Someone asked me if I dreamt about Gabriel. (1)


And I never did.

Truth be told, I don't dream. Well, I do. My MIL the psychologist assures me that I dream every night. Several times a night. She assures me that I do dream. I just don't remember my dreams.

I am a thinker, not a dreamer. Maybe it's why I can't write poetry, I am stuck in the solid world of prose. Even as a child, my day dreams had to be based on solid fact. I could never completely leap into a particular fantasy. There had to be fact, something solid about it, for me to fully give myself over to it. But as long as it seemed like it could exist in the real world, well, then I could fully give myself over to it.

For years, I regarded it as my biggest vice that I always seemed to live in the next moment. Not the moment I was currently in, but already anticipating the next thing. Mentally, looking past where I was to where I was heading next. And I suppose we could make much hay out of this tendency. I could spend hours and thousands on a couch somewhere, talking about why - but truth be told, I don't know why. I don't know when I started this. I just remember always doing it. And I'm not all that sure the why really matters.

And if you asked me what I dreamed about, before Gabriel, I would have answered with these thoughts - living in the next moment. I would have told you about going to the Carrot for babes in arms. I would have told you what car seat we picked out. I would have told you I was thinking about taking salsa babies. How satisfied I was that I got to join the Smugs in the nursery, carry a baby into church on mother's day and father's day. And I would have called these things dreams.

Perhaps, you would see the incongruity of the situation, if I told you this. Upon faced with a new challenge, a new opportunity, a new crisis in my life, I immediately begin to asses what the worst possible outcome is.(2) Yes, I know this isn't normal. But, it's what I have always done. I'm a helluva project manager, and pretty useful in a crisis. After all I've already thought about the remedy.

And after I have established worst possible outcome and how I will cope, I begin to think about what would be better than that outcome. I don't know if I think about the best outcome, but at least I think about better outcomes.(3) I would call that dreaming. But I'm not sure if anything so tied to the real world, so tied to the realm of possibility, is actually what is meant by dreaming. I don't know if it's a dream when it's so limited by what could actually be possible. Why dream of a full 40 weeks, I think. That's not even remotely possible. 34 weeks is a huge stretch.

I have, in the back of my mind, a post about what I have learned since Gabriel died. And I can't write it. I don't know what I have learned yet. I have some glimpses. I know what I want: to emerge kinder, more compassionate, living a slower life, fitting others in when they are hurting. I want to hear the subtext of the conversation, not the words. I want to stop being so damn nice, and start being honest. I want to cut out the extra crap. I want to call things what they are. I want to keep my new sense of priorities.

But, I don't know where I'm going with those things. I don't know what the end of them will be. Maybe, I'll change my mind about the virtue of being honest, maybe I'll decide other things are more important.

Some months ago, my parish priest asked me what my dreams are. And I looked at her, perplexed. My dreams, my plans, my future they involved bringing home a baby. They didn't involve the work, study, garden, do housework, sleep, go back to work treadmill I'm on. After all, a baby was my ticket out of a job I despise.

I suppose, I am making some tentative plans about a next pregnancy. Resolving not to plant a garden that I won't be around to care for. Listing books to read and movies to watch on bed rest. Figuring out Internet and email and phone for the hospital. Figuring out companies that will provide Mr. Spit meals, deciding to hire a house keeper.

Occasionally, Mr. Spit and I talk about moving to Victoria. We talk about things to do with the house. We talk about taking our kids and driving across Canada one summer. We talk about taking more time for the things we like. But are these dreams? Not really. I'm not even really living in the next moment.

I suppose I could say this about dreaming, and things I have learned:

At 10:37 on December 10, 2007, I lost my ability to live in the next moment. I'm not even sure I can always live in this moment. And I never really did seem to have the ability to dream.

(1) It was excavator, in a personal email. But it was such a good question.
(2) Which, for my pregnancy with Gabriel, was a C-Section in the hospital. Clearly I need to get better at my research.
(3). Between 34-36 weeks. I can birth vaginally, in the hospital, and likely nurse pretty quickly after the birth. Babies born at this gestation have few if any problems, and go home pretty quickly.