Dying In Dreams

“And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad. The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had.” –Tears For Fears (“Mad World”)

While that may be the case for the dreams in which I am dying, it certainly isn’t the case for the ones where others around me are dying. They’re not what I’d consider the best. And the latter has been occurring quite a bit lately. It’s become something of a theme.

I haven’t had what I’d call a genuine nightmare in a very long time. My dreams have all had a certain tone or feel to them for quite a while now. They’ve lacked some of the vividness and brilliance of my dreams of years past, but have also been devoid of the intense nightmares on the other end of the spectrum. For the last year or so, my dreams have had a rather middle-of-the-road quality to them. I guess the operative word here would be “pleasant.”

While my dreams of late have lacked the epic quality that many of them had in the past, they’ve had a new kind of “realness” to them, for lack of a better term. They seem less ethereal, less like some kind of a strange fantasy world, and more like they’re actually occurring. They’re beginning to feel more like actual daily life. This has been increasing over the last year or so. I’ve taken a hard look at a number of factors that could be contributing to this. I’ve examined everything from my stress levels to diet, to changes in my life, sleeping patterns, exercise, etc. I can’t necessarily make any direct connections between when this change in my dreams occurred and anything particular in my life or habits. It’s just there.

Even more recent than the change to a “real life” feel in my dreams has been the recurring theme of death. It never used to be much of a part of my dreams, unless you count my childhood dreams of World War III. But that was completely different. That was more of a fear of a “general” death and overall destruction, rather than the loss of individual people. Lately, it has been specific people dying in my dreams, most of whom are already gone. These people who have already died, are continuing to do so in my dreams.

Although they’re revolving around the death of family members, these dreams don’t have that fear and shock feeling of a nightmare. The tone is a much more cold feeling of loss. I wouldn’t even call it sorrow. It’s a sense of vacancy. There’s almost this melancholy resolution of “this is how it is.” That feeling was especially present with the one I had last night.

I had come to grips with the death of this particular person in the dream and was settled, until the person began to speak again. I didn’t know how to proceed. Rather than responding with joy or running to go get the others in my dream exclaiming that the person was alive, I just sat there. It was as if in this instance that the speaking wasn’t some kind of resurrection as much as it was some kind of death malfunction. My thought process was, “No. No. You’re gone.”

I woke from the dream not with terror, but with numbness. I’m still not sure what to think.




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