I have been reflecting, this morning, over some dreams I had in the months preceding the fire, that stuck with me and I wanted to share them. Not because I put any stock in dreams as portents of the future or anything, just because, in hindsight, they remind me that while this has often felt like the worst thing that could happen, it really isn't.
The first dream was (a year?) before the fire. There wasn't much to it. It was a voice saying to me, over and over, that the conflagration was coming... and then some date I've since forgotten, but which I know was not the same as my fire would later be, because I do remember that the date was in the summer... and I'm thinking June, where my fire was in Feb. I don't know what the inside of my house looked like during the fire, thankfully, but from the outside, it did not look like something I would describe as a conflagration - I never saw a flame. From what I'm told, the inside very much did look like something anyone would describe as a conflagration. So, this dream staying with me reminds me that it could have been worse - I could have been on the wrong side of that door when it slammed shut from the explosion - and in the path of the (what I am sure would have looked like a very conflagration-like) fireball that chased the blast.
The second dream was only a couple of months or so before the fire. It was more detailed, much more of a nightmare and the one that seems more prophetic in a way, if either of them seems it at all. I dreamed I awoke and I was in a hospital room. I didn't know how I'd gotten there. The room was very small, brightly lit by sunlight streaming through windows with no shades or curtains and it was very stark and sparse. No wall hangings. No flowers on the nightstand. No nightstand. There were some large pieces of roll-in equipment against the wall across from the foot of my bed - which was quite narrow and more like a gurney than a hospital bed. I reached for the call button, but there wasn't one and I had difficulty using my arms. I couldn't sit up. I thought I might be paralyzed, but I realized I could move, I was just weak. I could hear voices in the hall, but I couldn't make out what they were saying. And then a nurse took the clipboard off my door, walked into the room and when she noticed I was awake, she seemed astonished and ran from the room to get another nurse and a doctor. They told me I'd been in a coma for two years following a very bad car accident. I asked for my husband and my children, worried if they'd been with me. I was assured I had been alone in the vehicle. As far as they knew, all of my family was still alive and well. I asked to see them. They acted funny and told me they'd call someone.
My dream flash forwarded. My two older daughters arrived, overjoyed that I was awake. In the dream I knew it had taken them several hours to arrive. I assumed they had been at work and couldn't get time off to come see me right away. I asked after my husband, my son and my youngest daughter. They stopped smiling. My husband had divorced me just two months after my accident and then almost immediately remarried a woman with young children of her own. My daughters had taken so long to arrive because they'd both moved several hours away. My son had moved even farther away and it would be the next day before he could come. My husband had asked my middle two children to move out so he could move his new family in and he had sent our youngest to live with her grandparents, 8 hours away, because his new wife didn't like having any reminders of me around. I was devastated. I asked if they could bring me some of my own clothes or something of mine to have until I could leave. They told me my husband had sold everything of mine that sell-able and had donated or disposed of everything else... again, because his new wife insisted he rid her house (my house) of anything that reminded her that I had ever existed.
My dream flash forwarded again. I was in my house with my husband. I still hadn't seen my youngest daughter - her grandparents had legal custody and didn't want her to miss any school (they would NEVER do that, but in the dream, they did.) I was very upset about that. In the dream, I knew that I had been released that day and that I was only in the house because someone had intervened on my behalf to get a court order to let me check the house for any of my possessions. And there weren't any. My husband, out of loyalty to his new wife, was very cold to me -- and I kept telling him that to me, no time had passed, he was still my husband and I needed him to hold me and love me. He wouldn't. I walked into my room, opened my closet and nothing inside was mine. Even the hangers had changed. The furniture in the room was different. Even the carpet had been changed. I asked if he'd at least packed away my photo albums or given them to the kids - no. They went to the landfill. I walked from room to room and while the layout was the same, everything else was different. Even my pets were gone. There was no trace of me or of my children. Not a hint. I went back to the bedroom, hoping to find something, any small thing of mine, that might have slipped behind a baseboard. My husband told me I was being ridiculous and needed to leave. I told him I had nowhere to go -- and no way to get there. The older kids all lived far away in tiny apartments with no room for me. His parents weren't going to let me stay with them and my youngest because I wasn't part of their family anymore. My parents didn't have room for me. I started crying and told him he should have had them pull the plug right away because there was nothing left of me or for me. He told me that was my problem, not his, but I needed to go, that he wasn't my husband and that wasn't my house anymore... and that I was not to come back. I awoke as he was ushering me down the stairs to the front door, to a sopping wet pillow with tears streaming down my face... and I immediately turned on the lamp next to the bed (which I never do when I wake in the night) to make sure I was in my room, on my bed, under my covers and that my husband was next to me. My husband was miffed that I woke him with the light until he saw that I was crying. I told him about the dream, he told me it was just a nightmare, assured me he'd never do that and then he held me until his arm got too heavy and I shook it off of me. I never did get back to sleep, that night. I sobbed softly into my already drenched pillow until the alarm went off. And I felt the pain from that dream all day. It had quite an impact on me. More than I like to let any dream have.
Well, since then, some aspects of that nightmare have actually come to pass. I did lose my house. And I did lose my stuff. And I did lose my clothing. And all the photo albums are gone. It hurts... it hurts every bit as much as it hurt in that nightmare. But, my children are not scattered to the winds. My husband hasn't replaced me like I'm no more important than a disposable razor that's gone dull. I am still welcome to go stay with my in-laws and I'm still part of their family. I have somewhere to go... somewhere that is keeping me safe and warm until my house is rebuilt. And I will get to go home again - it won't be exactly the same house and nothing of mine from before the fire will be there, but it will be home. It was losing my family and the permanent loss of home and the security of having a place to go... those losses are what soaked my pillow in my sleep and made the dream stick with me so vividly, for so long.
The fire sucks. It does. It sucks pretty freaking hard. You can verify this with anyone who's been through it. There's pretty much nothing about it that does not suck. But as bad as it is, it is not nearly as bad as that dream scenario was. Not even close. And so, as much as I hated that dream and wished I'd never had it... since the fire, I've been glad I did because it helped me to put this into perspective a little faster and better than I might have, otherwise. And the memory of that dream, as thoroughly heartbreaking as it was, is one of many things I've leaned on to help keep a severe depression at bay, when I'm hanging by a thread. (Which isn't the case, today. I'm doing OK today. I just felt like sharing it.)
Thanks for letting me share.
Check back later tonight or tomorrow morning. If I don't forget to take my phone with me, when I check on the progress, later, I'll try to grab some pictures of whatever they're getting done while I leave them alone to frame, today and get them posted. They told me last week, that they thought I might have first floor deck down by the end of the work day, today. Knowing how much joist work they still had ahead of them, before they arrived, this morning, I'm going to guess they were being a little optimistic and that they'll be putting the deck down, tomorrow, weather willing, but... we'll see. :)