I saw a ghost last night.
Well in a dream, anyway. There were a lot of random thoughts bouncing around in my head as I slept that night, but I suddenly found myself sitting in a car transporting my mother-in-law, who in real life passed away last March, to the burial site.
I realize this doesn’t make much sense, but I was sitting in front of her open casket and I just felt the need to check her pulse one last time as I gently held her hand. Within an instant, she looked at me with a smile as she playfully hit my knee.
It scared the ever-loving crap out of me. I woke up and immediately told my wife as I tried to fight back tears. The dream seemed so vivid and I wanted so much for it to be real.
Most people tell horror stories about their mother-in-law – most of them, admittedly, are pretty hilarious when I think about some of the ones I’ve been told over the years. But I adored Carolyn and always had an amazing relationship with her. She was so warm and kind to everyone she met, so much so that I can’t imagine anyone being able to say one negative thing about her.
She only had friends, no enemies. Everyone loved Carolyn.
When she was first diagnosed with cancer, I remember refusing to give it a second thought. In my eyes, she was going to beat it and it was no big deal. I refused to believe that anything so horrible could take her from us. It wasn’t going to happen. I really believed that.
Unfortunately, she fought as hard as she could for five years before losing that battle.
The dream I had of her, and everything I still remember of it, was exactly like something Carolyn would do – and I mean that in the most respectful way. You see, she was also a bit of a jokester and she was always doing something cute or funny to mess with me. There were times when she was alive when she would come to our house and rearrange our pantry when I wasn’t looking. She would also put the stone turtles in our garden in awkward positions just for fun.
She knew how anal I am and that I like things a certain way, so she basically did it anyway because she wanted to make me laugh. It was always her way of telling me to “lighten up” and that everything doesn’t always have to fit in a perfect box, so to speak.
I know I’m jumping around here, but oddly enough, the dream happened only five days after I turned in my notice at my job. I did so without a replacement job in tow, and truth be told, that goes completely against anything I would do. I am normally a very careful person. I have a wife and two sons. If I’m going to jump, there’d better be a net!
So this decision was already causing me a lot of angst, but it was a decision I needed to make for the sake of my overall happiness. I had to take a leap of faith and trust that everything was going to be OK.
It wasn’t until my wife explained that to me that I realized perhaps that’s what Carolyn was trying to tell me in my dream – that everything is going to be OK and that I made the right decision. Regardless of how much I may have been second guessing my decision to quit, I needed to stop worrying and trust in myself.
I don’t usually get caught up in the meaning behind dreams we have when we’re sleeping and I don’t pretend to understand the secrets to the universe. But I do believe there is a reason why certain things happen.
Come to think of it, that wasn’t a ghost I saw. It was an angel. I love you and we miss you Carolyn.