Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Mournful Nightmare, Part 3 of 3

Dreams are strange constructs to try to break down. They are sometimes more fanciful & imaginative than anything in the conscious world. And trying to translate them into a conscious stream of thought can sometimes make you sound like you belong in the loony bin. Nevertheless, dreams are revealing, and that's why I've spent time trying to break some of them down here.

The most recent dream I had related to my Mom & her death happened a couple of months ago. And it wasn't really a dream; it was more like a nightmare. I woke up from this nightmare at about 4:00 AM on a Friday morning with tears streaming down my cheeks. It was so shocking to me & emotionally jolting that I could not simply fall back to sleep. That was it -- I was up for the day.

I can't remember enough of the dream to script it out entirely, but I remember enough. The dream involved my Mother and my grandmother (my Dad's deceased mother, or my Mom's deceased mother-in-law) laying side-by-side each on their death beds. It was a large room, and there was lots of white. The room had the feel of an old-timey hospital where they would open the windows & let the breeze flow through the room.

Anyway, there lay my Mom & Grandma. Both on their death beds. Both seemingly in the final hours of their "life," but essentially lifeless. It was the day of their death for both of them. Their faces showed pained expressions -- they were uncomfortable, weak, and their faces were shriveled. They were about to die. It was not a pleasant scene. In fact, it was a horrific scene.

Then the nightmare takes a turn for the weird. This is where you'll have to bear with me. All of a sudden, this dream begins to take the form of me kind of watching a movie trailer. All of a sudden, I'm sort of seeing my mourning portrayed on the silver screen, and I'm watching a preview of an upcoming movie about my experience.

And who is the star of this upcoming feature? None other than Dane Cook. (It's okay -- go ahead and laugh. I know I did.) The one scene I can recall is Dane Cook sort of staring off into the distance as he tries to capture the words & emotions of what I'm feeling about seeing my Mom and Grandma on their death beds. I can almost here a majestic musical score cresting in the background.

And that's all I remember.

Dane Cook
Complete Moron
Okay, first, the Dane Cook thing. The only thing I can think is that my mind was so overwhelmed with the horror of death that I needed a comedic release. I personally think that Dane Cook is one of the worst actors & comedians of all time. I don't find him remotely funny. I don't think his movies have any redeeming value. However, the thought of Dane Cook trying to establish some acting "bona fides" by playing a serious role where he tries to convey my emotions on the big screen is hilarious. It's like I was lampooning Dane Cook's anticipated career arc in the middle of my nightmare. And I'm kinda impressed that my subconscious came up with that.

Okay, enough with the comic relief. Back to the real subject matter.

I think that at least one thing people who haven't experienced loss need to understand about it is how utterly horrific is the experience of the death of a love one. It is a terrorizing, haunting experience. I don't say that to scare anyone. But it is a traumatic experience.

People who are unfamiliar with death need to understand this. I know that I did not understand it before this experience. I'd hear people talk about violence on TV, and I didn't understand what the big deal was. I'd heard people mention how soldiers coming back from war sometimes experienced PTSD. Even though I was aware of that, I couldn't quite grasp the mechanics of it. But now I understand it better. There is something so horrific about death -- so exceedingly heavy for our minds to bear -- that our mind is programmed against becoming comfortable with death.

With a loss like this, you come to understand the meaning behind a well-worn phrase like "the sanctity of life." Life is precious. After going through this, I have a whole new perspective on a myriad of issues related to life: murder, war, grave illness, etc. With this nightmare, I think that my subconscious was trying to cope with or process through the horror & trauma of that experience somehow.

I don't know if I'll have more dreams that include Mom in the future. I imagine that I will. But the ones I have had have already helped me recognize so much already. I'm grateful that they've been impressionable enough for me to remember them when I've woken up.

I encourage you to try to pay attention to your own dreams. If they're impressionable enough that you remember them the morning after, write or type them down. Meditate on them. I imagine that there are some thoughts in them that will help you discover more about yourself or about the subject matter your dreams explore.

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