Last night I had a dream about Dylan and it was unlike any dream I had had before. In this dream, Dylan was alive again and he was chatting to the rest of the family about something, I can't remember what exactly. At one point my mum had a book that turned out to be a collection of all the books we had made as children. It was all the stories we had written in primary school, one after another, covering about a decade of our lives. I wanted to read what my brother and sisters had written, but of course I couldn't see any detail- I don't know what they wrote in real life, and I only recognised glimpses of what I made myself. Anyway, that seemed to be an important part of the dream, the idea that deep in my past there are things that I'll never get back. In this dream my mum and my older sister were also in the same room and talking to each other, or at least not avoiding each other. They're not on speaking terms in real life (for whatever reason, I've lost since given up trying to work out why or how to fix things between them.) Either two things had happened- Dylan had come back and that was enough to make us all come together, or I had actually gone back in time in this dream to when were still a single family instead of different individuals.
What was different about this dream was that for once I was happy that Dylan was around again. Previously when I had dreams about Dylan being alive again it's always been very disturbing to me, because I know someone died and someone was cremated. When it turns out to be a different person that this happened it suddenly becomes very, very disturbing. Why did my family choose to cremate a stranger instead of burying them? Why choose the one method the completely destroys all evidence of who that person was? Why was I the only member of the family that never saw Dylan's body? There are good reasons behind all these choices we made, and many of them are mundane. For me, I'd rather not have a grave to visit because I'd very rarely, if ever, visit it. I'd rather carry the grief with me as part of me, than have it be something I can "visit". There also seems something very conventional and traditional about burial. By going with with the slightly less conventional and more modern option we said that Dylan was special to us and relevant. I never got to see Dylan's body because it was height of summer and I visited Crewe at least twice- once when it was too soon to see the body and once when it was too late. If I had traveled on a different day I might have seen his body.
But somewhere in the back of my mind is the possibility that maybe he didn't really die. In most of my dreams this possibility is so sinister that I don't even want to consider it. In this dream I accepted that he was alive and I enjoyed his company. It was part way through the dream that I realised the problem, and I wanted to talk to Dylan about it, but for various reasons I never got the chance. (The dream moved on to a standard "I'm back at school, or maybe university, I'm running late, have no idea of where to go or what to do" etc) As I thought about it I remembered that one of the contributing factors to Dylan's suicide was that he had lost a lot of money, was could have been deep in debt. Disappearing for a few years seemed like a sensible way to solve that problem, but it still meant putting me and the rest of the family through the process of bereavement. So I wanted to talk to Dylan about that as well, but again I didn't get the chance. In my head I'd created the possibility that Dylan was still alive and even justified it to myself. I don't even know where to begin finding out what that means. Maybe it means nothing.
It's probably worth pointing out that recently I took part in a stand up comedy act, and one of the jokes, in fact the biggest joke of my set, revolved around the wrong cat being cremated. At one point the character in the joke (actually my mum, as this is based on a true story) finds out that she cremated the wrong cat and she's overjoyed to find her cat still alive and well. At the time it was just a funny joke that went down well with the audience. Looking back, I can't really tell what to make of it. Was that some idea that was in the back of my mind that I wanted to explore? Or did the joke leave something for my mind to wrestle with in the form of a dream? Or was it just a coincidence? I have no idea, but whatever the case is, it is a bit chilling to look back at that joke and compare it to the dream I had.