Losing Your Child and Other Nightmares

We were at the mall having fun with my sisters and brother. It was a spacious high rise with a flight of stairs in one side which made the building look like a stone castle. That was where I lost my boy. I was running after him down the stairs and then he vanished. The search went on forever--I was looking at every cubicle, stall or store, I was shouting his name and asking people if they have seen him while desperately trying to resurrect my dead cellphone. I had to find my other son and other companions to help me look for J.  In my despair, I said "I would kill myself if I will not find him."

That was when I woke up. I heard myself calling out for my mother, crying but there were no tears. It took like ten minutes or so for me to convince myself it was just a nightmare.

The day after I published this post I had another bad dream. I saw our neighbor's house reduced to debris by torrents of water which apparently came from a huge broken water pipe. I saw the lifeless bodies of my four- and six-year-old nieces on the ground and some other relatives. When I woke up at 8:00 am, I wrote about the dream as a comment for this post. Imagine how shocked I was when I heard about the tsunami in Japan on the same day.

Everyone gets his share of dreams: funny, scary, stupid, fantastic, erotic. Well, a dream about being seen naked in public can be all of these. Some dreams are so gloomy or strange that they haunt you in your waking hours. What do they mean? Do they even have meanings? (You are allowed to have your eyes rolling or one eyebrow raised at this point and say, "oh no, not another post about dream analysis.")

I must confess that in my family, a bad or strange dream is always newsworthy enough for a visit (or email for family members offshore). Needless to say, "Inception" was a box office hit for us. A dream is like an early warning system (really, hahaha) of impending family problems or an S.O.S. Now, let me dig a bigger grave for myself here by talking about what dreams could mean for the dreamer (at least from my point of view, which is influenced by my all-in-the-family-dream-reporting experience, psychological/horror thrillers and occasional scanning of dream interpretation books).

Prophetic.  (Let me get over this first because this is the part where I will probably lose any credibility, if I have any, left in this blog which I hope to regain later in this same post or this year.)  For my own peace of mind, I would rather not consider my dream this morning as prophetic. A glimpse of the future (especially death and other big losses or winning the lottery) is not served to us like that otherwise we will all get memorial plans or insurance or become millionaires. However, there are eerie stories of people whose dreams came true. For instance, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated two weeks after he dreamed that he was in a coffin.

I am always suspicious of dreams about snakes and numbers.  Don't laugh (I'll go into whatever it is you have in mind later, promise) but, in the past, snakes have warned me about betrayal (the third-party kind or a friend gossiping about me). It all started,15 years ago, when an ex-BF turned out to be seeing his ex again a week after I dreamed of big anacondas in the river. I never told him about it because I was thinking it was about my raging hormones trying to get my attention. Coincidence? Maybe. But how can you explain one dream (during a sleepover at my best friend's house) in which I only saw the number 27 and asked my friend to write it on the calendar. We all forgot about it and then the day after, the small town lottery winning number was 27. Coincidence again, I suppose. These happened a long, long time ago when my brain was not a peripheral of my PC.

This one dream makes me all soft and motherly inside. I was on my seventh month of pregnancy with J when I had a dream that two naked toddlers were talking to me. I remember saying "but I only have one baby boy"  and then the two boys laughed at me like I was crazy. Six months after J came out of my womb, I was pregnant again. It was unplanned and unexpected but now I know it was a wonderful dream about J and Y that came true. I also dreamed about a former colleague of mine being very pretty in a maternity dress two months before she discovered she was pregnant.

Psychological. A dream is our subconscious mind trying to find a resolution of an inner conflict, according to Sigmund Freud whose book, "Interpretation of Dreams" is considered as his major contribution to psychology. Your dream could be telling you about something you have tried to deny, you didn't want to tell someone about or something that makes you feel guilty. In my case, my dream about losing J could be about my guilt for not having him immunized against chicken pox when he was a baby. Despite his efforts not to scratch the blisters on his face, as I wrote here, I see some scars now and I only have myself to blame. Or am I afraid of losing someone I love? Whatever, Mr. Freud, but I am not dreaming of snakes.

My cousin and his wife were telling me one day that they have been dreaming of snakes frequently. I was about to tell them the snake-and-third-party story when to my utter embarrassment I realized that I was in the hospital visiting them because of the new baby. Get it? Freud could be right about the sex-and-dream connection than I give him credit for.

Our dreams also tell us when we're overdoing something. As a call center employee, I often dreamt about fixing routers, monitoring agents, conducting meetings, etc.  Now I am having dreams about Google Analytics, tweeting, pageviews and zero comment.

(Oops, should take I comfort in the thought that no snake is wriggling in my dreams these days. At least no prophesies of betrayal by a friend or attack from a foe.)

Physical.  If you're dreaming about swimming, having a shower or looking for a ladies' room so you can pee then, by all means, wake up because it's your full bladder telling you to run and not get wet. Guys know the kind of dream that makes them get up at night to change the newly washed bed sheet.

How about teeth falling off which, my mother would tell me, means death in the family or someone close to you? It's most likely a warning that you better go to the dentist soon or suffer a week of excruciating toothache or migraine. The last time I had that dream I woke up with a headache which was caused by a half-day movie marathon.

Another dream that keeps coming back is UFOs invading the planet. Lately, I had this again and then woke up to find my kids playing a computer game about laser guns. At least, for once, a bad dream made me laugh when I woke up.

This morning's nightmare should also serve as a stern warning never to eat four slices of bread with butter or a tall glass of warm milk plus lots of corn flakes on top while watching "It's Kind of a Funny Story," a film about a 16-year old guy whose suicidal thoughts made him go to a psychiatric ward.

Whatever dreams we have, what is important is that we don't obsess about its meaning in the real world. A dream of snakes, for example, (if you are like me who used to think that it's an omen of treachery) will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you wake up and wage an all-out war with the suspected offender.

If you are going to make a fuss about dreams at all, consider that dream as inspirational. For the benefit of the cynical, I will not name famous people whose theories, discoveries or creations were said to be inspired by dreams. Let me just say that, if there's any benefit for me today, it is having the guts to write and then end this nightmarish post.

What do you dream about? Do you try to interpret them? Do you even think about them beyond your first waking hour?


  1. Oh no, bad dreams keep coming. This time it's about a large water pipe breaking and drowning my nieces. What do they mean? I don't know. Maybe, I've been watching the news too frequently now.

  2. those are scary thoughts. i do have bad dreams sometimes

  3. Thanks for dropping by!

    Maybe it's the brain's way of saying slow down, relax.

  4. weeks back ive dreamed bout my bff who past away almost half a decade ago, it was so silly because..in my dream she was alive, and that she herself is telling me....that i was not true.

    I was actually in a state of half awake and half asleep, when i was telling myself. Yes it wasnt real. The whole thing "shooting incident" is just a rumor. She didnt die after all.

    But when i finally woke up, it just made me realize, deep within me ..i havent moved on..and still in the state of denial, maybe because i havent seen her in coffin and witness her delivery to her resting place. Maybe the only time i can convince my subconscious is when i get to visit her grave...

  5. That's a sad, sad story.

    Now, this post about dreams is getting weirder by day, coz as I commented at 8am, I dreamed of big water rushing through the house in Tugue because of a broken (big) and drowning my nieces...that was this morning and now this news about Japan is very scary.