I have never been one to read much into dreams. I enjoy them. Like a decent television show; they keep me entertained while in a semi-conscious state, but typically do little else. In my life there have been a few dreams which have stuck with me and which have actually affected my waking moments. The dream I had last night was one of those that actually revealed something deep about myself and upon my actual waking, gave me great pause.
Last night I dreamed that I had cancer. I have been doing some research into cancer and therapies to treat cancer, but do not have very much experience with the emotional implications of the disease; last night provided me with a glimpse of the psychological factors associated with the disease. While I was the one that had cancer in the dream, I was also an outside observer. One who actually analyzed what I was experiencing and how it affected myself and those around me. Even in the dream it was not an out of body experience, rather a near perfect expression of what philosophers have called the transcendental self. I was able to remove myself from the experience and act as an outside observer. In real life I would never be so fortunate.
I watched as a curious and yet detached observer as my dream self, went through the most of the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. In the dream I remember being flabbergasted and even annoyed that I had cancer; it seemed absurd and unnecessary. I remember becoming increasingly angry and even violently annoyed with those who tried to help me. I remember bargaining with anyone and everyone, just to try and get them to fix me. I remember being thoroughly depressed and greatly scared. Most of all I remember the opposing emotions of terror and optimism tugging at me like two sumo wrestlers playing tug-of-war.
The dream felt more surreal than any dream that I have ever had and yet more real than anything that I have ever experienced in my life. The notion that I could have cancer, even in my dream state, caught me completely off guard. I had not been prepared to have a dream like this when I went to bed and the insertion of a horrible reality into my sleeping mind made me feel like I was wandering among ruins much like the ones from the movie Inception. The consistent and unwavering love I received and felt from friends and family in the dream seemed more real to me than anything that I have ever experienced. Even, as my dream-self tried to push my friends away, they kept coming back, ever closer to me.
In the now bright sunshine of a wonderful December afternoon, there are two things that I clearly remember from the dream: the love and continual care that my Mom provided for me and that I never accepted the cancer. My Mom’s continual support and encouragement even in the dream is indicative of her strength and great love for all of her children. In the dream she never gave up on me. Even while dreaming I could not help but think of how strong Paddy has been throughout Tristan’s struggle with cancer. I had the pleasure of meeting Paddy this past weekend and was impressed by how sweet and kind she is; but beneath all that kindness and sweetness it is easy to tell, lies something far stronger and deeper and that is a fierce, un-surrendering love for all of her children.
The second thing that I remember clearly from the dream was that I never really accepted the reality of what having cancer meant. Even in the dream as my prognosis worsened, I was blessed to be aware that it was only a terrible dream. It was that knowledge that made it easy for me not to accept that I actually had cancer and was very sick. In the dream when it became too much, my mind managed to switch to something different and wipe the cancer away. In reality there are plenty of great and strong people who become afflicted with cancer but there are plenty of people who never really accept this harsh reality, such as Tristan. Since, he was so young when was diagnosed, his parents never really told him that he had cancer and in defying the odds of his initial prognoses and subsequent ones, Tristan has shown that the only thing that he has accepted is faith in his own love for life and the love which his mother and family have showered on him.
My dream did affect me and the rest of my day has felt very surreal. It is easy to take our health for granted, after all most of us perform such mundane activities like walking frequently throughout the course of the day; but there are plenty who are not as lucky, they dream of walking. My dream clarified how important it is to have faith not only in God, but in the people who try to love you every day and who love so deeply that their own happiness is intertwined with yours. Show them today how grateful you are to have them in your life, because there may come a time when the circumstances of your own life will make it very difficult to be loving and kind back to them. In those moments they will sacrifice their own happiness to help ensure yours, cherish that thought, now.
- Following Your Dreams (presleylove.wordpress.com)
- I Had A Dream… (Omniverse Part 2) (rjnielsen.wordpress.com)
- Dreaming is just a step away from the act of creation ~ Reed (2rqod.wordpress.com)
- The Entirety of the Experience (powerofslow.wordpress.com)
- Imagine: A Cancer Journey (doingsomethingaboutit.org)