Meeting Death

It’s weird to think that I met Death

Not for myself, always in passing.

He is quiet and humble

And collects final breaths

Of people who he’s ready for

It doesn’t matter if they’re ready

For him.

When it’s my turn to die

I look forward to the encounter

Not the end of my life

But the reunion with the last being

Besides me

To hold my mother’s hand

 

 

A Terrifying Encounter with Sleep Paralysis

I have dabbled in the world of lucid dreaming, and generally speaking, remember the vast majority of my dreams, coherent or otherwise. I write down the ones that have meaning to me, or have symbols or omens in them that interest me, and the others just fizzle off. This evening, however, a dream was burned into my head, and it has jacked up my entire night (maybe even my tomorrow), and I want to log it in order to confront this horrible nightmare I had.

It started out incoherent and sporadic like most dreams. I was walking down a dark street, not an ominous-feeling street, just a street nonetheless. There was a projector screen at the end of the road, running through a slide show of photos of my friends and I – photos that were never taken in the conscious world, but they seemed pleasant and when questioned, my friend Amanda said, “I just want the world to know how great of friends we are.”

Well that was sweet.

“I had to give the puppies back. He won’t take care of them. I know he won’t. He’s going to do a terrible job, but I had to give them back.”

“What about he baby goat?”

“That too.”

Damn, I thought. I came over to see three puppies and a baby goat and none of them were there. I hung out with Amanda and our new friend she lived with. She was a pretty girl, tall, and for some reason I just knew she played basketball. There was a euphoric-feeling throughout the encounter of us friends, and I quickly forgot about the puppies.

The dream shifted to Amanda’s roommate and myself going to play basketball at a local park, but we forgot the basketball, so we just threw around a shoe. I remember the hoop being ludicrously high, even for me, and I missed every shot. However, the sun was out and we were all having fun.

In the conscious world, my dog got up off the floor and I heard his collar jingle as he put his paws up on my bed. I began to shift from my dream to waking up, when my happy, nonsensical time immediately turned into the most hellish experience I can recall to date. A force much stronger than me held me down at my wrists and ankles, as if there were two. I could only hear one voice. It sounded like I was in a wind tunnel, the lights a flashing blue. My blankets covered my face as I could only turn my head to try and assess my danger. I could hear my dog on the outside, much more frantic. I tried to pull my hands up, but the grip became tighter. The voice became coherent as I opened my eyes and saw the imprint of this thing in the blankets staring down at me screaming in a low, growling tone.

WHY HAVE YOU DONE SO MUCH DAMAGE

WHY HAVE YOU DONE SO MUCH DAMAGE

WHY HAVE YOU DONE SO MUCH DAMAGE

I tried to scream back at it, but my voice was cracked and I was unable to convey. The background noise became louder and louder like a train was running through my room. I was trying to scream and kick and writhe my wrists around until suddenly I wrenched my shoulder and the pain threw me over to my side where I woke up screaming.

“Mom protect me! Mom protect me!”

I was heaving and sweating and I couldn’t figure out where I was until the cold air from my open window hit me. I looked over and saw my dog in an absolute panic on the floor, staring up at me in the dark.

She is on my Mind Late Tonight

No matter how many times I tell myself that I am strong, I will always allow myself to be weakened for missing my mother. Four and a half years have gone by, my life has shifted so drastically, and she missed all of it. It bothers me to think that this September will be five years without her. And five years is a quarter of the life I lived with her in it. Five years of a roller coaster of a life, where I feel I have lived more than most people do in an entire lifetime. Some days I think to myself how tired I am – how broken I’ve been, and I just want to curl up into a ball and hide or get in my car with my dog and never look in my rear view mirrors. I just want to drive at night and not stop until I find the sunrise. I look at all the moves I’ve been through, the incredible amount of family drama, the stress with the law, police, jobs, graduating college, trying to find myself when I lost such a huge part of me. I realize now, in five short years, how little I understood of life and death and meaning, even after I watched her take her last breath.

I was raised by an addict. I am not one. Addict did not define her. She was my best friend, my confidant, my war buddy, my manicurist, my mother.

I will never be ashamed to say my mother was an addict, because it is not something to judge a person by. I slowly began to recognize her less and less as who she was as her disease progressed. It crushed me – but I never judged her. It consumed her. It ruled her life. It ripped into our beds and stole our bonds.

I will never ever try to put myself in her shoes. I will never say, “I understand,” or, “I know she was sad.” Sadness doesn’t begin to define it. I – I was sad. I was sad when she died. I was sad when I graduated college without her nine months later. She was strong. She was strong and she was scared. She tried so hard. She was so beautifully broken and put back together and broken again by her fears of judgment from others should she admit that she was in a space where she needed help.

For that, I do not judge. For that I do not try to assume I know what someone is going through. For that, I would rather understand a person’s silence then blame them for being so. I saw her silence. I saw her fear and I did not judge her. I loved my mother. I love my mother.