i have always been an avid reader. i’ll read about anything. curious like the cat. hopefully not dead like one…

so when we learned about narrative devices i experienced an emotion that i can divide into two parts. the first one being, wow, this is interesting. the second one being, wow, this is stupid. i’m sure some writers use these devices consciously but i am also quite sure (in slovenian we say, i’ll put my hand in the fire, i’m that sure) that other writers, those with more of a natural talent perhaps, do not employ them deliberately but use them simply because they are essential to the process of storytelling.

and in life, like with patterns, we tend to see them where they don’t exist. OR they’re simply not obvious to other people because they don’t need to be.

why this elongated version of a fairly simple thought?

because i had a very vivid and reoccurring dream when i was younger.

i should point out that i am a very active dreamer. sleepwalker. sleep-talker. all of the above. no, i have never wandered out onto the balcony. i don’t need to be constrained to the bedpost. i don’t even have a bedpost. i have, however, found myself standing in the living room in the middle of the night with no idea of how i got there. or why.

reoccurring dreams fall into the category of my slumber universe.

the dream was this.

Barbara and i share a fold out couch at my grandfather’s place whenever we visited. this was true in real life as it was in the dream. in the dream i wake up and i notice that Barbara looks different. i get out of the bed and look at her from the distance. at this point my entire family has appeared in the living room and we are all staring at Barbara who is being absorbed by this thick brown mass. slowly, this spongy matter is taking over her entire body. the process seems slow but progressive. it spreads out from her torso, out onto her limbs, slowly creeping towards her entirely. all we can do is stare and wait because we have been told not to touch her because the disease would spread onto that person. in other words, not an airborne disease. a spread by contact disease.

we are despairingly watching as the mass engulfs my sister. when all but the head remain i can no longer stand by in idleness. i break free from the grips of my parents and run towards her and hug her. and lo and behold, she is cured. the mass slowly disappears as if it never even existed. we rejoice as Barbara’s original form returns and she is forever healed.

now, it only recently hit me that this was, in fact, a writing device. who the author is, i cannot know. but the device is definitely there even though i had this dream close to 35 years ago, i can only now understand that this was/is foreshadowing at its finest.

it doesn’t matter though anyway because in the end nothing worked, nothing would have helped her. no chemotherapy. no radiation therapy. no thoughts and prayers. no positive energies. no miraculous hugs. all of it ultimately lead to her untimely demise. to the ultimate point that awaits us all. death. in her case it was a very specific kind of death though. like in the dream, it consumed her. unlike in the dream, it consumed her from the inside. one that involved her losing her motor skills. her memory. her ability to speak. her ability to walk. her ability to be the human being that she was supposed to be and that she always so desired to be. happy and joyful and energetic.

but it was not meant to be, the life that she had wanted. the life that she deserved. rather the death that she deserved.

maybe it’s unfair of me to speak of her last days, her last months in this way. maybe it’s unfair because this is definitely not how the world should remember her. and i’m sure that people that she knew won’t remember her that way. even i don’t. most of the time.


the images of the images of those last few months of her life just won’t leave my head and they haunt. their ability to haunt me at any given moment in time, during the day, at night, at work, while i’m watching tv, while i’m washing my hair, while i’m smiling and laughing. while i’m toasting. while i’m eating. while i look at a blooming flowers or a drop of rain on my window. the thing that is most disconcerting is that these images can and do occur so sporadically, with no apparent pattern or time frame. sometimes they appear for an entire day then hibernate for weeks until they appear again for an instant that’s just long enough to throw me off-guard and back into the gutter.

this is grief. this is why it causes so much anxiety, sadness. why it makes me feel like i’m going insane. or just barely keeping it together because i fear that it’ll leave me in such a state of inertia or panic that i simply won’t find my way out of it. that i won’t be able to carry the weight of it all as i’m trying to move on.

but yeah. i’m hoping that writing down these images, constricting them to words and confining them into sentences will loosen their grip over me or will spread them apart just enough until they break off into a million pieces and i can be free of them. the tentacles of grief are strong but i know that i can be stronger.