Dreams of Death

Early Morning by Red Haircrow

A vision or dream of death, yours or someone else’s, isn’t always representative of that eventuality. Just as in Tarot, drawing the card of death doesn’t necessarily mean death is impending.

Falling from a high point to what must be death on impact is a common recurrent theme expressed to therapists or others. Sometimes dreams and vision must be interpreted or simply represent what dwells in the subconscious mind, especially when vivid or profound events have taken place or are anticipated.

I am a dreamer, as you might have read in other entries, such as Dreaming With Wolf and Bear and Three Dreams and a Decision , besides if you may have spoken with me personally, the topic may have come up. We all dream, or should dream when we sleep, achieving R.E.M. to save our sanity, but speaking dreams are something else. When awakened, you know it is of import, and this happens to me.

A few months ago I dreamt of earthquakes frequently, vaguely, then once with overwhelming urgency. I dreamt my nephew had been caught in an earthquake. I could feel the earth shake beneath my own feet, the shock one feels when caught thus realizing what is happening. I’ve lived through an earthquake before. And in this one I was helpless seeing him and others fall into chasms, and as the world still shook, were covered over. When it finished, we thought they were all gone, but at the suddenness we decided to dig anyway, and covered with dirt, struggling for breath we pulled him up and he drew in breath again. We were overjoyed he was alive!

This happened on a Friday night, and the next day when our time zones were compatible, I called my mother and asked how he was, since I hadn’t directly asked about him for a while. I recounted the dream. She said, “How curious!” On Friday morning my nephew had been in a terrible accident, totally his car. When they’d first arrived on the scene, from its smashed state they just knew he was dead, but pulled from the wreckage he was surprisingly uninjured.

“Don’t dream of earthquakes anymore, though,” my mother said at the end of the conversation.

Early this morning, their last night, I awoke in a cold sweat from a dream so extended and powerful, and positively frenetic at times I immediately reached for the phone and called them to make sure everything was alright. My mother said, “I hadn’t wanted to tell you through email but….” and I thought about the dream.

A grotesque figure, clearly humanoid, but twisted and covered with boils, sores and weeping wounds, filth covering its pale skin, face split by a sickening smile, this phantom attacked my father as he stepped out into the front yard of a house at which we used to live. Horrified, I ran to call someone, as other screamed but when I returned they were crying. “He was shot through the heart. They both were.” I was told. My father was gone, dead I presumed. I knew I must reach my mother, who was at a religious service, to let her know what had happened.

Many other unpleasant images were seen, as I was moved from scene to scene, sometimes within the house, sometimes outside. Malicious children pursuing a terrified cat as I plead for them to quiet. A local group who’d sabotaged a damm, flooding fields, drawing the ire of neighbors who caught them, tying them down and torturing them.

All of these things happening that made no sense, my grief for my father, my anxiousness for my mother. She still hadn’t come and no one could remember seeing her. My father finally reappeared grim, wearing a suit, standing unspeaking, his face in solemn lines.

A couple of weeks ago my father found out the brother nearest him in age had colon cancer. That brother was given perhaps two months to live, and began his first chemotherapy. But as is so often the case, the first chemo nearly killed him, stopping his kidney and liver. The family was called in, and they said there was no hope. Yesterday, they found out the cancer had spread to his lungs and brain, and he died early this morning.

Easily enough to interpret. The grotesque figure was the cancer my father had fought, both for him (as he is a cancer survivor) and for his brother, and he was shot through the heart in grief knowing what the outcome would soon be. I couldn’t find my mother as she avoided telling me the hard news, especially in light of the fact of my current situation. I learned last week, I must have a major serious surgery or my life expectancy is limited to a few years at very best. Next week the final date is set for the surgery, after which, btw, I will be offline for several weeks as total bedrest is necessary for recovery.

So my immediate family was alright, but the dream had spoken truth. I slept again. And dreamed again, and awoke shaking again. This time with painful scenes of my son at an earlier age, laying, his breath stopping, and how I urgently performed CPR finally getting his heart started again, then sung a healing song over him along with my mother. He lay in an outfit I remember well, representing a certain age where he insisted on wearing it every day and we let him. Something traumatic happened to him then, that has continued to affect him. The last years have been focused on helping him overcome his understandable fear and loathing. It’s partially why I started studying Psychology again at university.

So we dream, and sometimes it shows reality, what is happening in our lives, has happened or will happened. Sometimes we have to be careful to understand the nuances, as what seems obvious as interpretation may not always be case in the end.

Needless to say, I am exhausted, finally rolling out of bed around fifteen, or three p.m. local time. I am tired and unsettled, with many things to contemplate, but no desire to sleep at the moment. I feel the need of song, sometimes I make the pattern of the steps to the dance in my room alone.