Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A special treat on Christmas Eve

Christmas was a big holiday for Marcie. Every year, she plotted and planned with her family and her friends to get together the perfect bundle of thoughtful gifts for her loved ones. She started the day after Christmas each year and bought little bits throughout the year, collecting little perfect thoughts that would count for the next December.

So, it has been difficult, missing and remembering how we would spend the few days of peace before the big day and how we would savor the extra time off with drives and little trips or dates. I was thinking of what Marcie and I would have done this year when I went to bed Christmas Eve.

I generally find I am awake and aware of my surroundings when I am in the first stage of sleep or falling into it. As I nodded off in the front room a bit after midnight Christmas morning, I could feel Seamus' fur under my hand as he laid in his little wool bed.

I thought of how Marcie and I, after a good night and while we were in bed pillow-talking, would sometimes end up with Seamus between us, being petted into a stuporous overload of pleasure before wandering, staggering, down the bed and onto one or the other of our feet. I enjoyed the memory and almost caught a whiff of her as I did, deciding it was a pleasant dream effect, even if I was somewhat still awake.

I progressed toward dreamland wakeful in my mind. I felt her hand on mine as I drifted on the lake at the edge of the waking world and felt myself begin to flow down into deeper sleep. But there was something less phantasmal to me which diverted me and as the gentle down slope became a free fall, I startled out of my sleep.

I kept my eyes shut, moving my hand a bit and making sure my other hand was not the cause of the odd feeling of having a hand laid over mine, but it was behind me as I laid on my side, under me, really. I stroked gently at Seamus's fur to see if I had startled him. I hadn't but he groggily motored his purr a bit to signal he was aware of my touch in his slumber.

I waited for the odd sensation of the hand on mine to pass. It didn't at first, so I moved my hand and shook it. It seemed to go away. "It must have been my blood circulating a certain way," I thought. "Maybe it's related to parasomnias or dyssomnias."

I gulped sadly a little after I opened my eyes and saw no visage, not a presence. Just the cold contours of the couch in the front room, beyond Seamus, under my hand in his little wool bed, and nothing more. I sighed and whispered my love for Marcie and settled back in.

I was not asleep when the sensation returned, and I did not move my hand except to pet Seamus. I seemed to feel a little pressure, but I just let myself fall asleep, keeping Marcie and my memories of her favorite season foremost in my mind.

My dreams were extraordinary.

There were seven of them, and I am at a loss of where to begin. I am writing them down. Be it wish fulfillment, my grieving process operating at the near-unconscious, or simple but extraordinary dreaming, her presence was very strong.

My dreams seemed themed, and touched on the thoughtfulness, preparation, generosity, love, enterprise, passion and wisdom Marcie expressed through this special season in her life. They were my Christmas gifts, and I will be proud to share them... Soon.

Thank you, Marcie, if not directly for the dreams and the sensation of my hand being held, then for the memories which shaped them. I love you.