A Grandmother’s Dream

I guess I’ve been writing so much about baby Rachel lately it was bound to happen again. And it did. With little Rachel’s entry into the world being so close it’s natural to dream about her.

The last time I had such a dream, or should I say the first time, in that dream baby Rachel was probably about 3 months old, because she was a lot bigger than a newborn, and she was holding her head up and looking all around.

In this dream though, she was a newborn, wearing her newborn pink and blue striped hospital cap, and swaddled in her pink and blue striped hospital blanket. She was tiny…tinier than most newborns, it seemed, but then again, I haven’t held many newborns lately. Or should I say I haven’t held my newborn granddaughter yet…except in my dreams.

Like I did a few nights ago. She was so soft, and so adorable! She looked so much like her own mother when she was born almost 28 years ago! I held her in my arms and was instantly in love! She was so beautiful…so tiny…here was my own daughter’s daughter. And I was holding her, cuddling her, and just looking at her in amazement while she looked back at me with enormous blue eyes and smiled the biggest smile I’d ever seen!

Then I was feeding her, and actually using the same baby bottles Ashley had showed me in her kitchen the other day. They certainly weren’t the kind I’d used for Ashley! So…..

However, there were two other parts of my dream I’m still amazed at. Perhaps because of my newest blog series, Letters from the Womb, in which baby Rachel is talking to her mommy, my subconscious mind was working overtime. Because in my dream I was having a conversation with my NEWBORN granddaughter, who was actually talking to me. In sentences. She was telling me she was hungry, and then she suddenly started talking about my mother. Her great grandmother. Who’s been gone almost ten years.

Now imagine how I felt when I turned my head, still holding baby Rachel, and I clearly saw my own mother sitting beside me. Little Rachel was talking to her as well, in fact they were planning a birthday party and giggling like two little kids!

So this sounds strange to you? Not to me, if you look at this dream with your spiritual eyes, rather than your earthly eyes.

You see, my granddaughter is being named after my mother, Ashley’s grandmother. My mother was a very important part of my daughter’s life, and losing her was terribly difficult for Ashley. You can read more about this in Another Rachel.

For several months after my mother passed away, I’d have dreams about her. Dreams in which she was still very much alive, still living in her own home. The dreams were so real I would wake up shaking, because for a few moments I thought they were real, and I was actually wondering how to tell her I’d given her clothes away, and how to tell her we’d buried her next to my father.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Jeremiah 1:5

But this dream was different. Instead of being upset that my mom thought she was still alive when she wasn’t, in this dream seeing and hearing her talk to a newborn baby was quite natural. Because babies are a gift from the Lord. This speaks to me that our unborn babies’ spirits are living in heaven before their spirits are sent to live in their mother’s body, in the new life being created within her.

And since my own mother is living in heaven, I have no doubt she and my granddaughter have had many opportunities to connect and get to know each other. I have no doubt that baby Rachel communicated with my mother in the language of angels that is spoken in heaven.

And I have no doubt my mother is as thrilled and excited about our new granddaughter who is about to enter the world as we are! Because she already knows so much more about this little one than we do.

As I write this we are about five weeks away from meeting our granddaughter. My mother has already met her; talked with her; laughed with her; encouraged her; and loved her. Baby Rachel will bring a small part of her great-grandmother back into the world with her, along with her own unique personality and gifts the Lord has bestowed upon her.

I know when I look at this newborn baby for the first time, hold her, and look into her eyes, I will sense just a tiny part of my own mother’s love. All the way from heaven.

Thank you, Lord, for that wonderful dream!

Such A Beautiful Baby

I had the most wonderful dream the other night.

There’s a song that says “…a dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep.” I believe that’s true in a lot of ways.

For those of you who’ve read some of my other stories, as well as those of you who know me quite well, you already know how much I enjoy piecing together the meaning of dreams. To me, dreams are often a beautiful tapestry that weaves itself together in front of my eyes as I’m resting.

Sometimes those dreams have a deeply hidden meaning that I enjoy dissecting, bit by bit, until I uncover that meaning.
Then there are the dreams like I had the other night. Just a peaceful, beautiful scenario that foretells a special event coming up in our lives.

And what are the chances that our daughter would have a very similar dream that same night, and in fact, had been having those similar dreams the entire week and had never told me?

Our daughter and her husband are expecting their first baby, our first grandbaby, in less than two months. To say we’re all excited is an understatement. And to have been blessed with the dream I had the other night is something I find difficult to put into words.

But of course, I’m going to try.

Imagine being a first time grandmother to be, who is getting more excited by the day at the prospect of soon being able to hold her first granddaughter. A granddaughter who is being named after my own mother, my daughter’s beloved grandmother.

In my dream I was actually holding our precious little Rachel Marie. She was in my arms. I could look into her face, see her beautiful big blue eyes, and her head full of light brown hair. I couldn’t help but just stare at her in amazement, as I held her, and cuddled her. And watched her smile up at me with the biggest grin I could imagine. My granddaughter. I can even describe the outfit she was wearing, although I haven’t seen it yet in any of the baby stores. It was yellow and coral, with little yellow ruffles on the bottom.

This little girl of my dreams was our precious gift. A special delivery directly from the Lord. I remember looking at her and thinking how my own mother actually met her before we did. Because I know my Mom had been caring for her little namesake in heaven until it was time for our new little Rachel to be born and come live with us. I imagined my mother kissing her little forehead, and handing her over to a special angel who would take her down to earth to her new earthly family. And I imagined my heavenly family smiling and rejoicing, knowing what a special, beautiful gift we were getting.

My dream faded softly as I woke up, and for a few minutes, I actually found myself looking around to see where baby Rachel was. And then I remembered. She hasn’t been born yet, except in my dreams.

Now imagine my surprise when our daughter Ashley texted me a little later and said she’d been dreaming all week that Rachel was already here. Only she hadn’t seen her yet in her dreams; in her dreams Rachel was sleeping in her nursey and Ashley was walking down the hall to get her. So Grandmom got to see her first. Yes, I think my daughter was a tiny bit jealous of that one.

Little Rachel will be here before we know it, although right now it seems like it’s taking forever. And I can’t wait to see how much she actually looks like she did in my dream.

And I know she is beautiful. Like her mother.

Jumbled Dreams

During one of those restless nights, which I’ve unfortunately had a lot of recently, I woke from a very weird dream. We’ve all had those from time to time. But this one was so strange I had to immediately write it all down, because I knew it had a meaning, and I knew after I’d written it down the meaning would become clear.

In my dream I had put a pan of cinnamon buns in to bake. Nothing unusual about that, but instead of an oven, I used a wooden chest of drawers my father had made for me one Christmas. I recognized it immediately in my dream, with its white and blue paint and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” decals on the sides. I guess it sort of could have looked like an oven, if I were still a kid playing make believe. But I was an adult, even in the dream.

I even set an imaginary dial for the temperature and a timer to set the cooking time. And even stranger, the chest/oven was in the middle of a bedroom! A very messy bedroom. There were clothes all over the floor that I’d never seen. Who they belonged to, I have no idea, nor did I know why any of this was where it was. At the time it seemed normal.

Suddenly I went downstairs (from somewhere upstairs in whatever house I was in) and started telling a bunch of people I don’t think I even knew, about the special treat I’d prepared for a meeting we were all getting ready to attend. Then I realized I wasn’t ready for the meeting, so I started looking for my briefcase which had my meeting notes and laptop, and it was gone! I searched everywhere for it. I even told some of the people I had to find it because all of my memories were on there, and I hadn’t backed them up yet. (“Memories” was the word I used…keep reading)

Still looking for my laptop, I went outside to look in my friend’s car (why I didn’t have my own car I have no idea, and I’m not sure I even knew this “friend”) and her car was gone. I ran inside and asked her about it, and she said she had no idea what had happened to it. She didn’t act concerned at all, and said my stuff wasn’t in there anyway. I was beside myself by that point, so I ran upstairs to check my oven, and that was gone, too. The only thing left was an indentation in the carpet where it had been.

By that time I was frantic. I kept saying over and over again, “I’ve lost my mind. What’s going on?” I ran back downstairs and tried to turn on the lights, and none of the light switches would work…I was in a panic, and didn’t know what to do. I was running in circles….

And then….I woke up, almost shaking. I had the strangest feeling, and I knew this dream meant something, but I didn’t know what.
As I wrote all of it down, the Lord spoke to me and said, “This is what it’s like as dementia and Alzheimer’s start to set in.”

We’ve all had strange dreams from time to time. But this particular one struck me, especially because of the familiarity of some of the components. Now I knew why.

Brain GamesIt also made me start thinking about what our family members may go though as memory loss sets in from the aging process.

Daily everyday tasks or just day-to-day living can become jumbled and difficult. Routine activities such as cooking can become complex, and sometimes even dangerous. One of my aunts slowly ventured into the world of dementia after her husband passed away. At the beginning of her adventures in this strange new world, her actions, although a bit bizarre at times, were harmless, and the caregivers hired to stay with her during the day were able to easily prevent her from situations in which she could harm herself.

Unfortunately this strange new world became the norm for my aunt, rather than the exception and some of her new activities combined previously normal activities with some rather interesting twists. Her caregivers had to remove the burner knobs on her stove before they left in the evening, because several times they had come to the house in the morning and found her “cooking” her good jewelry in a saucepan on the stove, stirring her rings and brooches with a wooden spoon, just like she used to do when making sauces. A few times they even found food that had been prepared and placed in a drawer to bake, similar to the dream I described above.
stirring
I wonder, was what I was experiencing in my dream what my aunt was experiencing in her mind? How awful that must have been for her. Or worse, did she even know at that point what reality was?

We all forget where we park our cars at times; even our 27 year old daughter does that! And we know that brief scary feeling when we think our car’s been stolen, until we find it in the next row of parked vehicles. Dreams of being unprepared for meetings or tests in school (even if we’ve been out for years) are also commonplace for many of us, especially under stressful conditions.

But the reality of losing control of our memory is totally different, because we cannot control it. And as frightening as it is to watch our loved ones going through this, think how frightening it is for them, as they begin to realize what’s going on, while they still can. We can escape our dreams of being out of control; they cannot. They’re forced to repeat different variations of the same dreams until they cannot reason reality from the captivity of dementia.

Whshutterstock_memorylossat can we do in this situation when a loved one is beginning this journey? Aside from making sure they are protected and cared for, all we can do is continue to love them, be patient with them (which is sometimes tough), and go along with some of the things they say, because they don’t know what they’re saying, and correcting them won’t help. It’s never something we’re prepared for, but unfortunately for many of us it’s something we have to go through. And eventually we’re forced to make decisions about their care that we’d never ever imagined we’d have to do.

Think about this the next time you have one of those crazy, mixed up dreams. I know I will. Because I’ve been through it with my aunt and my mother, and over the next several months, I will take you through some of the storms we went through, as detailed in my upcoming book, “Memories in a Daughter’s Heart”.

But be encouraged. There are better days ahead for all of us.