Sad Calm

I once had this dream.

I was living in an old house. It was three floors tall and dangerously skinny. The house was leaning, but solid. It was skimming a silent, silver lake. The weeds and yellowing wildflowers outside were dusted with ice. The sunshine was cold and lifeless; and everything was gray — like an eternally impending rainstorm.

In most of my nightmares, I’m confused. I hate being confused. I’m a thinker. I like to figure things out. I like to understand. I like to know the answer. Confusion is born of lack of knowledge. So, in my nightmares, I’m confused.

But this was different.

This dream was a nightmare. Not because I was confused, but because of what I knew. In my dream, I knew I was spending my last day with my husband. He was going to die. And we both knew it. We filled our day with simple joys, and it was beautiful. And then we said goodbye. And that was it. He was gone.

I remember neighbors from my childhood home coming to grieve with me, though I remember feeling alone. I remember sitting on the floor of the third-story bedroom. The dusty hardwood beneath me. The homemade quilts on the bed. And the gray.

When I woke up, I sobbed. I woke Jeff up and hugged him with everything I’ve got.

The eery part of the dream, though, was the calm. Sad calm.

Last night, I watched this video. First, I felt bad for her family. Her husband. Her mother. They were going to experience one of those “last days” — like the one in my dream.

But then, I watched How to Die in Oregon. It’s a documentary film about the “Death with Dignity” law. It’s uncomfortable and difficult to watch, but that’s why I recommend it.

After the film, I felt sad and grateful and confused and enlightened. I had more questions than answers. I felt empathy for those people like they were my mom, husband, grandpa or grandma. I felt love for them and their families. I felt love for others like them, though they are unknown to me.

And, I realized, I can’t understand it all.

I’m not trying to convince anybody to pick a side on this topic. If anything, I encourage you not to pick a side yet. First, listen. Really listen.

“But let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all… See that ye love one another” (Doctrine & Covenants 88:122-3).

Honestly, I don’t know where I stand on the issue. I’m processing. And I think that’s a good thing. I’m grateful I can’t fully understand.

I’m grateful I don’t know.

I do know this: Last night I dreamt I was the sick one. And Jeff and I knew when my suffering would stop. And we were calm. Sad and calm.

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