And here we arrive at yet another healing milestone. Tomorrow will be fifteen years since the most violent attack I endured at Noah’s hand. While time has continued to march forward this date has been one that has been the most difficult to overcome. This year I have been met with a pleasant surprise. Where I can usually sense the trauma anniversaries on the horizon several days before the actual anniversary, this year most of them have come and gone with out so much as a blip on my somatic radar. Today was no exception. I only realized the significance of the date as I sat down to turn in one of my last assignments for the semester. It made me pause to reflect on what was different about this year as opposed to the previous fourteen years.
As I was mulling over the changes I’ve overcome during the past year I was pouring through my private social media archives. As open as I am about things here and in my books, there are still many things about my healing journey that I keep to myself. I felt that it was one of those moments during the past year that held the key. During my journey through my archives I noticed about five years ago I began to have… not exactly recurring dreams, but similar dreams that had the same basic theme about them. It sparked my curiosity enough that I did some additional digging.
What I found made me chuckle. My subconscious figured out the ultimate key to my trauma symptoms long before my waking mind caught up, and going back with my new insight it was amusing and frustrating all at once. I have wrestled with this demon in my head for SO LONG, and just sort of accepted the level of healing I had been stuck on as the end. As much as I wanted to continue to heal and return to the elusive “pre-trauma” state that most survivors strive to attain, I accepted that it was likely impossible. Then… voila! My waking mind FINALLY made the connection that my subconscious had been hinting at for ever and I transcended to a new level of healing.
I still don’t understand exactly WHY this particular moment in my past was the linchpin to unlock the final level of my healing. It was significant as my brain held onto it for so long, but it seemed so fleeting and trivial in the moment itself I never considered it important to my healing journey. Haha. SURPRISE.
The first dream I was in labor. For some reason I was in the desert of Utah. Hubs was with me, and we were taking a road trip driving along several weeks before my due date with my doctor’s blessing. Suddenly the contractions started and I absolutely had to get back to Indianapolis to deliver my babies. I couldn’t just stop at any old hospital in Utah, no, it had to be MY hospital. So Hubs did some quick googling and we found the nearest airport which happened to be a military base. Don’t ask me how we got on to this military base and why they agreed to fly me to Indianapolis, but they did. We ended up on some giant cargo plane. Like drove the car right in and took off. Then for some reason that only makes logical sense in dream land, our pilot bailed. Literally jumped out of the plane and said: “good luck!”
So our plane is losing altitude and spiraling to an inevitable fiery doom, I’m about to deliver my babies, and Hubs is paralyzed with fear. When out of nowhere, Bo shows up, takes the controls, saves the plane and delivers us safely to Indianapolis where an ambulance is waiting to whisk me to the hospital where I safely deliver my babies.
That, among other reasons, is why my youngest son is named after a pilot. I chalked that up entirely to pregnancy hormones. It was so unusual for Bo, Noah’s dad of all people, to randomly show up to save the day even in my subconscious that I just sort of dismissed it.
Second dream a few months later: I had the children with me, all three of them, and something had happened our house so we moved back to Ohio. For some reason Hubs stayed in Indiana. The kids and I found an apartment, and everything was going along fairly well. Then some sort of nuclear disaster happened. The kids and I were traveling on the highway, but the road was closed and we couldn’t get anywhere. I was stopped by two military officers and trying to plead with them why I needed to get through to find my husband. Just when I was about to give up, I was on my hands and knees, the kids were all crying: here comes Bo, yet again. Saving the day. He offered to take me and the kids to safety until we could contact Hubs. I obliged, we all went with Bo and arrived at this secluded farmhouse with a lake. Noah was in this dream and he was NOT happy that Bo showed up with me and the kids in tow. We fought like cats and dogs the entire time I stayed there with Bo, Cheri and Noah. Then, Hubs finally arrived, thanked Bo; and off we went back to our own secluded shelter.
No idea where that one came from, although it is interesting that I had this dream at the very beginning of 2016; then the kids and I did wind up in Ohio for a while that following May. I did fight with Noah a lot, but Bo never interceded to save the day and there was obviously no nuclear disaster.
The final dream Mia and myself were locked in a heated competition. For some reason we were in Japan and Bo was there and it was really weird. Noah was no where to be found, but the entire thing took place between Mia, myself, and Bo. The final act of this competition was to kidnap a random elderly woman off the street, stuff her into a closet, and sever her limbs. If either Mia or myself completed this task– which was the last task in a slew of ridiculous tasks– we would win this golden medallion and there would be peace between our families.
When I learned of the last task, taking an innocent human life, I refused. The golden medallion wasn’t worth taking a life, and I could live with the constant bickering if I had to in order to spare inflicting suffering upon someone else. I walked away from the challenge (which was on the roof of some 50 story building for some reason) and made my way back to the airport. The airport which for some reason was the Dayton, Ohio airport even though we were in Japan.
So I’m standing in line at the security check point right, when Bo suddenly appears and pulls me out of line. He hands me the medallion and promises that I won’t have any more trouble from Noah. I was confused. I didn’t take the medallion and insisted that I hadn’t completed all of the tasks set before me. Bo only smiled and said: “I know. The last task was the most important. It was a test.”
At that point, somehow, Mia shows up in the middle of the airport with a bloody trash bag claiming her victory. She sees me standing with Bo, and immediately starts screaming and kicking and insisting that she won as security tackles her and drags her out. Bo and I just sort of exchanged the same disgusted glance and then I got back in line and went home to a giant celebration with my husband and kids.
Now, of course, these dreams all happened right around the time my twins were born and dropping hormones do some REALLY crazy things to your subconscious. It also happened right around the holidays when the memory Bo and Cheri giving me the Japanese charm was at the surface of my mind. It’s not difficult to piece together how my mind wove all of those things into one fantastical dream.
And yet… five years after the first dream, now that I’ve made peace with the final lingering thread of lies that Noah wound so tightly around his past it turns out… Bo really was the key to my final level of healing. He didn’t do anything except remain honest the last time we spoke face to face almost twenty years ago, but for some reason… that very brief moment of truth, ten minutes of awkward conversation on a February afternoon was the missing piece required to release the final whispers of my repressed trauma.
As I’ve pondered exactly what it was that made that moment so significant that my subconscious refused to let it go, I think it really ties back into how Noah portrayed Bo in his lies and how much that quiet moment between Bo and myself conflicted with everything that Noah ever said about him. I had one image of Bo created entirely by Noah in the front of my mind and my subconscious intuition yelling at me from the back and my logic running interference from the middle.
Logic told me that I never had the opportunity to form a relationship with any of Noah’s family. Noah lived within the family unit his entire life. Logically, I should have been able to trust Noah’s assessment of their character over my intuition. If Noah was honest that might have been the case. Once I discovered that Noah was a habitual and compulsive liar, my intuition began to scream a little bit louder. My subconscious joined in on the fun, but the puzzle pieces would just not click into place in my waking mind.
Maybe it was simply because I was too busy working on other things like maintaining a relationship with my husband and raising my kids. Maybe that’s why all of these giant revelations happened this year. 2020, the year when everything slowed down, subscriptions to newspapers.com were affordable, and I had boat loads of free time to unravel the remainder of Noah’s lies.
I really have no idea. lol. I just know that this year on the eve of my most traumatic event memory to date, I feel…. an overwhelming calm that sticks out only because it hasn’t been that way for such a very long time. A decade and a half. It feels wonderful.