Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dreams and Death

July 26, 2045. What is that from 2008? Thirty-seven? I'll be 77. According to the Death Clock, that's when I'll die. Of course, if I could get my BMI under 25, I'll live to be 79. Huh. Then again, DNA is probably on my side. My maternal grandfather lived to be 86 and his father lived into his 90s. My paternal grandmother is 95 and shows little sign of slowing down. Though, if she did, we couldn't blame her, right?

What's all this talk of death you ask?

My family isn't known for being visionary or dreamy. As in, we're not seers or prophetic in any manner of speaking (even though we grew up in a faith that believes that kind of stuff), but we do seem to be harbingers of death.

It's odd really. It started with my maternal grandmother, who would dream about someone. If she dreamed about the person more than once or twice, within days of the last dream, she'd have a phone call from someone saying "so-and-so just passed away." Eventually, she came to see multiple dreams as a sign that someone was about to die. Probably pure coincidence and I didn't think that much of it.

About ten years ago, my mother and sister both started having dreams that were generally followed by the death of someone. Again, pure coincidence? I don't know. But what I did know was, I was really, really grateful not to be burdened with a similar light of sight.

Until recently, that is.

In my case, though, I'm not having multiple dreams, which is a relief. But I am dreaming about my maternal grandmother. I've never had dreams about her. She passed away more than 20 years ago. And I haven't been doing anything extraordinary, like reading her journals or hearing anymore anecdotes about her than usual. Granted, I did listen to a audio tape of her a month ago. My mom brought it home from her trip to Utah and Wyoming in May. It was given to her by a very dear family friend who was practically an adopted son in her family. Still, nothing unusual. Or, at least, nothing unusual to suggest to my subconscious mind enough material to conjure up dreams of Grandma when I sleep.

But, in the last month of so, I've had two dreams that included my grandmother. Perfectly normal circumstances. We visit and chat in my dreams. She chews out my grandfather (par for the course!) and seems, though she never says, to be proud of the grown-ups her grandchildren have become.

A few weeks after the first dream, someone close to my parents died. I didn't think a thing more of it until my sister pointed out that I'd dreamed about Grandma and then someone died.

Ack! I freaked out a touch. This is not, not! the kind of thing I want to be a part of, thank you very much. But then I brushed it aside and thought nothing more of it all.

Until the other night.

I dreamed about Grandma again. And now I'm fretting. Who's going to die next? Or am I just being silly?


Anonymous said...

That sort of stuff happens to me all the time. It's very strange. But in my case I will dream about a person or animal dying, or even a big tragedy happening, and then it will actually happen. I dreamed that our seemingly healthy pet cockatoo (bird) died, and he passed away the next day. It happened with one Grandma, another Grandpa, and several other times.

I don't believe I'm psychic or anything like that, just that I probably listen to my women's intuition more than some other people do. And maybe I just tend to remember my dreams better that other people as well. Who knows.

Cele said...

I've had a few weird experiences in my life, most of them decades ago.

At first I thought you meant you'd have a dream )twice) about the person who died. Then you said you'd dreamed twice about your dead grandmother. And I was wondering if maybe you'd had some... er a recent visitor.

Anonymous said...

Huh. Mine doesn't end until 2055, 10 years longer than you. I certainly don't have a low BMI--did selecting "optimistic" make that much of a difference?

Di said...

Well, who knows, stranger things have happened...

That said, there is a very human tendency to see orders and/or patterns where none really exists. It's just what our brains do. Now, no matter who dies and when, you'll see it as being related. In all likelihood (I'm being nice, I think zero chance), they are not at all related.

Nice to see your grandma again though?

Anonymous said...

I see dreams as a second chance to let our brains quietly and creatively sort out clues that are both conscious and subconscious. There are some dreams that I take very seriously -- the kind I wake up from with heart pounding and emotions soaring. Admitedly, I feel a little prophetic when that happens, but I know it's more like finally figuring out a puzzle.

Now that I've tried to sound rational, I have to admit I have a dream dictionary, and I will go look up what grandmothers symbolize in dreams.

lacochran said...

It's possible she just wanted to have a nice visit with you. Let's go with that theory.

j.m. tewkesbury said...

E:) : Dreams are a rather odd phenomenon, aren't they? I've read about yours and they seem quite intense.

Cele: Hm. I might need to edit my entry to clarify. Grandma would dream about people two or three times and then someone would die. Not necessarily the person she dreamed about, but someone would. In my case, I just happened to dream about my grandmother twice and after the first occasion, someone died. I'm hoping no one dies after my second, recent dream.

JA: Could be. I left my setting at "Normal" so that's probably a factor. Perhaps if I set it at "Positive", I'd gain a few more years, too.

Di: I tend to agree with you: it means nothing. And yes, it was nice to see my grandmother and spend a little time with her.

Anon: Let me know what you find out. I'd be curious to know what grandmothers symbolize.

Lacochran: Sounds like a good theory to me!

Anonymous said...

Sorry -- I was the Anon, but forgot to sign off. Anyway, here are some quotes from the dream dictionary. I had to pick from several categories to help make sense of this. In the general "family" category, it says,

"Virtually everyone at some time dreams about members of close family dying or being killed. Lots of mothers dream this and their children live till eighty. But occasionally, children do die. Is this precognitive, or is it coincidence?"

(It doesn't say -- just leaves it up to your own interpretation.)

Also, under "family, family relationships," it says:

"The values, attitudes, and emotional or social responses we have absorbed from our family; the acceptance or tensions we feel in relationship with them; the support or pain we feel from them. From our family we learn most of the positive and negative patterns or relationship and attitudes toward living that we carry into daily events."

Under "grandparents," it symbolism is:

"Personal feelings connected with the grandparent; family traditions, such as established values or unconscious attitudes; transcendent values; old age; death"

Under "woman in a woman's dream," it says:

"an embodiment of what you deeply need, fear, hope for, or avoid. What the woman is doing in the dream gives a clue to what the need feeling or fear is."

Let me know if anything resonates; often I find these interpretations illumating.

- Phoebe