What Would Freud Say? Or Was it Jung?

Hamlet, I, 5 - Hamlet and the ghost.

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Can’t remember whose theory on dreams and the subconscious gave the most weight to the symbolic nature of the people, objects and situations that make up the scenery of our nightly home movies.

I blame Pat Robertson and the Progressive Left in any case for last night’s visitation regardless.

Normally, my dreams are populated only with people I know and the setting is most often a variation of the town where I attended university or a school building I once worked in. I don’t know why and I haven’t bothered to research what it means or doesn’t.

Dead people seldom have starring roles in my dreams. If the departed do appear, they have cameos at best. But last night, Will showed up, which shouldn’t come as a surprise thanks to the Robertson faux uproar, but I have to be honest – I was surprised because he has only deigned to grace my dreams a handful of times in the past five plus years and never as more than a walk on. Ever.

I was back in school. It was – god help me – the 80’s with  clothing and the hair styles so jarring that I actually commented on it to another character completely out of context to the situation.

I found myself back on Currier E2 in my old corner room (minus the high-strung room-mate) and Will shows up to visit me for the weekend. And you could have knocked me over with a feather when I opened the door and it was him. Normally, it’s Rob who rides shot-gun in my dreams. Very seldom do I dream that Rob doesn’t figure at some or all points.

Here’s the odd thing – as if dreams with dead husbands stopping in for visit aren’t odd enough – he was not young. His hair was longer, curled like Dee’s does at the nape, around the ears and that same cowlick that drives her to distraction and salted with gray. His face was lined a bit and his goatee salted as well.

This has happened once before where someone who’s been gone a while showing up in a dream looking his real age. My Uncle Jim popped into a dream not long before Will and I married, looking very much like the 65-year-old man he would have been and not the 39-year-old man he was when he died.

When I asked him what he was doing there, he said,

“I thought I should visit now.”

I had been on my way out to meet friends, but his arrival prompted me to suggest we stay in. He didn’t want me to change plans. He would come along after he changed into a clean shirt.

He was not the 30-year-old I remembered from before the ravages of illness. More solid. A bit thicker and hairy, but not on the order of a grizzly.

Throughout I was aware that he shouldn’t have been there but I got no further explanation from him about why other than he deemed the visit “necessary”. I sorta felt like he was less happy to see me than I was to see him and that the visit wasn’t for pleasure but one of those dutiful things a person does.

He watched me with an appraising sort of look. He seemed tired as though he’d come a long distance to spend time with me, but whatever he’d left behind him was still on his mind. He mentioned at one point that he wouldn’t be able to stay for more than the night. He had to get back. I didn’t ask where or why, and he didn’t volunteer any more information.

I’ve thought about it all day and I can’t figure out why – after all these years – he put in an actual appearance in my dreams. He has never felt the need before. It has a ghost of Hamlet’s father feel to it. Blunted purpose chiding? Perhaps.

3 thoughts on “What Would Freud Say? Or Was it Jung?

  1. Hmmmm…

    I tend toward Jung when it comes to dream analysis: We are extremely egocentric beings, and our dreams are all about ourselves. As such, everyone in our dreams is some aspect of ourselves.

    So, if it’s not a visitation from Beyond the Great Beyond … what part of you does a rightly aged Will represent? All the could-have-beens, should-have-beens? Maybe the Robertson brouhaha triggered thoughts of what your life could have been, if only, etc. And you need to talk to yourself about that, look at it, accept it, bless it, spend the night with it. And say goodbye to it in the morning, because it is not the life you have.

    Just my armchair psychiatrist chiming in. That will be 5 cents, please.

    1. That’s pretty good. I have never spent much to any time speculating on what could have been because it runs hand in hand with that other pointless exercise “What if he came back?”

      At least I have never done that since he died. I spent the first couple of months after his diagnosis, when everything collapsed pretty literally and I had to put a plan into place pretty damn fast or just throw the towel in, thinking about the future that wouldn’t be. Mourned the hell out of it. Let it go. It came back around like a boomerang a few times since for reasons that were beyound my control, but I know where I would have been and I know that I was never destined for that place anyway.

      Rob just turned fifty. Dee is acting more and more like a pre-teen – prematurely in my opinion. The older girls are mated – possibly once and for all given their ages. My mother, who is nearly 80, is actually talking about retiring, and if that isn’t a sign that I too am old – nothing is.

      I am going to be 48 and I keep thinking about the things I haven’t done. If Will represents anything, it’s the undone in me. Blighted purpose. That’s the key. Dang Shakespeare for teaching me a lesson via my least favorite of his characters. It proves your point that it wasn’t a “visitation”, however, because Will and Shakespeare? Parallel lines. He wouldn’t have known it from a handsaw.

      Rob says I owe you five cents for sure. We’ll have to work out a payment plan.

      1. I’ve always had a good knack for making sense of dreams (another of my apparent self-contradictions). It’s gratifying to know I can still get it right sometimes.

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