Monday 16 November 2009

End Of Life Experiences to donate to the lovely hospice that danced Steve out of this life. And does so daily, hourly, for countless others. for my general website
antonia.rolls1@btinternet if you want to contact me

I wonder did anyone else experience extraordinary dreams when someone they knew and loved died? At the time of Steve's death, nothing was out of the ordinary. The world had turned upside down and nothing made sense to me. I remember thinking that only if he walked into the room and said something, would I recognize an end of life visitation. I was disappointed that he didn't walk into our bedroom and say something profound. I was scornful of dreams because the absence of Steve at home deserved more than a mere dream. I expected a bit more of him, and a proper show would have been more to my taste. I was angry. No doubt about that. So an appearence in full fishing gear, and a proper conversation where he explained himself to me, with flashing lights and thunder for effect, was the very least I wanted.

What I got was sweet and kind and beautiful. I came home and my mother and daughter gave me lunch. My brother came to look after the kids and I lay on the sofa where he spent his last night with me, and cried and cried and cried. My daughter, then only 17, made her bed up for me and told me I was sleeping with her for the while. In the night, I dreamt we were in the Hospice by his bed. He had just died and I was standing bemused at the end of his bed. In through the ward door walked my healthy Steve in his fishing gear, his lovely face full and healthy, his body strong and energetic as he walked to me and took me in his arms. He gave me a hug and turned without speaking and walked back out of the door. I wanted him to stay and turned round to a figure next to me that I knew was not Steve but looked like him and this figure folded me in its arms. I was filled with the most wonderful peace and joy and love. In the dream I felt this love was more than the human body could stand, it was so much deeper than anything I could experience in my life. I knew this was not the Steve that had walked back out of the Hospice ward door. I was something that looked like Steve but in my dream I knew it was not him. That embrace was the most powerful expression of love that I have ever known.

When I look back on this dream, it is everthing I wanted and needed. At the time, I took it in my stride as just another Thing, which could not touch me then, or so I thought. But I take huge comfort now. I am so glad it was not a Bells Ringing Bolt From The Sky experience. That would have been inappropriate and dramatic simply because I was in turmoil myself. This was a gentle and typically kind goodbye from a wonderful man, in his own way.

There was one more time when I felt him. I spoke to our local Arts Jounalist, a very good and clever man, about putting on this exhibition. It was a risk, it meant I was going public with these paintings, and what I was doing, and I was very nervous. I didn't know when the article would be published either, and was checking each week to see if it was in the paper. One Wednesday night, I was puzzled and very happy, to have spent the night with Steves hands holding my head. Later that day I began to hear from people shocked and interested at the local newspaper article, describing the exhibition I was hoping to mount on the End Of A Life with Cancer. The article had come out the morning I woke with the impression that Steve had been holding my head all night in his hands.

There is, I hope, another article coming out on 30 November about this Graceful Death exhibition by the same journalist. I wonder if I will dream of Steve again. He is the star of the show.

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