Do dreams have meanings?

I dreamt of my daughter twice more after that first time on 3rd January, and just the way nightmares can feel real and cause real terror, these dreams left me feeling peaceful.

In the dream on the 12th morning, I asked her, “We had burnt your body, then how are you in that same body?” She just smiled very serenely, and I hugged her. I hugged her a lot.

I asked her, “Were you in pain when you were in the ICU?”

She said, “Yes. I was almost fainting.”

She said this very simply, still smiling very sweetly. So, yes it was painful, but it was over and she was fine now. Strangely it didn’t hurt me to hear her say she was in pain, and maybe I would have never believed she was in no pain. But still, how could it comfort me to hear her say she was in pain?

Maybe what was comforting was that she was fine now.

Then a small animal appeared, with a snake in it’s mouth and the snake managed to wriggle and  escape. In this dream I was aware that  she was going to go back, and realised she could ‘go back’ (or die) with a snake bite too. I didn’t want to be taken by surprise, so we went to  my room and locked the door from inside. We sat on a mudha and I held her on my lap like a small baby, hugging her tight. I was fine with her going back, so long as I would know when she left.

The other dream was on 13th Feb, it was longer, I asked more questions, she smiled very sweetly, gave more hugs and some of it is hazy now, but it resulted in me waking up with a smile and finding the camera and taking blurry pictures of an unexpected Kingfisher from our balcony.

In all the three dreams, I was aware that she was dead and was only visiting. In each I was prepared for her to leave again.

Was this my subconscious mind putting ideas in my head? Were these Lucid Dreams’? Did I ‘will’ these dreams?

Here’s what I feel: When the pain is so wrong and so senseless, there’s no harm in it being dealt with something that seems equally illogical.

And anyway I have no choice or control in either the dreams or the pain, then why not just be grateful for the comfort these dreams bring?

Another mother blogged about how dreaming of her daughter, five years after she died, helped her, here.

On 19th Jan 2011.

I do believe in the entire universe conspiring to help you when you really want something (but not always. I hated these lines this August)… I find positive words and gestures very powerful and very comforting. Thank you for visiting the temple and for praying or thinking of a girl and a family you have never met or known. I have to believe that that is what changed how I felt as the day brought in emails, calls, comments, messages, a surprise book, precious posts wishing a girl known only online, and photographs I will cherish forever. Thank you doesn’t even begin to convey how I feel.

I have always believed in some supreme, kindly power watching over the world. I have never understood how this power allows a mother monkey to cling to the body of her dead baby or the human heart to feel so much pain for something it can’t change. It should have been natural to remember a child with a smile. I read a sad blog by a father who lost his son, Sanstav Paul in Dec 2008, he wishes, like I did, for some comfort, “Beta, if you think that we loved you so much then please come at least once (in my dream) to tell me that you are all right.”

I told my son, as we sat talking till late at night, that there should have been a rule that if the children die before the parents, they should appear in their dreams and say loving goodbyes to the parents. Son said, “They should appear in the siblings’ dreams also.

My mother didn’t call. She was the first person to hold Tejaswee 20 years ago. She never missed her birthday ever. My sister called her to find out how I was before calling me (when the melodrama-queen had spoken to me just the night before!) and they cried together. My mother told her she sees my grieving face all the time, everywhere. I asked her if that wasn’t too much. I could never be what I was, but I was fine. Grateful to be more ‘fine’ than I would ever have imagined.

My sister had once said she hated god when she heard my changed ‘hello’ over the phone. I had thought that was exaggeration too. I asked her if she still felt my voice sounded like a mother’s whose child had died. She burst into loud crying. Tejaswee was a lot like my sister. One morning we were rushing to drop her to school, as we got into the building lift, she looked at my face carefully and asked if I would like her to tell me where all I was getting wrinkled on my face. As we got out of the lift, a neighbour asked what I was laughing about and Tejaswee tried to shut my mouth, “Don’t tell!!” But I ‘told of course, and we teased her for her Sagittarius (ascendant) tactlessness.  So I told my sister what she said didn’t hurt because I could ask her to stop when it hurt and I knew she would.

My sister in law and niece chose to contribute to Tejaswee Rao Scholarship on her birthday. If you too would like to contribute please do  email me. Unfortunately it can’t be done online yet, but the cheque directly in the name of her college with ‘Tejaswee Rao Scholarship’ written behind the cheque would go into the fund/deposit the college has created for the scholarship.

And here’s how her cousin and his fiancee celebrated her life on her 20th birthday.

Dear Tejaswee,

It’s your birthday today and I wish you could be here to celebrate with us. Even though we can’t be together on this day, Sanda and I have decided to celebrate anyway, so we are going to have some yummy chocolate cake this evening and will also give some to the many stray dogs that live under our building (will post some pictures here!!). I am sure you would have enjoyed this and we wanted to let you know that you will be in our thoughts today and we hope we will be in yours.

Sending all our love and two big hugs,
Gaurav
Sanda”

Dreams by Tj91

In the ‘A Letter to The Future Contest’, I had loved the letter by the winner, Shivika Saxena.

“Dear Mom, Dad, Sis, Special Someone

… I don’t even know whether you’ll get a chance to read this letter but I am still writing it because … if some day suddenly I am taken away from all the people I love,  …without being able to say something to everyone I care about …will make my heart die again. I was never good at goodbyes but I cannot make my final goodbye so dry that even my memories begin to wither. ….

… Now with this letter written I can go with a free heart and mind leaving all the adversities and feeling liberated from all the pain…”

(Click to read the entire letter)

This letter made me long for a similar letter from my daughter. I wondered what she would have written in her letter… I could easily imagine, of course, but that was no comfort.

Yesterday afternoon when I visited Tejaswee’s account on Deviant Art, I finally found something I had not seen before. This was published on Feb 10 2008, almost three years ago…

Dreams

by ~Tj91

DREAMS

What do you do when the days go bad,
When all that was good, seems suddenly, sad,
When the last vestige of joy seems gone,

Think of things gone by, gone good
Not of how things could be, how they should,
Would, may have turned out
Don’t fill your mind with so much doubt!
Oh! If I could put your mind at rest
But still, I’ll do my very best…

When things are bad
Oh, so sad,
Sit yourself down, and try to think
The tears that drop, do not blink
Back, let them fall,
And to yourself honestly tell all.
Allow not your biases to decide true or false,
And you’ll come to the bottom of what mauls
Your heart,
And then let it part
Fall into the soft arms of dreams
And sleep, my heart, sleep…!

I was glad to find something by her that I had not read before. She would have been twenty today. I am just grateful she came into our lives and although she had to leave a little earlier than we would have liked, I hope to continue to remember her with a smile, today and always.

Of Calvin, a dream, an old song, and a birthday…

Smartassbride shared this comic strip in a comment today. Thanks smartassbride, this strip reminded me of Tejaswee and me too

“We dream so we don’t have to be apart so long. If we are in each other’s dreams, we can be together…”

***

19th Jan is Tejaswee’s birthday, she would have been 20. I keep thinking of how we would have felt if we knew on her 19th birthday what the year had in store for us. I used to sing this old song to my kids, we sang it together a lot, mainly the first few lines and the chorus and then making up whatever seemed apt.

I have no idea how I am going to feel this Wednesday. This picture was taken on 19th Jan 2008, in Pune.

Tejaswee with the cat she brought home from a garbage dump in 2004, Sher Khan.

Sometimes ‘not remembering’ is less painful than remembering but I would rather remember and cry, than try to ‘not remember’ and smile.  But I hope to remember and still smile. And smiling is  made easier by messages like this one from Pallavi,

“I hope you will celebrate the day Tj was born, celebrate the happiness that your daughter gave you, and the incredibly close bond that you shared. she will not want you to cry. she will want you to celebrate ‘her’.”

I am sure we will do that, even if we do cry.