... 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.
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