I had a couple of odd dreams recently. Wednesday night I dreamed that I was living with my husband and son on Guernsey Island, off the coast of England, during the second world war. I was a midwife and medical assistant, and by this time the only person in my village with any sort of medical background. Jon Morgan was seven years old.
It was June 1940, and we had all grown increasingly anxious since the fall of Paris to the Nazis. We expected them to invade the channel islands next. The threat grew closer and closer, and the terror and sense of oppression grew.
More and more, we could the booming of guns in the distance. The village was on a hill, and we had a spot at the village green with chairs to sit on, used for viewing concerts in friendlier time. But there was a clear view down into the valley. Some of us took to sitting there and watching the valley to the south. At first there was nothing, except sounds that could have been off-shore. Gradually, wisps of smoke rose, detaching themselves from low-lying clouds. The Germans would be here soon, maybe in a day or two. But there was nothing we could do to stop the invasion. There weren’t enough of us, and few islanders were armed. We had resigned ourselves to living under occupation.
Someone came running to ask me to come quickly. A boy had been injured in an accident. I left Bob and Jon Morgan and scrambled off to help. The boy had broken a leg. It needed cleaning, setting, and stitching. Once I was finished, I made my way back to the village green. Before I’d even arrived, I could hear sobbing. The valley was filled with the smoke, and the guns were close. Twice as many people as before were crowded onto the village green. Residents of the surrounding hills must have flocked to the village for safety. Or maybe the Germans had been sweeping through the countryside, forcing everyone together.
I ran to the chairs where I’d left my husband and son, but they were gone. Someone was urging everyone to stay in family groups; the Nazis might try to separate us, and that would give us the best chance of staying with our families. But I couldn’t find Bob and Jon Morgan.
“They’re here!” someone screamed. “The Germans are here!”
German jeeps rolled up, and officers started barking orders, telling people to stand in rows on the green. I searched and searched for my little boy, but there were too many people. “He’s only seven years old!” I remember crying. “He needs his mother.”
That’s when I woke up.
I’m not sure where Guernsey and World War II came from. But the day before I’d been looking at a photo of my son at age seven. But I also think this dream was really about the pandemic. My husband is fully vaccinated and I knew I was scheduled for my final vaccination dose this weekend. But our son, who is actually 19, was still too young and healthy for his turn to come up. I’ve been so worried about him contracting the virus at school, and so powerless to do anything about it.
On Thursday, he texted to say his university had gotten a lot of doses and would be vaccinating students! So his turn is coming. What a relief. That news seems to have affected my subconscious; Thursday night’s dream also dealt with separation from my son. But it was more closely connected to the virus, with hope replacing dread.
Because this is getting too long, I’m going to end this here, and write about the second dream tomorrow.