I woke up this morning, rested, relaxed, joyful of a new day, and at peace, despite being awoken by my girl’s impatience for a walk. It took a while to remember why I’ve been feeling so sad to begin with. Obviously I had slept well, something that has eluded me for the last several weeks for various reasons (relationship, work, waking up on time, money, etc). My teeth didn’t even hurt as I had not been clenching them (and of course I was not wearing my NG, though that’s hardly aberrant behavior…). The time was probably 7ish judging by the light coming in from my window. Images of the pup started coming back as I was thinking about it and minimal tears came but it was bittersweet and I was glad to be finally “over it” for the most part.

It was a relief to feel that way, and I was still drunk on happiness, not wanting to get up yet, so I started thinking about the dream I was having before I woke up. It felt a little strange that I was feeling so happy and content when the dream was a bit chaotic (also not unusual). There was some sort of a car crash involved. Then the pieces started falling into place and then it hit me. It hit me so hard and that’s when I could not stop the tears from coming anew and with vigor. However, this time it wasn’t born from despair or grief or pain. Nooo, the complete opposite. It was of gratitude, of joyfulness, of immeasurable relief.

Let me explain the dream:

There were other dreams, but I was in a parking lot at some sort of community gathering or festival with a lot of people, balloons, stands. Everyone was celebrating and happy and wearing shirts with words on it. I didn’t know anyone and didn’t seem to be part of the joviality, just happened to be there with a can of spray paint. Black spray paint. I was busy spray painting things black, when some people came up to me and asked what I was doing. My answer was to spray paint THEM black. Their shirts in particular because they were so bright. One person didn’t seem to mind me doing it at all and let me have at it, spray painting his celebratory shirt black so all the letters were hidden. He was a big, older bear of a black man with a graying beard and glasses (my head only reached his armpits). Extremely homey, and very friendly. He talked to me for a bit and I remember suddenly looking for USEFUL things to paint black, like the rusting handle of a lawnmower, painting the back of a chair so that it looked new and modern, and the weathered part of a shed to not only seal the area but to make it look refreshed. 

Then the party was over, the sun was setting and he came to me saying it was time for him to go. He wrapped me in a big, long, warm hug and I remember being indescribably happy. He was just so huggable, and I noticed with some confusion that his shirt was now completely and brightly white. Not only that, but it was oh so soft and to the point of fuzzy or furry (like a flannel with lots of loft or an oft-used/loved fleece). I kept stroking his back, feeling the softness, and remember thinking I never want to let go, but he released me and got in his car. He pulled out of the parking lot.

It felt like a hole in my heart, I became sad and increasingly frustrated to the point of fear because I felt alone. Climbing into the seat of “my car (a very old conversion van. Think brown)” nothing was working right and my vision was getting blurry. I started driving and knew I needed to turn right, but as in every dream where I’m driving the brakes just wouldn’t work. I saw a car coming up but I had to take the turn because I couldn’t stop. Panic was overtaking me and even though I didn’t hit the upcoming car, I couldn’t stop fast enough to avoid the new, dark red CRV who for whatever reason had stopped short in front of me. I hit them. Fighting to control the car, I was thinking, this can’t be happening right now, I need to go home!! Interestingly, the CRV was showing no signs of stopping and my mind couldn’t get it together to decide what to do. All of the sudden, I was in the passenger seat and my soft-shirt friend was driving for me. The CRV then sped off recklessly, cutting around other cars and speeding through a left-hand turn up a mountain. We calmly drove on and was so relieved. The two of us picked up where we left off and the last thing I remember us talking about was that I wanted him to show me the best BBQ joint in this part of town. He chuckled and pointed to one we were passing called MASA (an acronym), saying that was the hottest. I studied it (it had some signs in Vietnamese which is strange for that part of town) and said, oh no, I can’t do spicy! The sign was advertising unbeatable heat in their BBQ. We continued on our way with him about to tell me what BBQ place (away from that town) he was taking me when my little girl woke me up.

It occurred to me that the man was Tristan. The black must have been my depression. Doberman are black. While I stayed with him in his final moments, I stroked his back as I held him…at the time I remember his coat being so very coarse, even more than when he was vital. The softness, the white, the happiness, the calm. Then when he left me, and I felt so alone and upset, but he jumped back in and guided me along again. The whole dark red CRV thing has me a little confused, but going with my thought process here, that must have been the epitome of my negativity. The devil so to speak. Why else would it have just stopped short in front of me like that? Like a brake check???? And then speed wildly away when my savior came took over for me. He had taken a left out of the parking lot, while I was forced right because of the oncoming car and my brakes.

The reason I couldn’t stop crying this morning was that he…came back. To tell me he was OK and that I didn’t need to be sad anymore.

Now I understand that much of this can be explained scientifically, but what science does not explain is that this isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me with my dying pets. I’ll never forget the one when I was at Mary Washington, away from home. That one I hadn’t even known about yet to have that dream. It wasn’t until after my mom told me later the next morning, that it made sense.

It’s amazing how different tears of happiness and tears of sadness are in their effects on my body and outlook and even how long it lasts.

Thank you, Tristan. I love you.



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