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Waking the Dead

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Dreaming about death can be a terrifying and cold song, so much so that when you wake up the raw emotions remain with you such as the case at 4am this morning.  You’re like a plane that wants to land, but the landing gear won’t drop.   And when you wake up you can’t get back to sleep again because you’re terrified and too afraid to analyze it.  The raw emotion is captivating, so much so that you possess the urge to distance yourself emotionally.

It’s your worst fear when you dream about a loved one that goes missing, then kidnapped and harmed.  Then the next day you try to assemble the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, wondering what lead to that.  Was it something you ate? Could it have been a reaction to something that happened during the day?  In fact, you don’t have the guts to journalize about it because of the fear and the lack of getting a good night sleep.  You get a sigh of relief when reality sets in and your mind reconciles with your nervous system.

Despite the obvious fear, I think dreams about death have more to do with managing events in life.  Like death itself, it’s the dawn of a new life challenge and the eve of another.  It feels much like change which is difficult in itself.   When you look beyond the obvious, it’s a way to bring something that needs to be dealt with to your immediate attention.  Bookmark that!  No Watson, “the game is afoot.”

If change is like a difficult ship that is hard to maneuver in the night, then dreams are like light houses that pave a clear path.  When they moved the Intrepid from the Hudson River for a remake, it was no easy task.  The dang boat was really stuck in the mud for decades of being sedimentary.  It took lots of tugging and basic engineering to get her to move, but she did budge eventually.  And that’s what change feels like sometimes, especially as you grow older.

Dreams can be a gymnasium for working out life’s problems.  Dreams can also be a trip, a dimension for communicating with those who are no longer living.  When I dream for instance, I am not always conscious whether or not the people I’m interacting with are actually still living.  In fact, I have no recollection that they have passed on.  I dream of my parents, relatives, friends and even former baby (secondary mothers) sitters.  I’ve even written about my experiences with them during the dreams.

I’ve had dreams of doing things with my dad, such as cooking or driving.  I’ve had dreams of having silly tiffs with my mom or other mundane things and conversations.  In fact, I have had more fun with my dad in my dreams then when he was actually living.  I once dreamt of a cousin who came to see me.  He was wearing a white suit, looking very sharp and mature.  I hadn’t seen him since we were kids and that was 1974, but he died in the 80s.  The virus took him away and it was a family secret.

I had wished I had gotten to know him better.   My mom used to shake her head about how swishy he was.  She said he could snap you into next week.  I got the feeling we would have had a blast together and a lot in common.  In many ways, I think that’s what may have drawn him to my dream world.

I don’t think connecting with the dead is anything unique.  I think anyone can do it and remember the positive experiences.  It’s just that I tend to recall the details very easily and for years.  When I dream of familiar people who are now deceased, it’s always usually a very pleasant and peaceful experience.  We’re having a good old time in the present the way we would have in the real world.

Last night I dreamt of reuniting with some former Lavender Light Gospel Choir friends.  Three of us were posing for a group photo.  There was David M, a third person who I can’t recall since I let the time lapse before actually writing this down and myself.  I recall that we were about to meet up with other former Lav Light members and we were chatting it up and laughing.  The only problem is that David M was long deceased and yet during the dream I had no sense of that at all.  I recall now that when he was alive, he was a gentle soul and always a wonder to be around.

It’s important to write down dreams when you first wake up and I admit, I don’t do it often enough.  I keep a dream diary by my bed but lately it’s been collecting dust because if I start, my pen will burn or I will burn up the keyboard one way or another.  The end result will leave me feeling exhausted the next day.  I usually end of tossing and turning anyway which is the net difference.

Dreams about death and trying to make sense of it all  reminds me of the British TV mystery, Waking the Dead.  It was a crime series about a team of personalities who put together the puzzles of solving crimes forensically.  What I really liked about the show was that it delved deeply into the lives of the main characters and their flaws.  It exposed their strengths and vulnerabilities.  I think just about every episode they were put to the test and it was ultimately the balance of their training versus their humanity that kept them on the mission as a team.

As a team, they each fulfilled a pivotal role to maintaining the unit.  I think dreams are like that in that we dream with a purpose even though we may not be conscious of it.  All the characters in a dream fulfill a role in the whole narrative, much like a play or opera.  In the opera, the narrative can be symbolic much like Einstein on the Beach.  It very much felt a like a dream to me. By the way, I’ve seen every episode of Waking the Dead through series 6.  I discovered the show after it went off the air and thank God for Netflix streaming video.

I think my sub consciousness wants to schedule an appointment with kind spirits but the superego prohibits it.  When I sleep, all bets are off as I am uninhibited.  I noticed that when I dream of spirits, they appear as I remember them best. My mother and father are always in their 50s or early 60s the every latest.  My cousin is dapper and both babysitters (Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Bradley) are quite youthful.

I don’t have any conclusions to make, except that I am still on the journey.  I will hold on for the ride, fasten my seat belt and go!  It really does feel like a roller coaster ride and I never liked roller coasters when I was kid.  I remember refusing to ride them in Palisade Park when I was a kid and I don’t fancy airplanes, but I always catch that flight.

During dreams, all bets are off.  I am like a superhero without the cape and blindfold.  No joke!  And there are times when I most vulnerable.  I don’t know what to expect next, but I leap forward.  I am like Jacque Cousteau charting the next island of dreams and I kind of like the journey forward, even more so that the interpretation.  Besides, I am pre-occupied with dreaming or rather remembering than trying to figure them all out.  I suppose that’s truly the next growth step.