I am not an anniversary kind of person when it comes to trauma. At least that’s what I tell myself. I figure if I refuse to acknowledge the anniversary of something horrible, then I will not have a reaction to it. Perhaps I also do this to avoid thinking that I’m purposely seeking triggers.
No matter what I think, I had very bad night 2 days ago. Technically, this month is the anniversary of my grandmother’s death. When I spoke to my therapist about this bad night she asked me what day my grandmother died and I couldn’t tell her because I’m not sure. I’m not sure on purpose. I don’t know the date on purpose. Again, I avoid triggers by not knowing the date. I think.
All I know is that it was early morning and I was still dreaming. At some point I started dreaming that I was back in time and still living with my mother (agh!) and my stepfather and stepbrother. I was aware that I was dreaming, as I always am, and I remember trying to get myself OUT of that dream. I HATE dreaming about living with my mother! It’s like being back there, trapped in that god awful family again. My unconscious mind knows that I’m an adult now and it tries very hard to either change the dream or wake me up.
This time in my dream I forcefully moved the timeline to the “present”, though it took way too long in my opinion. In the “present” of my dream, for some reason I believed that I had changed the past and that my grandmother was still alive. Yea…this did not end well.
In the dream, it was “now” and I asked some random person about my grandmother and the person told me that she was still dead. I can’t properly explain to you or describe what happened because words aren’t enough. In the dream I started screaming…but the sound was like an animal screaming with a human voice. I screamed louder and louder and louder until I literally woke myself up. I jolted like it was a nightmare. Maybe it was. But the way I woke shook me even more. I was already crying when I woke up. This is the second time in my life this has happened, the first being maybe a year or two ago and it was also about my grandmother.
I sobbed…wept…for at least 10 to 15 minutes, uncontrollably. It was odd too because I didn’t feel like I was physically crying…it was more like my eyes were leaking and I couldn’t stop it. At one point I got up to brush my teeth, because that’s what I do when I wake up and why should crying stop that? But as I brushed my teeth I was immediately taken back to the morning I found her body, when I was brushing my teeth before I stepped out and saw her dead. That made me cry harder. At certain points those animal sounds tried to make their way out my throat but I pressed my hands over my mouth to stop it from escaping. My husband was still getting ready for work and he didn’t know what was going on because I was in the bedroom with the door shut and he thought I was still asleep as it was around 6 a.m.
I eventually stopped crying and wiped my face. I went downstairs and sat on the couch in a kind of zombie state. My husband asked why I was up and my voice sounded terrible so he knew something was up. He was concerned enough that he asked if he needed to stay home with me. Of course I said no because having someone hover is unacceptable.
I had therapy that day and drove in a daze. We talked about it. What else can one do but talk about it? It doesn’t change anything.
It frustrates me that this grief keeps coming up. I keep thinking that I should be over this. My therapist did make a good point in that I probably am only now allowing myself to feel what I felt back then. At first I didn’t get what she meant because I told her that I can remember that day perfectly, right up until the doctor came to the waiting room to tell me they couldn’t save her. I don’t remember anything of that day after that, but before? Yea, that’s crystal clear.
It occurred to me though that I don’t remember feelings I had. One thing I did that morning as I stared into her dead eyes, was scream. My therapist and I both agreed the screaming in my dream and what tried to come out when I woke up was a repeat of the screaming from that day.
But I guess that I didn’t really allow myself to feel everything back then. How could I? I was surrounded by people who crowded my house. And I had to put up with my mother’s presence which was not remotely comforting.
So, did my brain acknowledge the anniversary despite me? Maybe.
The other connection my therapist made is that my grandmother is connected to the abuse by my uncle and maybe this is all happening for a reason.
She reminded me that I survived the crying and that I subconsciously made the decision to do so. Yay me…
P.S. my mind is kind of off still so I apologize for any errors my spell check didn’t catch.