After a challenging few days I had a distinctive dream last night. They say you dream every night, but for the most part what I remember of my dreams are sketchy remnants, if at at all. The dreams I do remember often seem insignificant or meaningless. It’s rare that my dreams stay fresh with me, but whenever they do I think it significant in some way. I believe in dreams. Perhaps not all, but often they contain truths hidden to us in the daylight hours, or so I think. I’m no Freudian, but I have an open mind when it comes to dream interpretation.
Last nights dream seems more significant than many because it incorporates heavier elements in it: death, my family, grief, etc. I woke from it laying in bed replaying it in my mind. It felt an ill-omened dream, but I wondered if I was meant to gain some perspective or insight from it. I say ‘meant to gain’ as if there is an intelligence at work here. It’s not intelligence, though perhaps it is instinct, and it is mine own. Sometimes you don’t know what you know, and dreams sometimes are a way of reminding us of that.
In any case the dream last night starts tamely and with little detail in my memory. I know I am not entirely happy with the circumstances, though they remain a mystery to me now, and that both my parents are players. Then, in the way of dreams, the action skips forward, and is vivid.
We have been transported to Ireland. We are in a grand, rustic, wood-grained hotel. It is full of people. I am there as the guest of a wedding of someone close to me – is it my mother? The atmosphere is happy as befits the occasion, the crowd raucous and full of good alcohol. I am involved, waylaid for conversations and clapped on the back. I make my way through the crowd though, heading somewhere else. All throughout I feel separate.
In a small room at the back of the hotel a wake is in progress. Earlier in the dream I had swooped in on this like an all-seeing camera. In the coffin is my father, who I was speaking to earlier in the dream. There are no more than half a dozen people in attendance, and the atmosphere is sad, almost pitiful. It is to here that I make my way.
When I open the door it is different to what I had seen earlier. The room is full now, and full of chatter. It is celebratory, as befits a wake. Most of the people have come from the wedding. They have not seen my father for years, but know him, and here they pay their respects. On my entry they greet me with sympathy and good cheer. I am surprised at the turn-out. I move through them in a numbed daze. I feel sad that my father is dead. Then I come to a man I don’t know, a happy looking man 20 years my senior, Irish I think, and somehow wise. He greets me as if he knows me. Suddenly I am in tears. He doesn’t mind the tears, he talks of my father and of me and seeks to comfort me not in his actions but in the simple exposition of the facts of life and death. I wish I had have known dad better; I wish I had have appreciated him more.
That’s when I wake.
Mean anything? Probably not – but maybe.