Posted by: Kathy | February 18, 2013

Disturbing Dreams

Four years, 3 months, and 2 days ago my mom died of pancreatic cancer. Since she died, I have grieved, I have healed, I have accepted my mom’s death, and I continue to move forward with my life without my mom. This afternoon I completely unraveled. I cried over a mistake I made. Not a big mistake. Really it was something stupid.

But then my tears turned to sobs of loss and pain, and through my gasps I called out to my mom.

“Why did you have to leave me?”

“I miss you so much.”

“Life would be better for everyone if you were still here.”

Words of raw emotion.

As I’ve written before, I rarely dream of my mom, and most of the time I do not remember any of my dreams in great detail. Since my mom died, I have probably had less than a dozen dreams about her, some of which I’ve blogged about, but others I have kept to myself. My favorite type of dream is where my mom just appears and walks with me. We are together again.

Over the past year, I have had a different type of dream that involves my mom, but she is not in the dream itself. I can remember two of these dreams. In the first dream, I was with a group of people all dressed in suits and dark clothing – “funeral wear”. I remember seeing my dad and brother and friends of my parents. We were walking and just kept walking. We walked together as a group on roads that I’ve traveled on hundreds of times, and we were walking for my mom. In the dream, I knew she was dead. The second dream happened last week. In this dream, family and friends were seated at a long picnic table. We were outside, people were moving around, talking, finding their seats. It was a sunny day. Again, we were gathered together because of my mom. And again, I knew in the dream that she was dead.

These dreams are disturbing. I awake feeling sad and empty, feelings that stay with me throughout the day. I believe I’ve had more of these types of dreams than I have actually remembered, and I am now wondering what they mean. Why am I having dreams about my mom, but she is really not a part of them? These dreams are more of a reminder that my mom is dead, something I do not need to be reminded of. But in these dreams our family and my mom’s friends are gathering together because of her, for her, and I don’t understand why.

My “meltdown” this afternoon probably was the result of a combination of stress and missing my mom. But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about my latest dream and wondering what it means. Why are we gathering together for my mom? The obvious answer is that we are coming together to remember my mom with love. But I know that’s not the answer or the reason for these dreams. Nothing is ever that simple with me.

The next time I dream about my mom, I hope to see her in the dream. I love you, Mom.



  1. I lost my mom to pancreatic cancer earlier this year. It is still very hard. We were not very close and i thought that would make it easier but I think it made it a WHOLE lot harder. So many questions unanswered, so many wishes and so many regrets. It is hard to accept she is gone. I lost her in October just 6 days before I turned 36. I went to visit her in the hospice the week before she died. She had one day while I was there that she seemed to return back to who mom use to be, she had a slice of birthday cake with me, she visited with family and she talked to my kids on the phone. The hospice told us it is not unusual for them to have that one day where they look like they are recovering. Hard and sad but very happy I had that one last time to celebrate with her. I had to return to my home in the US…she lived in Canada. It was the HARDEST thing ever to jump on a plane and come home days before she died because I knew when she said goodbye I would NEVER see her alive again. The morning I left she could barely open her eyes and she didn’t say goodbye. I held her and I cried. I knew it would be soon. Pancreatic cancer is a NASTY killer and I wish someone would find a cure!!! I feel for every person who has lost a parent or any loved one to this ugly illness and I wish I could give my mom one more big hug! I have never had any dreams about Mom since she died in Oct and that makes me sad. I have faith that we will see each other one day soon! God bless you and I hope we can both heal from such a terrible loss.

    • Hi Judy: Sorry for the delay in responding. I’m sorry you lost your mom to pancreatic cancer. I understand how you feel. Although I saw my mom almost every week, and at the end almost every day, when she died I was filled with regrets, things I wished I had said or done, or didn’t say or do. My relationship with my mom wasn’t a smooth one for many years. I brought the kids over to my parents house, but there was distance within myself. Then suddenly my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I felt like I had limited time to make things “right”. Although I didn’t get to say all I wanted to, I knew in my heart that my mom knew I loved her when she died. But it wasn’t enough. The guilt and regrets consumed me, along with the grief. It took me years to move forward and to accept that my mom understood and that she is ok. I hope you find peace and heal. I hope things get easier for you. I wish you the best. Take care.

  2. i’ve had 2 dreams about my dad who we lost in april 2012. A few other times he’s been IN a dream, but it wasn’t about him. These 2 woke me & i remember them vividly. One we were on a sinking ship & he wouldn’t come with me; the other we were in a building that was about to blow-up & he just wanted to sit & rest. So bizarre, I think he was he was trying to tell me that he was done fighting & ready to go.

    • Dreams can be so strange. Sometimes they bring us happiness, but other times they haunt us. I think you’re right about your interpretation of the 2 dreams you had about your dad. They may be a message from him. As strange as it sounds, I do believe that. I know my mom gave given me messages through my dreams. Thanks for sharing. Take care.

  3. Sometimes words aren’t enough. No one can provide the comfort that a mother can provide – that warm protective hug. But she lives on within you.

    And maybe your dream is a way of telling you that even though she is gone – there is still so much support you can find with family, friends and even your fellow bloggers who have been through loss and understand what it’s like. So in your stress, in your low moments – you are never alone =)

    • Hi. My fellow bloggers are like family to me. They have helped me to grieve and to heal. They understand like few people around me do. For that, I am grateful. Maybe you’re right in a way, that my dream is telling me that I am not alone. I actually am connected (LinkedIn) to a college friend of my mom’s, who I found about a year ago. She had no idea my mom had died. Eventually, we will meet. I will get learn a whole other side of my mom. The college girl who studied so hard and was very much in love. I do feel there’s more to this dream. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Take care.

  4. I love having dreams in which my mom is part of my current life…I wake up and all feels right in the world, if only for a few seconds.

    Though more than once, I’ve dreamt that my mom has actually not been dead for a year…but yet she’s still terminally ill. So I find out that not only have I wasted the last year in mourning, but now I only have a few weeks left to spend time with her. I always seem to wake up before we reunite — which leads to quite a rollercoaster of emotions: mom’s alive, but she’s still dying, no wait she’s still dead. It’s crazy.

    I hope your mom comes to you in a GOOD dream soon.

    • Thanks Jen. Dreams can be so odd. Like Denise said above – they can make you happy, sad, or afraid. I had a dream once where my mom came to see me at a TKD tournament and I knew I had to do well because she was sick and it was the last time she’d see me at a tournament. I wanted to win for my mom. The best dreams are when my mom is just with me. I hope you have some good dreams too. Take care.

  5. Isn’t it amazing how dreams can make us happy, sad, or afraid?
    My experience with dreams is that it’s usually something I haven’t quite processed fully yet.
    I hope you get to walk with your mom in your dreams again, Kathy.

    • Thanks Denise. I hope I can figure out the meaning of these dreams. I really miss my mom today – it hurts and I am sad. I hope I can walk with my mom in my dreams again too. Take care.

  6. My mom died in 1983 and I still miss her and still have dreams where she appears. I think that is natural and normal when we are under stress or making big decisions in our lives. My mom was my security blanket and favorite comfort food all wrapped up together. Hugs.

    • Thanks Jean for your comment. Yes, I think you’re right in that stress makes us miss those we’ve loved and lost even more. My mom was a big source of support in my life. I didn’t always take her advice but I knew she was there for me, always willing to help. Hugs to you. Take care.

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