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ShanEnri's avatar

Am I trying to keep her alive and well? (See details, of course)

Asked by ShanEnri (4409points) November 20th, 2009

My mother passed away in 1998 from heart and lung cancer. My mom and I were pretty close. When she died I cried, but very little. I’m always dreaming about her and in these dreams she is ‘always’ alive. Now mind you, everything I’m about to tell you is from dreams! She’s living in Louisiana still and that’s why we never see her. She is in remission, but not in the best of health so she can’t travel, my step-father and she divorced, that’s why he’s in Florida. In these dreams we are always getting cards and little gifts from her. My husband says (in reality) that I’m trying to keep her alive and using the dream excuses to comfort me. Does this make sense to anyone? Is this why I still don’t cry when I visit her grave site? I hope it doesn’t sound too childish, but…your opinions mean a lot to me right now, because you are unbiased! Thank you!

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16 Answers

RedPowerLady's avatar

Grief is a very interesting monster. It affects everyone in different ways. And they are all (well most all) acceptable. However you grieve your mother is okay. i hope you don’t mind that aside

In terms of this question can I ask you something? Well two similar things?
1. How do the dreams make you feel when you wake up?
2. Are you at peace with your mother’s passing? (whatever that means to you).

Fred931's avatar

You’re not trying to keep her alive, but rather, your brain is going a little psychological (in a mild, non-threatening way) over the event. The human brain can be a real b!tch sometimes.

filmfann's avatar

Your husband sounds like a very wise man. And you have some very nice coping mechinisms.
I miss my parents as well, and dream of them and their house often. It’s always a nice visit.

ShanEnri's avatar

@RedPowerLady I don’t mind the aside! To answer your questions, the dream sare what makes me feel at peace! I have always assumed I was at peace, but the dreams make me wonder if I just didn’t accept it maybe.

ShanEnri's avatar

@filmfann He is wise and knows me well! Thank you!

kheredia's avatar

I don’t think it’s childish that you dream about your mother being alive. Infact, I think it’s wonderful that you can have that vivid picture of her even after a few years of her passing. I know a lot of people who wish they could remember their mother or father as you do. If these dreams make you feel that she is closer to you then I don’t see what the harm is. I think as long as you accept that she is no longer with you physically, these dreams are not affecting you in a bad way at all.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@ShanEnri It does feel as if you are going through a grief process right now. For many people it happens later on instead of right after the passing. If the dreams make you feel at peace then there is nothing wrong with them at all. It is your mind’s way of grieving. Also if you believe in the afterlife then you may believe that it is your mother’s way of telling you she is okay. The fact that she is ill in your dreams and not completely well or able to see you resembles, to me, where you are in your grief. Somewhere in the middle.

RedPowerLady's avatar

To answer the question, in addition to what I said above, I would say the dreams are not an excuse but a healthy part of your healing process.

As to why you don’t cry when you visit her grave, that may come in time, everyone grieves differently. The fact that you are questioning it though tells me you may be holding some emotion back.

ShanEnri's avatar

@kheredia & @Fred931 thank you!
@RedPowerLady I have never considered the afterlife theory and I do believe in it! Thank you! That is itself comforting to think of!

SuperMouse's avatar

My mother died over thirty years ago and at least once every couple of months she is still alive and well in my dreams. Sometimes she shows up after having been hiding for a long time, sometimes she is around like she has never left, but I always find comfort in these dreams. I agree with those who say it is a healthy part of the grieving process.

ninjacolin's avatar

RedPowerLady’s awesome.

I guess the only thing I can imagine being an issue is how much your mother’s story affects your waking life. Crying isn’t a mandatory response to anything, don’t worry about that. But it isn’t advisable to ever act (in real life) upon the advice received in a dream. Your dreams, as you’ll notice, are just memories creatively re-conjured and presented to you.

I guess i feel it’s important that you hear that: It’s just dreams. Enjoy them! But let that be all.

Judi's avatar

I have suffered several losses and I always dream that it was really a mistake and that they are going to walk in the door any minute. It got even worse when I started to move on.
After my first husband died and I began falling in love with my current husband I would wake up in a panic, because he had come home in my dream and I had to choose who I wanted to be with. It was awful, and comforting all at the same time. I think it is just your minds way of dealing with things.
I am so sorry for your loss. Loosing my mom is one of my greatest fears. She is 85 and lives 800 miles away. Even though she is healthy, I always wonder if each time I see her will be my last. I can only imagine how devastating your loss is. :-(

ShanEnri's avatar

@SuperMouse Thank you for that! It’s always nice to hear it from someone else.
@ninjacolin @RedPowerLady is awesome! I’m glad you put it the way you did! There have been a few times when it seemed like I would wake up and run go call her and tell her about my weird dream!
@Judi You touch my heart and I too am sorry for your loss as well! I can’t imagine losing my husband, it is something my mind shies away from! Though from the experience with my mother’s passing, I can almost believe that, he too, would visit me in my dreaming world!

Lovethesun's avatar

Wow, that is a moving question. My mother is just diagnosed with untreatable cancer. I am also not crying, while the whole family cries. I feel a bit guilty about that.

To answer your question: I heard that dreaming about something or someone means that you are giving it a place. Your memories, emotions etc. It is not so much about what you dream. A bit like free association.

And everybody deals with grief in their own way and on their own time. What you do and have is absolutely normal. Maybe it is to “big” for you to comprehend it all at once, that’s why you deal with it unconscious and in bits an pieces.

Good luck

filmfann's avatar

@Lovethesun Welcome to fluther. Lurve.

ShanEnri's avatar

@Lovethesun I am truly sorry to hear about your mother! Your answer has made me stop to think that maybe I am trying to preserve her memory instead of trying to keep her alive! Thank you for that answer…oh and welcome to Fluther!

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