Dreams of dying don’t always mean the death of the person who died in the dream. Sometimes the loss relates to someone special who doesn’t actually die, but is a loss on another level.
In the following dream, I felt profound loss, but after I calmed down from the devastation (dreams really can have a profound effect on the dreamer), I realized why I had this dream:
My youngest daughter and her husband had gone on vacation, something they do frequently, and they left me in charge of their three children. In the past I have cared for all of them for as often as three weeks a year. Recently I watched them for a full week.
In this dream I am caring for them yet again, but I’m living in a home that is gigantic. A lot of people are in my home and my three grandchildren are sleeping in an attic bedroom while the people in my home (can’t remember any of them, and I wonder if I even knew any of them – why were they in my home?) are discussing the tornado that is approaching. I see cloud formations that indicate that three tornadoes (destruction) are probably imminent, so I rush to the attic to grab the kids.
The only way to get to the attic in this dream, though, is by climbing shelves in my linen closet (obstacle that seems absurd to me). I rush up the shelf stairs and then realize I would have to hand them down to somebody (in my dream state it never occurs to me to wonder why I allowed them to sleep in an area that requires climbing shelves to access them).
While I’m at the top of the shelf stairs telling the kids to wake up, a woman approaches me at the bottom of the shelves and blocks me (is somebody or something blocking me from doing something in my waking life?) from getting the kids down the stairs (Why didn’t I initially see her as someone who could help? Why did I see her as intrusive and bothersome?). I tell her she has to move because she is blocking me, but she continues to ask me questions unrelated to what is happening and I’m getting frustrated by her incessant questioning and refusal to listen to me or understand the peril of the situation.
After asking her politely several times to please move because a tornado is coming and I have to get my grandchildren out of the attic, and because she continues to be oblivious to the oncoming disaster, I scream at her to MOVE!
By this time I’m frantically and desperately trying to get the kids downstairs, but the tornado has now come, and along with it, flooding. The woman grabs and then drops my youngest granddaughter, who gets washed away in a drain pipe. My other two grandchildren get swept away in the flood, too, and I see one of them fighting the flood. I feel helpless and powerless. I can’t get to any of them. I don’t know how to swim, and I realize that nobody will get to the youngest one in time, but somehow I know the other two will be safe.
The anguish I feel in having to tell my daughter and her husband about the death of their youngest child is overwhelming. That I, too, have just experienced such profound loss fills me with so much anguish that when this dream ends, I am so overcome with grief that I find myself thanking God it was only a dream, but how do I interpret it? I can’t. I can’t even think about it. Not until two days later can I devote any time to it, because it affects me so strongly.
And it will take me a month before I can even publish this dream.
Over the years I have had the honor and privilege of caring for most of my grandkids, and I have developed a very special bond with them. For the past several years, I have cared for my youngest daughter’s children and while the two older ones have been in school for some of those years, I spend about 3 days a week with my youngest granddaughter.
But now I’ll be moving to a new town (actually an old one since I used to live there) to care for more grandchildren, and I think that the loss I feel, knowing that these three are so far away from the rest of my grandkids and that nobody else in my family lives near them, has spilled into my dreams.
Maybe a lot of my feelings come from the fact that these three little loved ones feel the loss of me strongly too, because when they were told I would be moving, they told me they were very sad. On the one hand, I’ll be close to all of my other grandchildren; but on the other hand, I’ll be so far away from these three (and my daughter) that I wish we could all live close together. The loss I’m feeling translated in this dream to a kind of death, the death of time spent together.
Today, thanks to FaceTime, Skype, and other online opportunities for connecting with people, I plan to connect electronically and, more importantly, get together frequently!
Afterword: After writing down this dream, I noticed that the number three appears often in this dream. In numerology, the number 3 signifies creativity. It also relates to the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). On a personal level, I was part of three sisters, and my birth day number, 21, translates to the number 3 in numerology. I may have to revisit this dream to figure out why the number 3 figures so prominently in this dream.
Attics generally mean the mind in dreams. My mind is obviously cluttered with thoughts of impending doom (three tornados) and an inability to access it without climbing over numerous obstacles, AND dealing with incessant chatter from … (did that woman represent me? I have a tendency to sabotage myself by interrupting my own thoughts).
Another part of the dream that wasn’t obvious until after I’d written it, was the attic and the way I had to get to it. In my childhood home, the only way to reach the attic was through the linen closet. I had forgotten about that. I remember, even as a child, when my father told me that the way to access the attic was through the linen closet, how absurd I thought it was to place an attic in an area that required you to take everything off shelves and then have to climb those shelves to reach it.
The youngest granddaughter in this dream, the one who was caught in a drain pipe, shares the same birthdate as my youngest sister. I once had a dream that my sister died too, and I was just as profoundly affected by that dream as I was by this one. In that dream, though, even though she died, she still looked alive, but only one of her sons and I could see her. I wondered if I should tell her she was dead, because she obviously didn’t know since she was still acting like she was alive. At the time, she and her sons were living with me temporarily and my sister was about to undergo a life-changing transformation.
Both my youngest sister and my granddaughter, I’m happy to report, are alive and well.