What does it mean to really live?

Last night was the first time ever that my husband and I ever had the house or the night completely to ourselves, kid-less. I was kinda shocked because both of my kids voluntarily left to stay at their grandparents. Mostly shocked at my youngest because she’s such a homebody. But none the less, it happened and I was looking forward to lots and lots and lots of undisturbed sleep. But that didn’t happen.

No, it’s not what you’re probably thinking. I’d like to keep this post as PG as possible, ha ha. I actually had a nightmare that felt like it lasted all night long and it would not stop.

In September, it will make ten years my mother passed away. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for me to have dreams about her. For the first few years, I have only dreamt of her being sick, looking sick and not speaking to me. Every time she would visit me in my dreams, I wanted a visual of the real her, I wanted her hug, her laugh, her smile and her voice. It wouldn’t be until about two years ago that she would start to appear more normal in my dreams but she’s never happy in any of them.

Before I go into the debilitating nightmare I had last night, I will share one of my last dreams of her.

We were in my grandfathers house, this is where majority of my dreams take place. Not just of her, just..all of my happiest childhood memories are there so I guess that’s where my subconscious takes me. In this particular dream, my husband and I were upstairs asleep with the girls. The girls were restless and we were tired of struggling to get them to sleep so we came downstairs. On the way downstairs, I could hear sobbing. I came around the corner and into the side bedroom. (In real life, that used to be her bedroom.) As I’m walking in, I see my mother sitting at the edge of the bed, gripping my Erin Condren Life Planning Calendar to her chest and she is sobbing so hard. I walked up to her and asked her what was wrong and she would only shake her head. (Remember, my mother doesn’t speak to me in my dreams..) I asked again and again and she would only shake her head, until finally she started repeatedly telling me she was sorry. I told her it was okay and she held up my calendar to my face and said,” No, Christen, I’m so sorry, I changed everything. I’m so sorry.”

When I woke up, I was so overwhelmed with emotions I didn’t understand. In my dream, I knew she wasn’t alive but she was right in front of me. I was happy I heard her voice, finally. I was upset because it was just another nightmare that I had to wake up from. I was crippled at the details of the dream itself. She was gripping my calendar and she said she changed everything. Was this a real message from her? Was it just my mind playing games with me? No matter what the real answer is, I like to believe that it was really her coming to me and apologizing for how her orchestrated death truly altered the rest of my life.

My dream last night had somewhat of a crippling affect on me this morning. You know how sometimes you’re in the middle of a dream and you wake up and you try to go back to sleep to see what happens next? But that never happens? It happened to me last night. I was in and out of this dream all night long.

In last nights particular dream, I had already dealt with my mother’s death once. Only, she wasn’t buried and in the ground. My mother’s first death was everything about her fading out to nothing. Her smile was gone, her charisma had vanished, she wasn’t present anymore, she lost all love for people including her family and her life. She was basically a potato. She was alive but she wasn’t living. If that makes any sense.

When I heard the words,” Your mother died again” in my dream, it shattered me. The pain I felt was the same as the day I actually did watch her die. As I held her hand, as I watched the monitors numbers drop lower and lower by the minute, as I sunk to the floor, as I lost all feeling in my entire body inside and out and began to cry to the point I couldn’t breathe anymore. I felt that same hurt in that nightmare.

When I got up this morning to my husband already being gone to work and my children away at their grandparents, I was just as alone as I felt in my bad dream and on the real day she died. I got dressed, I got in my truck, I went to the gym..and in between sets, I had an epiphany.

How many of us suffer multiple deaths? I know you’re probably thinking, um..we only die once lady. Hear me out, I’m talking hypothetically, how many of us only have a pulse but no passion or purpose? How many of us stop living because life gets too hard, we go through the motions or handling all of the things is too much to bear? How many of us settle because we are too afraid to pursue the steps that it takes to get us to the next place in life? How many of us quit because we can’t take the heat?

How many of us can actually answer that question honestly and say I am still living up to my absolute best potential and I am showing up every single day? Not for her, not for him, or any of them..but for you. How many of us can actually say with pride that you have the ability to push with stride when things get hard?

Are you even living? Who is really living before they punch that clock one last time? I don’t know about you..but I want to live.


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Christen Patin

Wife. Girl Mom. Farmhouse. Jesus. Coffee. Beauty.

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