If ever there were 12 words guaranteed to make a person’s stomach churn, they are “I SOOOOO need to tell you all about my dream last night!”
As a rule I don’t really discuss my dreams or personal torments with others; I fear I will bore them while not providing enough snacks.
It’s true; I am terrible at missing people. I can never express my grief or sadness properly and instead push it way down into an endless sea of torment that I only release at parties or at a friend’s wedding. Or when watching Lilo and Stich for the first time the other day because SERIOUSLY that bit in the forest with Stitch and the ugly duckling book and the ‘waiting for family’ NEARLY KILLED ME.
Dreams are just a fluffier way of packaging up a whole big batch of head crazy and flinging it into a crowded pub. Oh heavens, no, you aren’t just randomly bringing up your dead parents and the agonizing pain you live with every day knowing that you can never go home again! No, you’re just analyzing a dream. Out loud. In italics.
Yet…this recent dream would not shift from my head. I should have just sat down and tried to work it out on my own, in my own time, with my own gin. But instead, I decided to be ‘healthy’ and share my thoughts with another living person.
So how does one accurately convey how a dream can be beautiful yet eerie, uncanny but familiar, heart-wrenching but steady?
- Back whichever hapless fool happens to be listening to you into a corner.
Talk very fast. If anything sounds different to how it sounded in your head, speak faster.
Omit no detail, and insist on its relevance at all times while also discounting it.
And so, we have the following from me to the hapless fool:
(Hapless fool subtly tries to check Facebook on any object to hand)
(Hapless fool looks at you as if to say “no, considering this is happening entirely in your own head”)
“So I decided I would take her to the steps and reveal in a really calm, dignified voice that dad had died there of stroke and mum had died on the EXACT SAME SPOT eight years later of a broken heart. And she would feel soooo guilty and really sad and I’d be all ‘yeah, take that, bitch!’……..but she kept moving while I was telling the story and I had to keep forcing her back on this one step to make the dramatic point.”
Me: “Okay, okay, okay, look the REAL point of the dream was that dad had died years ago while on holiday in Florence…or wherever the hell it was. He was with mum and had a stroke while on the steps, and fell and split his head open on the stone. And the steps were stained with blood like this flagstone inside Canterbury Cathedral that dad used to show me when I was little, because he pretended that was where Thomas Beckett had been murdered and the stain was his blood! Isn’t that weird?
I stopped rambling. Hapless fool looks very sad and worried for me.
Despite not finishing the story, talking about it had helped me to decipher what was really wrong. The dream death itself did not really hurt; it was just a false memory of something that had happened a long time ago. Only this time, the head injury that killed him was a physical gash instead of a brain stem bleed hidden in dad’s skull.
What was wrong with the entire scene was that while I saw so much in perfect detail – the steps, the kittens, the architecture, the stains, the sunlight – I could not see my father or my mother’s face. They were a blur. I realized I am starting to forget them, and this is what had stayed with me most of all.
When you lose your parents when young, part of your past goes with them. As they fade, so does the evidence of where you came from, and who you are turns into guess work.
In my dreams, my parents never age or develop. But whether happy or sad, they are always missing. They are imagined, and never quite right. Part of me is missing with them.
|The family, the way we were|
Perhaps, in the end, this is a strange post for me to write. Maybe it’s a jovial way of writing about bereavement, maybe it’s to remind you all of the old cliché ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’, or maybe it’s to preserve my parents a little bit longer in pixels. Whatever it is, hopefully you’ll be inspired to cuddle a loved one and try to talk to them for at least a few minutes without shooting yourself or them or everyone.**
*At this point, I am obliged to have some sort of caveat because the minute my sister reads this bit, there will be hell to pay.. When I tell her that I often am not only aware that I am dreaming, but can alter and control elements of my dreams while still asleep, she goes a bit purple and says “you DON’T, you DON’T, it’s REALLY HARD to do that, only the Shamans can do that!!!” Everything boils down to the Shamans.
|New family. Little, but still good. Still good….Damn you, Lilo and Stitch!!!
(Me, Leo and Em – Andy and Ben are…somewhere)