K. Tempest Bradford

K. Tempest Bradford

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I Still Have That Dream

I Still Have That Dream

Been wondering why I’m in such a funk lately, then my calendar reminded me again this morning that today is my mother’s birthday. Her name is Marjorie Bradford and she died 13 years ago now, but the pain feels pretty fresh whenever I stop to think about her (which is often).

For many years after her death I tried to write a story that encapsulated how I felt about what happened and how much I loved her, but nothing ever came out quite right.

After she died, I had tons of dreams about her, but most of them had a common theme. In them, I was often aware that I only had a little bit of time to spend with her because I understood that she was sick and still dying. In some dreams she was very sick, in others almost completely healthy. A few times in my dreams I even asked her “How much time do we have?” and she’d say “Only a little while” or “A few days” or something.

It was as if, in my dreamscape, I was able to roll back the clock a little and revive her, but not completely and for good.

In mulling over why she almost always manifested in this way in my dreams led me to finally being able to write a story about her that did all of my memories and feelings and her impact on me justice. The story is “Elan Vital” and you can read or listen to it over at Escape Pod.

I’ve never read that story in public and probably never will because any attempt to do so will end up with me curling up in a ball sobbing. I don’t even read it to myself for that same reason.

However, when the story first appeared on the podcast I saw so many people praising the reading of it, I decided to listen to just a few minutes. I ended up listening to the whole thing. Mur Lafferty, as you may know, is an extremely talented reader. She did such justice to that story I can’t praise her enough.

Happy birthday, mom. I miss you and love you and I still have that dream.


  1. Veronica Schanoes Veronica Schanoes on 09.10.2012 at 23:57 [link] (Reply)

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and I’m thinking of you.

  2. Kate Schaefer Kate Schaefer on 10.10.2012 at 00:23 [link] (Reply)

    You never get over grief, you never get over loss; you just get to a place where you can deal with it.

    And that story is a fine, fine story, and a punch in the gut. I can see why you can’t read it in public. I’m glad you wrote it, though.

  3. N. K. Jemisin N. K. Jemisin on 10.10.2012 at 01:10 [link] (Reply)

    That’s an awesome tribute. Always loved that story. I’m sure your mom does too, because of course she’s heard it. ::ehugs::

  4. Sarah Brandel Sarah Brandel on 10.10.2012 at 07:17 [link] (Reply)

    It was my dad’s birthday last week. He died 12 years ago, very suddenly, of a heart defect no one knew he had. When I dream about him, which is relatively rare, I am either relieved or accusatory. “Aren’t you supposed to be dead?” I ask him, wondering if he knows this or not, and where he’s been, and how long he’ll be back. I always hug him. I always cry.

    I’m not quite past it, either, or to a place I can fully deal with it. I often cry when he comes up in conversation, or when we visit his grave, which isn’t often, since he’s buried out in the middle of MN farm country, near where he grew up.

    Many hugs for your loss, and I hope that your dreams give you some comfort. Mine do, even when they make me cry.

  5. Victoria Janssen Victoria Janssen on 10.10.2012 at 08:45 [link] (Reply)

    Thanks for the link. I’m sorry for your loss, no matter how long ago.

    It’s only been 10 years for me.

  6. Mary Robinette Kowal Mary Robinette Kowal on 10.10.2012 at 14:52 [link] (Reply)

    Oh, my dear. I read that story without knowing its origin and it gutted me. Knowing it now? Beautiful and even more heart-wrenching.

  7. Janaline Darrington Janaline Darrington on 24.09.2013 at 10:08 [link] (Reply)

    I discovered this on Flip Board! And Im SOOoooo, GLAD I did! Im SO SorrY for your Loss. I do hv a mother and she is alive and well..BUT has NEVER been a Mother. I can see thru your writings that You loved your mom Very much. It was certainly a Heart wrenching story for Me. I wish you Continued SUCCESS in your Future Writings! ~JAN

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I'm a writer, most often committing acts of genre (fantasy, science fiction, and other stretches of the imagination). You can find my short stories in many and various magazines and anthologies and podcasts. In addition to being a writer I also engage in activism and fandom -- often both at once.