Although I have not experienced any dreams involving my deceased 26-year-old son Marshall, I did dream about his cat Chervony two weeks after he died from old age. When he was alive and before old age set in, Chervony was a clean, fluffy ball of Creamsicle-colored orange. Sometimes, in fact, I nicknamed him “Chervon-sicle.”
For about 16 years, he was our household’s alpha cat. That is, until alpha-male number-two Sam, a black cat, about six years younger, arrived with my new roomie slightly over two years ago. For the first six months guttural meowing sounds, screeching, hissing, growling as well as black and orange hair flying were the customary background in our house.
Miraculously, by the second year, tempers simmered down and both alphas tolerated one another. Chervony, aging and ailing with a newly diagnosed thyroid condition, started to nest in the bathroom corner. Subsequently, I took an unusual liking to Sam, who, as it turned out, was terrified of Chervony. For over a year, I showered undivided attention on Sam until the day came when I realized that I unintentionally neglected Chervony. Though, in his last months of life, I tried to make up for my careless behavior, I felt tremendously guilty, especially after my son’s cat died.
Circling back to my dream, Chervony, reflecting a chromatic peach color, sprinted over Sam who was laying in front of him. It was as if, although the details are hazy, this ball of fire was going to spill into my open arms. What I know for certain is that in the dream, Chervony was vibrant, happy. Upon awakening, I felt all was forgiven and he held no grudges against me for my playing favoritism. In fact, it was one of those few mornings that I actually felt like my old self at least for a few minutes; light and carefree, before my son’s death.
All I can say is that I don’t know if this dream about my son’s cat symbolizes that my son is “in a better place.” (My womb of grief whispers there’s no better place than home with me and with those who are lost without him and who are conducting a daily mental search party for him, especially his younger sister.) However, since losing him, I don’t attempt to flex my muscles anymore and hold up and arrange the building blocks in life’s space. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: there are things in life that I don’t understand, and I’m okay with that today.
It’s been said way too much, “faith is believing.”
For me right now, doubt is better than belief. Raising my hands up and surrendering releases me from control, and I can exhale and live one more day. Just one more day I can open the dark blue drapes on the bedroom window and let the sunlight stream in with its Creamsicle-orange glow, a whisper of hope and energy that spills over my arms into my soul.