The Deal with Dreams

By: Lauren Thaler  |  Date: September 27th, 2011  |  Category: Discoveries  |  Comments: 3 comments »

I never paid much attention to my dreams. From what I can tell, my dreams were always as random as the next guy’s. I’ve had the adventure dreams, the anxiety dreams, the scary dreams, the birthday suit dreams, etc. They’ve bounced around from one topic to the next, seemingly without purpose or pattern.

But after my mom died, something kind of strange happened. Actually, screw it. It wasn’t strange — It was downright cruel.

My dreams became chronological, starting with my mom’s diagnosis. I had to go through the initial shock, heartache and pain all over again. So, basically, right when I was ready to start the healing process, my subconscious turned on and said, no way you’re getting out of this that easily. It was miserable.

So, for a couple months my dreams were revelations about my mom’s diagnosis. Once, I was at soccer practice, and then – BAM! – I learned Mom had cancer. Another time, I was at school in the middle of class and then – BAM! – Mom walked in to tell me she had cancer. I felt like Bill Murray in a really mean version of Groundhog Day.

The next morning I’d wake up exhausted from crying in my sleep, and I’d walk around like a zombie all day. I mean, really – Hadn’t I been through enough? I wanted to punch my subconscious in the face.

Finally, a couple months went by, and then I started dreaming about her being sick, getting weak from chemotherapy and losing her hair. (Those were obviously a ton of fun too.)

I couldn’t find any purpose those dreams were serving other than to remind me my mom died. Yeah, thanks. Message received, Subconscious. Leave me alone.

But as time moved on, so did the chronology of my dreams. A couple months later, it was time for my mom to die (again). And so she did.

But death didn’t follow traditional rules in my dreams. I remember a very vivid dream in which my mom sat next to me at her own funeral. Before this dream, I had been upset that I didn’t share her eulogy with her before she died. This had been one big lingering regret for me after her funeral. But in my dream, as we sat next to each other at her funeral, she told me not to worry because she really didn’t need to hear it. When I woke up that morning, I felt comforted.

Today, when I dream about her, she’s back to looking the way she did when she was cancer-free. She offers advice in some and is merely along for the ride in others. But the main point is that her presence in my dreams is no longer painful. My subconscious and I have called a truce.

I don’t try to draw meaning from every single time my mom shows up in a dream, but every once and awhile, it behooves me to pay attention.

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3 Reader Comments

  1. AJ

    Some people’s subconscious are more sub- than others. You’re lucky yours isn’t. Don’t ever punch your subconscious in the face! – although it gave me a real laugh out loud moment. xox

  2. Alex

    Lauren, that was incredibly painful to read until the beautiful end. I don’t know what to make of dreams either but I certainly am comforted by the way your dreams are now. It is very hopeful.

  3. Annette

    The subconscious is indeed amazing, giving you the chance to heal another layer of pain the way it did. In the first months after losing my fiance, I had dreams in which he was missing for days or we’d broken up. I believe this was because of the suddenness of his death; it was my subconscious’ way of working out that he was gone. I’d feel extreme anxiety during the dreams, and yet both scenarios offered the possibility of reuniting so I’d also feel hope and yearning, only to awaken to the stark reality of his death. Tough stuff. Nearly two years later, now when I dream of him it’s usually comforting. We’re happy, I feel his touch, we hold each other, and it’s a joy to experience “being with him” again, even if only briefly and in my dreams. I awaken feeling nurtured by the connection, which I suppose is the point of all relationships in one way or another. Peace to you Lauren, and thank you for continuing to share your story.

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