Last Night’s Recurring Dream Last night was another variation of the recurring dream. I’m somewhere between the age of sixteen and thirty-one and I am in my mother’s house at that time though I don’t recall that it is ever exactly like that house. I’m there to settle an argument between mother and my younger brother, or tend him, or look for him. All of it is always fruitless, lonely, and dark.
I am surprised at the number of variations on that simple theme I have lived through in my sleeping head. At the end as I am waking, there is always a vaporing trail of failure. It is a painfully clear rehashing of my feelings of failure over not being able to save my brother from taking his own life years ago. Simple as that and written deeply into me.
I also know that whatever I did or didn’t do or imagine I could have, it may not have made any difference at all. It was his decision or destiny; both words are possible to use.
I like to think all the fallout from that horrible time made me a better person. I can point to signposts around the subjects of love, compassion, forgiveness; all those huge human subjects that dominate religion, world politics, families, you name it. I wrote about them in my memoir Blossoms of the Lower Branches, A Hero’s Journey Through Grief, as part of my apotheosis and boon. But how deep changes were burned into me I can only speculate. The abiding sorrow and guilt have never obscured the knowledge that I wasn’t unfeeling or cruel to either my mother or brother. Common family drama? Yes. Physical or purposely mental deprivations? No.
The dreams are expected to continue the rest of my life. I neither invite nor know how to avoid them. Generally I’m able to shrug them off in the morning light and remember the happiness and peace I have in my life. I do use them as reminders that I need to be more responsive to people, especially those I love. Hasn’t always worked though. It’s easy to believe in the power of love, forgiveness and compassion and then turn around and blindly suppress their natural unfoldment in life. Usually due to protecting my little frail ego. Here’s a thought: Do I sometimes shortchange myself in incorporating love, forgiveness and compassion because of the very power I know they hold within them? Am I too often still afraid of their power?