What Memories Linger?

“My dreams have turned violent lately, lots of blood.  What could that mean?”

“What does blood represent to you?”

“Well passion, life giving, but these dreams have a woman being decapitated, a baby being cut with scissors, and it always occurs in connection to my childhood home.”

“Not life giving, then.”

“I usually convert the dreams to poetry and at first thought that they might be more societal, but the current ones are getting very personal.”

“Could they be related to the rape?”

I pause to ponder the question.  I was abducted by a stranger as a teenager and held overnight in an abandonned farmhouse, until the perpetrator dropped me at the side of a highway the following morning.

“I thought I had worked through all that,” I tell my therapist.  “Could these be memories resurfacing?”

“It’s possible.  The subconscious does pick its moments. Let’s keep monitoring the dreams together.”

My mom calls later that day.  I ask her if I ever witnessed violence as a kid.

“The only things I can think of took place while I was pregnant with you,” she says.  “I mean that was a crazy time… even though he had left me, I couldn’t dare tell my first husband that I was pregnant with you…I knew he’d kill me…then your Dad and I won custody of the kids in the divorce trial and I was to get half of the assets of the house…”

I wonder if Mom remembers that I’m on the other end of the phone, she just keeps rattling on as if unwinding a ball of yarn that has been wound tight for years.

“He was a clever one, Reg…waited till your Dad was at work…walked right into the kitchen and came up behind me….I had no time to react…you were in my belly…wanted me to sign over my portion of the divorce settlement…what could I do…I had no choice…same as when he came for the boys…grabbed the baby right out of my arms…I hung on as long as I could, but I knew it was hurting your brother, so I had to let go.  He came again another time to see your sisters, but Stan was home then…your Dad dragged Reg out into the yard and beat the crap out of him…what could I do…I had no control.”

She stops here for a moment, then adds:  “But you were still inside me…you didn’t witness any of it.”

Didn’t I?  How much does a third semester child register of the world beyond the safety of the womb?  Could my mother’s emotions have trickled down to me?  Questions to ask at my next therapy session.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

3 thoughts on “What Memories Linger?

  1. Wow. I’m so sorry. I had a nightmare last night where I thrashed and screamed stop and no, no, no….I was trying to get words out as I began to awake but they were stuck. I keep wondering what it was.


    1. Hard to tell with dreams – they have so many layers of meanings. I try to work with the metaphorical first. i.e. is there a part of your life right now where you feel like kicking and screaming no?

      Liked by 1 person

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