It is hard losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s disease. Even harder living with any sort of regret for not expressing your love one more time, or saying you are sorry for something. In this situation a dream might offer you some peace.
One of the hardest things I have found about losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s Disease is that you do not have a final opportunity to say everything you want to say, to make sure you really say “I love you” and “goodbye.” You realize one day that while your father is still alive in a body, in many ways he is gone. You cannot talk about your feelings, he cannot share his – it’s too late. It is a little like when a loved one dies suddenly and unexpectedly. I am so grateful to know that with a little effort, and by opening up your ideas of how communication between two Souls can happen, you can continue to have contact and all the blessings that come with it.
There came a point during my father’s Alzheimer’s that I knew we would never have a heart-to-heart in our physical bodies again; he was having such trouble understanding the simplest things, like where the kitchen sink was. But I knew that dreams are a very real place where we could talk. I let God know in prayer that I would like to clear up some old issues with my father before he passed away, and shortly after that I had a dream where we came together to talk. Ahead of time, I had thought he would apologize for his mistakes and that I would forgive him, but when we actually met in the dream we both came to the point quickly with a mutual, “Hey, I know I’ve done things to hurt you, I’m sorry for them, let’s move on.” In the dream I was my true self and could own up to my own mistakes better than as my waking self. I got the sense that back and forth in various past lives both of us had hurt the other, but all that truly mattered was our deep love for one another. We were not going to count hurts and expect compensation, we were dropping it all. It was the briefest of dreams but I came away from it with a knowing that we had cleared the air in the deepest sense, and we could leave the past in the past and simply love each other.
After my father passed away, I discovered that my mother, widowed after fifty-five years of marriage, was not at all at peace about his death. First of all, she had deep doubt about whether there was life after death. She had a horrible pain, wondering if in dying he had ceased to exist at all. I felt honored to be the daughter she shared this with, and I tried to offer her my confidence that her husband still existed. That he is and always will be a unique child of God, not here but indeed somewhere, fully himself, whom she would see again someday. I felt some of it seep into her. While she needed to borrow my confidence, part of her trusted the reality of what I described. I left her to percolate on these things and develop her own confidence in them, knowing she should not be pushed.
A few weeks later I had the nudge to find out her current feelings about my father’s death. I asked her if she had feelings of guilt, and she readily admitted that she did. She felt she had not been as good a wife as she could have been. At first I tried to reassure her that she need not feel guilty, that we all do our best but fall short of our own expectations. But then she said something that really struck me, “Do you think he knows I’m sorry? Is he aware?” This showed me that she had reached a place where she trusted he still existed after death, and this was a leap forward from where she was a few weeks before. Now she just needed to be reassured that he could still hear her. I did that, and took it a step further: “You can hear him too. Imagine what he would say back.” And she did; she told me she pictured him reassuring her, gently urging with a bit of a chuckle, “Oh forget it! Don’t worry about it!” I felt a shift, a release in her, a loosening of a burden. It was almost like he said it to her at that moment, as she described it to me.
Knowing we can work through problems with loved ones when physical communication is not possible is exciting and reassuring. We do not need to carry regret forever over words not spoken. Sit and close your eyes, sing HU, and have that conversation now. Or ask God to bring you together in a dream. It is real and it can heal both of you.
Written by Joan Clickner