I dreamed I had Alzheimer's.
In the dream, of course, I didn't know. There was a lot of confusion on my part, and spaces of missing time, but the people around me behaved completely normally. That was a red flag.
I dreamed I was in a rocket with The Beautiful One. We had Seth with us. He was about the age he is now.
It didn't make any sense to me that we were in a rocket. I am not an astronaut. But I was wearing all of this bulky gear and the space we were in was quite small and tube shaped, the fixtures were petite and sparse. I concluded rocket.
They both had gloves on their hands. Mine were bare, tucked in my coat pockets. It was bad that I'd forgotten, like they might freeze or explode when we left the rocket. But we'd already been outside, so why hadn't they exploded? I shoved them deep and hoped for the best.
The gloves were the only item I "forgot" in the dream. I felt disturbed there was no consequence, like maybe all of those rules about space travel and lack of gravity were inaccurate.
Seth was not feeling well. I was worried. He thought he was going to vomit. He opened the door and threw up just outside. I was beside myself with worry but my love reassured me he'd just had too much to drink. But why hadn't the rocket turned inside out when he opened the door like that? And how the hell had he gotten drunk?
That's when I realized I must have blacked out for the landing. It must have been the gloves. I had no recollection of anything after I realized I'd forgotten my gloves but we were on the ground now, back on Earth. They told me we were going to go visit the family. I thought they'd be happy to see us since we'd been gone a long time.
We met a Parenthood-ish amount of family members at a house that I didn't recognize. It was lovely. Someone handed me an infant that I did not know. They told me she wanted to eat. I thought I must have been her caregiver before our journey on the rocket. She latched and milk filled her belly, like it was the most natural thing in the world. She fell asleep. Deeply confused but accomplished, I handed her off to someone else.
None if this made sense to me. Why didn't the family didn't know how milk production works. I'd been away a while, certainly my milk would have dried up and she would have lost her reflex. And who was her mother, why wasn't she breastfeeding her?
When I woke up, I reported the bizarre dream to The Beautiful One. We'd been astronauts but I forgot my gloves and Seth was drunk on the rocket. There was a baby who I breastfed . . . so crazy!
It wasn't until a few hours later than the dream shifted into focus. It wasn't a rocket. We were inside the Airstream trailer I've been dreaming of owning for 20 years. It wasn't a space suit. I was wearing bulky winter gear. Seth wasn't irresponsibly intoxicated while tending the space station. He was young and plain ol' drunk, puking right next to my front steps in a campground.
It wasn't a random family member's baby. It was my baby. I had Alzheimer's and I kept forgetting that The Beautiful One and I had a baby. I had birthed her and mothered her enough to instinctually feed her and rock her to sleep. But I couldn't remember that she was mine.
The realization of what I'd lived in my dream state took my breath away.
On one hand, it was an extraordinary gift to glimpse into the deteriorating minds of my Grandma Farr who died years ago, and my mother's sisters who are currently living through the final hellish stages of Alzheimer's disease. It was incredible to feel time vanish as it did when I missed the landing of the rocket I'd concluded we were on.
I'm humbled to see that even in in deeply my altered state, I still default to feeling like I'd been "bad" when I forget something. I've been working round the clock for 20 years to heal that wound and it's still here, even in my dreams, even in the dreams where I've lost my mind. Maybe that's the real hell here. Always a bad girl, even as I dance with the end of me.
Not losing my gloves, gaps in time, forgetting I'd had another baby, or even the possibility of failing to heal my lifelong wound is what troubled me most in that dream. What terrified me is that the people around me continued as though all of this was absolutely normal, especially The Beautiful One. She wasn't concerned that I thought our portable home was a rocket. She didn't care that I thought we'd all die if Seth ran out the door to vomit into space. She was absolutely unruffled by the fact that I was so consumed by my thoughts that I said almost nothing and when I did, complete nonsense came out of my mouth. She acted like it was the most normal thing in the world for me to breastfeed a baby I didn't know.
The gift of this experience, the insight into the minds of people who are slipping away, intersects with my life's work, helping people release their attachment to things and old wounds.
That dream triggered the breath out of me.
After six years of focusing on space healing, my work is expanding to include teaching others how to heal their hearts, too. That means looking at situations like this dream and all of the emotions it stirred up for me as opportunities to heal. And I know that there's work to do because the dream world is a wild place and without the deep fears around Alzheimer's that dream was just strange.
That dream terrifies me because I have an atypical brain and I sometimes forget things. It terrifies me because my mind is how I make my living and how I do my work on the world. It terrifies me because Alzheimer's has taken women I love on both sides of my family. It terrifies me because every time I forget or lose anything, I can't tell if it's just me being adhd me or if this is the beginning of me slipping away.
Triggers are what I'll be talking about here for a while. Just like healing our homes, we have to heal our hearts in order to be able to Travel Lightly through what lies ahead. These are tender times and we cannot afford to be hijacked by our fears and old, untended wounds.