While we slumber— the messages in our dreams

Annie in the first chair our dad made for her - circa 1961 when she was three years old. The chair had small metal wheels so we could easily move her around, and neck support because she wasn't able to hold her head up well.

I had a dream last night where I was remembering the time when my disabled and now deceased sister Annie was kidnapped, but we weren’t alarmed because we didn’t realize it until she was returned a few hours later, wrapped in a blanket and lying on the porch. Pretty bizarre, but perfectly possible in a dream.

It reminded me of another vivid dream I had about her shortly after she died. We had all gone to a parade and Mom had pushed Annie there in one of the wooden chairs that Dad made for her. The chair had small metal wheels that vibrated voraciously as it was pushed across the rough concrete sidewalk.

I held Annie on my lap in a lawn chair. Mom and the others decided to leave, but I wanted to stay with Annie for a while. She was enjoying being someplace different, and I thought to myself, “I should take her out more often. It’s got to be boring staying home nearly every day looking at the same four walls.” Just this small change of scenery was a big entertainment for her.

When I wanted to go home, I looked around and didn’t see her chair at first. I thought, “Uh oh. I hope I am strong enough to carry her all the way back.” I cradled her close, stood up and thought, “I can do this. She’s not that heavy.” But I jostled her a little bit adjusting my hold on her and her head flopped around. I hoped I hadn’t hurt her. She was still smiling after an initial gasp and pucker that she does when she was surprised or  hurt.

I crossed at the crosswalk and turned to take a last look behind us. That’s when I saw her chair sitting under a store’s awning. I knew I had to go back for it.

Right when I turned around to cross the street and get the chair, my sister Carol showed up to help me. I debated on putting Annie through the vibration of the ride back in her chair, or just carrying her. I decided on the latter and Carol pushed the empty chair. She said, “It makes a lot of noise, too.”

I had no thoughts about Annie’s death until I woke up and even then it took me a minute.

There are several things wrong with this dream:

One, Mom would not likely take Annie out on the street in a crowd like that. For one thing, being in close quarters would make Annie nervous.

Two, Annie probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it and may have looked more like she was being tortured. The sun in her eyes bothered her.

Three, even if I wanted to take Annie out more often, I wouldn’t have done it. Annie had bad allergies and her eyes would itch if she was out for any period of time and her skin was extremely sensitive to the sun. Besides that, Mom would never let me.

Four and most importantly, Mom would never have left and gone home without taking Annie with her.

Here is another post I did in April about recurrent dreams.

What do you think about dreams? Do they tell us anything significant? Are they giving us messages we should heed? Or are they just our minds playing around while we sleep?

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21 thoughts on “While we slumber— the messages in our dreams”

  1. Many theories on dreams and I have had some remarkably pre cognition. Others are expressions of great distress and others entertainment. But the post struck me immediately from a political/economic sense in that today’s grads and young people will be unable to realize that middle class dream of a decent salary, employment based health insurance, a pension and some job security. It is very demoralizing.

  2. I think dreams can be premonitions or brain’s way of telling us something we’ve buried in our subconscious minds. But sometimes I just think dreams are a mixture of thoughts and images swirling through our heads. It’s hard to tell what dreams mean sometimes.

  3. I think dreams serve many purposes. Pure entertainment, precognition, memory, messages. I think loved ones who have died can communicate with us through our dreams sometimes as well, although they may not choose to do it often. Perhaps this dream was simply a message of love from your sister.

  4. I always wonder the ame thing. I sometimes have pretty bizarre dreams, but I am seldom unable to interpret them. Usually when I try to figure them out, I never come up with the same things other people seem to get from them when I tell them.

  5. That sounds like an unsettling dream….you have a lot on your mind. I do have recurrent dreams, and often about things that are recurrent fears or thoughts… I’ve also heard that it’s a way to work through problems/concerns that “one” is having, so maybe your dream of Annie is connected to the feedback you’ve gotten from your siblings — so you feel on your own? Generally, however, I tend to agree with Kelly that it’s dreams are a mixture of thoughts and images swirling through our heads — and it’s hard to tell what they mean. (but curious, in your first paragraph you imply that Annie was once kidnapped….? or was the dream about it and I’m misreading?)

    1. I dreamed that she had been, and I was remembering it in my dream. Annie was never out of our family’s line of sight for a moment. They would have had to kidnap one of us with her.

  6. How ironic that I read your post after writing about a dream I had last night. I also read a section about dreams in a book, The Gift in You: discover new life through gifts hidden in your mind, by Dr. Caroline Leaf. The author proposes that dreams are our minds way of processing issues. Although I agree, I also receive messages in dreams that could not have possibly come from my own imagination.

    Although I agree that only the dreamer can accurately interpret her dream, I had a few thoughts as I read yours. Perhaps your book is your way of taking Annie outside. You are sharing her story with the world. Maybe the dream is God’s way of affirming to you that you are trustworthy to carry her message. Just a thought.

  7. Call me weird (you’ll have to get in line) but I think our loved ones visit us in our dreams. And you are certainly ‘taking Annie out’ by writing this book about her and publishing it.

  8. I know people who have dreams that are visions. I’ve never had that kind of dream. Mine are the jumbled kind. Distortions is I think the way Freud described it. When I was 18 I was fascinated by dreams, and wrote a research paper on Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams. Wish I still had it. Then I read a lot of Carl Jung. It’s been a long time. And while I used to wake up remembering my “weird” dreams, I rarely remember one anymore. When I do, it’s always a shock!! How could I dream that? I wake up thinking. As others here are saying, I too think that dreams are a mystery.

    I really like the way you used your lovely deceased sister to link into this topic. You have beautifully written about the vivid dream you had about her shortly before she died. I have found that people who have made deep emotional imprints on my psyche are those who show up in my dreams, though they’re usually distorted. So very interesting. Wish I had time in my life right now to study again the phenomena of dreams.

  9. I think a myth with which I grew up was that I shouldn’t eat spicy foods too close to bedtime. Obviously I learned as an adult that that was an old wive’s tale. But I do have a tendency to have nightmarish dreams…ones that are so jumbled with a mixture of reality and fantasy. I don’t overthink them, however. That might take too many days and that’s all I’d wind up doing…

    analyzing my dreams, and for what purpose?…i prefer to let sleeping dogs lie… 😉

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