I just woke up from a dream about my brother. It's been a long time since I've had any dreams about Greg, though for a while after he died, I had dreams about him all the time.
The dreams were always fairly simple and innocent, we'd be doing normal things just like he was here with us and it was the most natural thing in the world. I'd wake up from them and it would take some time before it hit me that it wasn't natural anymore. I only got to see him in dreams and photographs.
This one was no different, with one major exception: we told Greg he was going to be an uncle.
In this dream, he was the Greg in the picture above, lean and healthy and short hair. I was home in CT, visiting my parents. We went to pick Greg up, because he was taking a break from hiking the Appalachain Trail. Something he planned to do but never got to do. But he was hiking it in pieces, going north to south (most people travel south to north, which is most efficient, weather/season-wise). He'd made it from Maine to Virginia, in pieces, and was back for a visit. We had a short time with him and then we were dropping him off to meet someone he was hitching a ride with back to Virginia to continue hiking.
Greg was happy, smiling and laughing and talking about the trail. There were some things going on in the middle of the dream, just everyday normal things around the house. Then Mike and I told him that he was going to be an uncle. And here's where it gets slightly surreal, the first time a dream about him has ever veered from everyday life mundane things.
In response, he smiled this almost ethereal smile and said gently, "I'm already an uncle."
I think we got all the way to dropping him off with his ride back to the trail, but I don't really remember anymore of the dream. I woke up and a few minutes later, the dream hit me pretty hard, the way they always used to. Where it takes a minute to realize it was only a dream and Greg really is dead.
But what he said in the dream is really sticking with me. Was he trying to tell me that he already knows our baby? He's already watching out for him/her? I'm not sure, but I can tell you two things: That is a comforting thought. And that is the first time one of my dreams about him has ever veered even slightly into the surreal.
You know what the best part is, though? I got to see him smile, like he was right here next to me. Even if it's just for today, I remember my brother's smile.