresh linens on her bed, and a cute pair of flannel pajamas on her, but there was no time. I was late.

In real life, the real Alison and I loved to talk about our dreams and what they meant. She was the first I told about the dream about my mother. We spent hours together. Each of us in not great relationships. We rode our horses together. We spent hours driving to horse stuff. Alison was generous enough to take me and my horse in her truck and trailer. We talked and laughed and listen and understood and valued each other. We talked religion and spirituality. We talked personal growth and politics. We talked food and oh we talked about those relationships we were in, each of us wishing better for the other, and we talked horses, horses, horses. We talked family. We talked, and talked, and talked. We encouraged, supported, and believed in each other.

She went back to school - Johns Hopkins, no less - to get her Master's, and then her Doctorate. I went to nursing school and got remarried. We moved and lost touch. We reconnected because Alison found this blog, and we became friends on Facebook. Those missing years evaporated, poof, and unlike my dream of my mother, Alison had survived an unsurvivable cancer, and we were right where we had been. She was enamored of the whippet puppies, and was seriously considering one from my next litter.

And then my friend Alison, in real life, died. At the height of her career. Married to the love of her life, thank God, a wonderful man whom she adored. Inexplicably, she was gone; sudden cardiac death. 

Why did I dream of her last night? 

Because beautiful Ali the whippet had come to visit? Alison the person had thought Ali the puppy (then cleverly called Brindle Girl) was beautiful. Ali the whippet is so well-named, that when I am around her, it is as though there is a tangible part of Alison present. And part of her spirit. I can't put words to it, without sounding like a candidate for an intervention in a long term care facility. But it's real and powerful.

 Because I miss my friend Alison's professional voice in this maelstrom of political blah blah blah about economics? She would have made it all clear; that was her field and she was quickly rising to the top of it. She was brilliant. (Anyone who could make me understand economics had to be.) Paul Krugman quoted her.

Because I am at a Strange Place in my life? Oh how I wish she could read this and email me her thoughts. 

She would make me laugh about it, I know. I mean, acrophobic me walking my dogs up a steep, narrow, slippery, icy, frigid ledge in a blinding storm, while my comatose friend needed to be turned? Gee, what could it mean? We would laugh until the water we were drinking would come out our noses. (Okay, that would be me. Alison had more class. But we would have laughed until our bellies hurt.)

I miss her. 

And now I'll go and walk my dogs on this beautiful sunny day.

hug your hounds and treasure your friends


  1. you are so lucky to have had such a friend.

    i have those dreams too - my mom died 3 days before my 21st birthday. she visits me in my dreams. pets gone too soon. they don't visit often enough. dad is 92 and not well. i'm making arrangements to board the dogs in case i have to rush to his side in a hurry. my best friends. i hate this. i wish i had a friend like Allison in real life.

    walking all of the dogs on that scary ledge in a snowstorm is scary. it would be great to be walking all dogs-past and present. that's a lot of dogs. how great to be all together. but what a scary situation. and your friend needs you at the same time. i don't know what the meaning of that is. how did you feel?

    you have a good life, at least that's the way it looks to me.

    peg & the Bs and Walter

  2. Its hard to lose your mother at such a young age. Mine died when I was 27, a month after my first daughter Allison was born. Its hard to lose your best friend. All of a sudden you world seems to have a great big hole in it. I have never dreamed of either of them.

  3. I dream of my late sister often, and sometimes of my dad who died when I was in my twenties. It is comforting to see their faces and hear their voices again - they are always well in my dreams. Thankfully those dreams do not involve walking multiple dogs up a steep, narrow, slippery, icy, frigid ledge in a blinding storm!
    I hope your walk today was beautiful and your dreams tonight are pleasant.

  4. Very special when loved ones come visiting, and maybe just to show us where we've grown and that they're watching with big smiles and telling us that love never leaves.

    I dream about my Cherokee Grandma. She was quiet and peaceful.

    Life would be very empty for me without dogs or some kind of animal ... my goodness but they bring a house ALIVE with joy and a moment in time to just "be" happy. Love my Baby Stella, part run-like-the-wind whippet and part chocolate silly Lab. Brings me back to the moment. Brings me back to stop "thinking" too much. She's my giggle girl ... laughing! :D

    Blessings on your day and all the people you touch,
    Barbara (Peaceful) and Stinker Stella

  5. Oh Patience!! I have "saved" your blog spot on my favorites for a "just in case" moment when you were to blog! It is so good to SEE you again!!

    You have had sooooo much coming at you lately....the passing of your puppy, the concerns with your precious Bill! It is no wonder that you dreamed of Alison as she would be there to help sort things through (even yucky political mud...what a friend) AND she WAS there.

    I, too, am so aware of the ache of being "late," of coming back to find that my grandmother, my mother, my sister, my friend were gone. But each time an angel (nurse, husband, friend) said to me that they HAD been waiting on me, ironically, leave.

    Friends have a way of telling us something...that only THEY can tell us so that we understand! I hope Alison visits again and you laugh til water runs out your nose!!

    Hope Bill is doing well, too!!!!

  6. I miss Alison too. She was the love of my life, but I could bring her no happiness. I’m grateful that she found the love of her own life, that she did better for herself, and that she was with David for twelve years. If only those years had been kinder to her. If only there had been more of them.

    You are very like Alison in your manner and also in your manners, Patience. Just as you see a part of Alison in your Whippet, I see much of her in you. She was so fortunate to have had you as a friend.

  7. I often dream of my Dad. Oddly in my dreams he is still married to my Mom(she's still alive), though they divorced three years before he passed. They are beautiful dreams, we are on car vacations. Dad is singing, Mom is laughing. Or, I dream of visiting with him and telling him how much he is still missed and what has happened in the last 30 years. He then says he is very proud of me.


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