Shared Stories: The Gift

For Gail Earl, the value and meaning of life are rooted in family and friends. A recent dream brought all of her loved ones together in a way that was “logical” to her heart. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns.

By Gail Earl

As I awoke this morning I was overcome with emotion as I lay in my bed. I closed my eyes and recounted what I had experienced during the night. I didn’t just relive moments of my past life but had new ones created for me.

I spent the entire night walking, laughing and living with my parents and relatives who had passed away years ago. Now that I am awake I realize that everything that I dreamed was not something that had happened before, but rather just events in daily life that never happened at all.  

I saw my mother or father and sisters and brother in different situations that never really happened.  It was definitely their personalities, and everything we did in the dream could very well have happened in real life, if that situation arose. 

For example, in the dream we were traveling.  We were on a large ship somewhere in Europe. We were children and mom and dad behaved as they would have if this really happened.  Mom was cooking her specialties and she was showing the chefs how she did certain things.  
Each of us kids had the actual jobs we had as kids.  Sharon helped measure, Don and Jan set out ingredients, and I loaded the dishwasher. Dad stood by and watched and helped each of us kids achieve our task.  

In the very next minute we were all at a family reunion at my aunt’s house in Michigan. This actually happened regularly in real life. In the dream, my Aunt Muriel and Uncle Frank were hosting and all of our young cousins were there. We played and ran around as children would.
I was one of the young children, but I was also an adult commenting on how wonderful it was that we could all get together. In the dream it didn’t matter that I was both young and old.  Everything made perfect sense and only now that I am awake do I see the impossibility of what I just witnessed. 

In the dream it was absolutely wonderful seeing all of the family members whom I haven’t actually seen since my childhood. Family members from one family were in attendance along with people from other families and friends who in real life wouldn’t necessarily be together.  Some were still the children I knew as a kid and others were grownup versions of that person.  
People who weren’t even born yet were there mingling with each other. Example: my granddaughter was at the party with all of my old relatives from the past.  I remember introducing her to my father and how happy he was to read her a story.  

He in turn introduced her to his mother who actually died when I was only two years old.  She had on her favorite navy blue dress with white dots all over it. That dress was a true memory. 
Everything was very logical in the dream. Of course now that I am trying to write the wonder of all that I saw during the night, I couldn’t even begin to explain how amazingly wonderful it was and how much I loved seeing all these people again. 

I have always been a very active dreamer but this morning as I awake, I feel absolutely blessed with the gift of their company again. I stood in their presence. I had conversations with them and actually held their hands and kissed their cheeks. This night was the greatest gift anyone could ever receive.  All I can do is bow my head and say, “Thank You.”