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Monday, December 26, 2011

Dreaming of Oceans

Yesterday, I dreamed that I visited the world's largest aquarium with my father. A large glass wall soaring 40ft high separated us from the depths of the ocean, where thousands of titanic colorful fish thrashed around in a frenzy. They looked like prehistoric sea creatures engaged in an endless battle. Their bodies were larger than whales and their movements more violent than erupting volcanoes. I was in awe!!!

Earlier this year, I had a dream a week before visiting my father's cemetery, near his one year anniversary of passing. I recorded it on a scrap of paper near my bedside, and typed it out later:
Oct 30, 2011

There's a competition for pianists with an undisclosed life-changing prize on the line, and I find myself in the final round. There are no other competitors left; just myself. I'm moving through highway traffic in South Korea, and I'm being driven in a car that's been hired to take me to the final location where the jury shall announce whether I'm a worthy recipient of the award. All the judging has occurred, and as I'm imagining musical notes in my head, my guide assures me that I will not have to perform tonight (I'm nervous because I don't feel prepared for a surprise recital). This evening is simply for everyone to gather and hear the news, good or bad. She does mention that if I am declared the winner, I will have to perform in the country sometime within the next several days. A bit soon, but no sweat.

We are spirited away into a church or cathedral, where numerous people have already filed in to take their seats at long rows of pews. I recognize members from my church when I was young, people I haven't seen since my childhood. Most in attendance are unknown to me, however. Relieved, I finally locate my mother.

To my complete shock, my deceased father is at her side, their arms casually linked. He looks no older than 48, 49 and in his prime. Despite my baffled state, Korean words spill from me with ease. I address my mother, "How is this possible? I need an explanation right now!" She shoots me a look of concern, a pursed face that seems to communicate, "it's not appropriate to discuss these matters here." I push, though. "Are we all dead?!"

This time her face exudes calm compassion, "No, not here. I'll explain later, it's not what you think. We're alive, don't worry." Then, I somehow seem to understand. As I look around the room, other faces that were previously obscure in my memory, take on familiar semblances. Other deceased people are alive and well with their families. They are not ghosts, nor are they spirits. The 'gone ones' have the same physicality and non-mystical presence as the living. They are all here with us in this unique place where our memories of loved ones are enough to bring them into the present. The past and future don't exist. Only the present, reshaped by the desire to have our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends here. There isn't even an acknowledgment of the supernatural elements even though this is unnatural as it gets.

There is no mention of death. It just is. They just are, and the gone ones stand by our sides alive as we remembered them. I don't feel any sadness, just a surprisingly quick acceptance of these circumstances. Somehow I've stumbled into a chapel, the one place in the world, where our persistent hearts have kept the memory of past souls alive. They exist here with us, only when we are here with them. I've forgotten about the competition, realizing I've already won. I've reached far enough that I am allowed access to this special place. When I go home, I know what I must do. I must cherish and remember the memories of those I've lost, because it is my memory that nourishes their existence. It is my memory that gives them life, and it is not an afterlife, but simply a portal where they can come into my dreams and offer silent comfort on a chilly, autumn's night.


  1. What an interesting dream. I must be a mutant. I dreamed two days ago that I went into a fast food place and Mondo Guerra of Project Runway stole my car. Why him, a car theft, fast food? I fear it's time for a therapist. :)

  2. Young, that is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.