Monday, May 06, 2013

My Father's Suicide: On symbolic dreams

Dreams are funny things, aren't they? They can come in all forms -- small, medium and large. They can be extremely vague or precisely vivid. Or they can be random or full of meaning. I never used to put much stock in those full-of-meaning sorts of dreams -- well, that is until my father died. Since then, I've had several telling dreams that seem to cut through all those surface emotions that try to cloud everything during the day.

Just a few days ago, in fact, I had one of those dreams. In my dream, I was meeting with a new therapist, and I was telling everything that's happened in the last 10 years. After I told the exhaustive story, I showed my therapist a photo of my father. She took one look at it and gasped.

"This is the father of another one of my patients," she said. "He died two years ago." As it turned out, my father had another family (FYI, he didn't really have another family somewhere...) and faked his own death in 2003. He went to live with them until he died two years ago.

I woke up utterly shocked at just how vivid the dream actually was. It played out like a movie -- all those details, the dialogue, how perfectly and accurately it captured my life. I remember being so mad in the dream because my father's other family got to spend so much more time with him. A whole eight years of memories that I never had the chance to make. It just wasn't fair. I felt cheated. I found myself thinking about the dream a lot over the last week. What did it mean? Did it even mean anything? Maybe I was reading too much into it; after all, we all know I have a tendency to over-analyze things. Maybe it was just one of those random dreams.
I'd love your expert opinions, friends. What do you think the dream meant? Do you have a lot of symbolic dreams? Do you over-analyze your dreams? xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]


  1. Definitely no expert opinion, and I will preface this by saying I am a HUGE overanalyzer...

    My only thought is that maybe it's to do with the memories and experiences that were lost to YOU through his death... that "other family" could represent the life you all would have had if he had lived, an alternate reality.

    Be kind to yourself and try to do some self care - this is some pretty heavy stuff to delve into.

  2. Dreams are an extremely personal thing and the meaning can vary from person to person. This was something deeply personal to you and changed your life. It could be feeling emerging. Afterall it has been 10 years. That's a landmark anniversary. It could be new feeling emerging. Melissa you are a writer. Maybe having a "conversation" with your father or writing him a letter letting it all out and reflecting on what you felt in the dream could shead some light on it.

  3. My dreams (nightmares or otherwise) usually manifest my fears and dreams, whether I've been conscious of them or not. Sometimes they make me aware of something I didn't see before, and other times they've helped me to move beyond a fear that was illogical and unnecessary.

  4. I don't know how crazy my life is until my dreams get really funky and then I know I need to calm down.

    That's a crazy dream. Like a movie.

    I don't put too much stalk in dreams as in they are telling the truth, but I do listen to why I could be dreaming about them.

  5. these are awesome insights! thanks so much, friends! i knew a lot of issues would come up surrounding the 10-year anniversary...

  6. An alternate reality...i love that, onebreath!!

  7. p.s. overanalyzers of the world, unite!

  8. I often have dreams that are so close to reality that upon waking I think they really happened. I find it incredibly unsettling as well. I know absolutely nothing about the symbolic meaning of dreams, but I just thought I'd throw that out there so you know it happens to me too. xoxo


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