It’s that time of day… when it is night. (sodeepiknow.) The cats are settling down for the night, Dan kissed me good night, and I to tune into Andrea Bocelli … and my rendezvous (with myself) commences. I wonder why I am in such a contemplative mood? Is it because I’ve been reading Margaret Atwood all day (preparation for a high-lit reading group with a UVU professor. How did I manage to squeeze myself into such circles??). Is it because I read Atwood outside — in our cozy, private, fenced-in yard with a gorgeous shady tree and green plants?

Nature and god. Nature and god. Nature and god. Inseparable. Beautiful. Soul-billowing. Billowing… you know, like sails on a ship. That feeling when you breathe in deep and feel that your heart has stretched out, hollowed out, and become another lung, and then suddenly your whole chest is filled and powerful and the world is good.

Or, the world is sad. Sometimes sadness is such a wonderful soul-billowing emotion. When Crystal died, I learned a lot about the different types of sadness. What I found most notable was what I would call the pure sadness. If I could put a visual to it, I would compare it to the liquid luck described by JK Rowling in Harry Potter. Pure liquid, beautiful gold. Pure sadness isn’t tainted with guilt or self-pity or worry or shame or shock or shallow self-commiserating particles (woe is me! woe is me!). Pure sadness … well, it’s one of the most godlike things I have ever felt in my life. Crystal died in October (in 2007)… but it wasn’t until the next April that my sadness reached that higher state. I remember because this process and realization marked the end of my counseling sessions with one of the most remarkable men I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.

Err….Do you know what I’m talking about? About pure sadness? I have a hunch that a few of you do know. I wonder how you would describe it, though?

My blog today is about dreams. The foundation of one is fear and guilt. The other? Beautiful pain — that kind you want to hug to you and never let go.

The first:

Days ago, I had a long, in-depth dream with several scenes upon scenes that jumped around riotously, clamoring for the spotlight. In my dream, I was getting married. In my dream, I was getting married to a man I cringed from in real life. In my dream, I was getting married to a man I cringed from in real life because … because Dan would not marry me without a temple marriage.

Yes, these are the nightmares of an ex-mormon! It hit me at my core; knocked the wind out of my lungs.

What can I even say about this dream? It uprooted a fear I had long ago settled. I think though, that it is not me stirring up the dirt at the pond bottom, but being often around people so wholly mormon. Who all have certain .. understandings about what I’ve done to Dan’s progression and such our family’s eternal state. The church makes no secret of the fact that mormons should only marry mormons and would have frowned Dan away from a union with me if they had known what I would become.

In one of the cute, wonderful moments of marriage: In the wake of my decision to decisively leave the church last summer, Dan and I shared the same implied question with the statement: “I’m scared that you’ll leave me!” It was hearing the other express the same fear that calmed us both for good. All we wanted… was each other.

The second dream:

…Can I pause here? This dream, friends, is very precious. When I woke from it, I hurt from the pain but relished in the beauty… I relished it like a secret that was all mine, and no one else’s. I hold it tight still, close deep to that titantium core. Tread lightly when reading.. If you’re inclined to dislike or judge me, in good faith you bow out and not share in this experience.

I dreamed a beautiful dream. My family were in and out of the dream. Crystal was coming. She had been on a trip that had lasted for years. (The same years that she has been dead.) She sent a note ahead of her and I was able to glimpse only a few words over Dan’s shoulder that sent me into a frantic panic. “Dead.” “Kill myself.” No. NO.NOOOO. Not again. Not again. Not again. NOT.AGAIN. I frantically took the note and, in an uncharacteristically odd manner for a dream, I had to decode it (with a turing machine (thank you google homepage for that one)). As I painstakingly ran it through the code, I was breaking to pieces. But finally, I was able to see the finished piece and saw that when those three awful words were in context that meant something completely different. She was not going to do anything to herself. Ohh.. so good.

And I was satisfied. No more fears. And then, Crystal came. She was with my sisters, and, in my dream, it wasn’t really a big deal that she was there all of a sudden. I didn’t even notice when she first appeared. The family was all around, talking and gathering as we do so well. Dan was talking to mom; Crystal, standing on the other side of table, tilted her head and quirked her eyebrow when Dan referred to my mom as “mom.” I’ve been gone … a long time that this guy should know my mother enough to address her so .. familiarly, she thought.

And then we were walking. In this dream, Crystal had always been flanked by her two proteges — my little sisters. Well, not so little anymore at 18 and 23 — though they were indistinct, fuzzy really, in comparison to the clarity of her face. Her face. A face that, for the first time in years, I saw animated, moving, smiling. We were walking, Crystal in front with my sisters, I in back with Dan. Then, in my dream self, it suddenly hit me that I hadn’t even said hi to Crystal yet — and she had been gone for so long! So I stepped up behind her, wrapped my arms around her and put my chin on her shoulder close to her cheek. I believe I told her I loved her? I held her for a good while. And then I stepped in front of her for a real hug. Our arms crossed in a enveloping hug, and I remember feeling her — the pressure of her bosoms crossing into an x with mine. And, then… we didn’t stop hugging. We stayed there, holding the embrace.. I remember feeling so contented and well, what’s the hurry? I feel so good I’ll just stay here, holding onto her indefinitely. It was so good. So long. Not fleeting, but completely indulgent. I believe we stayed this way until I woke up that morning..

… I’ve already described the effect this dream has had on me. And now that I’ve shared it (especially here), my heart is shrinking back into a mere blood-pumping organ, the excess oxygen having left. This knowledge is no longer my own, but after having kept it close and secret for a few days, I knew that it I couldn’t not retain the fullness of the experience. It was either this emptier written version, or no version at all; the routine of life would force this memory into a locked cavern in my mind, where it would eventually, inevitably, be lost forever.

Here she is. Perhaps some day I’ll turn “Speaker for the Dead” and give you all the negative, painful memories that she caused me during her lifetime (instead of only after her life). So many of my good sisterly memories were overrun those last few years with sad ones. Love was watered down into pity too often, near the end. But death has a way (with all the grace of a toddler) of being adverse to diluted emotions and can pack a punch. But don’t worry; that’s the good kind. And here, I will share a picture of Crystal, caught midway to making a full smile 🙂


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