Open your eyes. OPEN YOUR EYES NOW.
I'm driving. Fast. But I've fallen asleep at the wheel and I need to wake up NOW and take control
Try as I might, I cannot force my eyes open.
I can feel the momentum of the speeding car and the play of the steering wheel against my hand, I sense my vehicle careening abruptly to the left - am I intuitively following the curve of the road or steering off-course? Should I slam on the brakes, or keep moving with what might be the flow of the surrounding traffic?
Panic overwhelms me.
And then I wake up.
* * * * *
This recurring dream has been playing over and over in my head for the last few weeks. With variations, the plot line repeats itself several times each night, taxing my psyche and keeping me from sound sleep.
I may be edgy and exhausted, but I most certainly do not need Dr Freud to break down this one for me:
My life feels overwhelmingly speeded up and out of control. As much as I want to regain control over my journey, I cannot see the road ahead and I'm grasping at straws as I try to guess what I might do next.
But what part of my life is causing such anxiety and uncertainty?
Easy. My mother's dementia.
Just me driving home from Target tonight. With both eyes wide open.
We are at the point in her illness now where Mom can no longer make good decisions about her own care. Bless her, the dementia has swallowed up a good portion of my mother's critical thinking skills, and filled in that space with hallucinations, paranoia, anger and fear.
She would not like to admit it, but my mother is very much afraid these days.
And when I think of the responsibility I have for making good decisions on her behalf, I am scared too. This is a frightening place for both of us, and we have quite a few good reasons to feel fear.
* * * * *
But here is what I hang on to.
In that wild, speeding, out-of-control car of my dreams, I am completely alone.
In real life, I have support and help and guidance.
I am not alone
and my mother is not alone.
No matter what comes next in this crazy road race that is dementia, we will figure it out together.
So, recurring dreams notwithstanding, I plan to live with my eyes open and trust that we won't crash.