Dream of the Month (November 1996)
- Title: Rising from the Dead
- Date of the Dream: March, 1996 (received Thursday, 10 Oct 1996)
- Dream: My friend Sanju and I were visiting a museum where they were having a special exhibit on death and the remembrance of loved ones. Sanju and I were walking around the exhibit, looking at different tombstones mounted on the walls illuminated by spotlights and special track lighting. Right in the middle of the exhibit room was my friend Josh (who in real life was killed in a car crash in June of 1995). He was dead and laid out in an exhibit in the museum. His body was perfectly preserved under a glass case (similar to Snow White's glass coffin). Spot lights surrounded Josh's display case. His name, life history, date of birth and death, and the way he had died were all engraved on this plaque at the foot of the glass case. I was sad and started crying as I looked at the "exhibit" of Josh. I remember telling my friend Sanju I thought it was too much that Josh's parents would allow his body to be on display like that.
All of a sudden, Josh sat up, and then laid back down! Sanju and I both screamed, and I was terrified. Josh opened his eyes, then closed them. He raised his right arm and set it down. Then his left arm raised up, and went back down. He raised his right leg, and set it down, and then his left leg. These movements repeated for a few minutes. Josh's limbs were raised and lowered in a sequence of jerky, rote patterns. I realized that Josh was not alive. In order to keep his body "lifelike" the museum had connected Josh to an electrical shock wave contraption that systematically moved his limbs every few minutes (much like an electrical system designed for paralyzed patients to move their limbs). Once I had figured out that Josh was not "alive" I was relieved, but still upset, because I hated to see Josh on display like that, having his body move around like a puppet or rag doll. It was not Josh anymore.
Finally, after Josh had completed this pattern of movement two or three times, I wanted to leave the museum. Sanju and I waited until Josh was lying down again, and turned to leave the exhibit. As we were walking up the ramp, our backs to Josh, I heard a shattering of glass behind us. We turned around and it was Josh. He had broken out of the glass coffin and was slowly dragging himself toward me. I noticed he was walking in the same jerky manner. It was the electronic machines that propelled him, not actually Josh walking himself. He was still dead, but coming towards me. I was so scared. I did not know what he was going to do to me. I just stood there, paralyzed in fear. Josh's arms were outstretched and reaching for me. I sensed that he wanted to hug me. So I reached out and hugged him tightly. But he was cold and stiff and his skin felt like rubber; he was definitely dead. I was crying because it was so sad and I missed Josh so much. Then I looked into his eyes, which, up to this point had been filmy and distant, not focused. All of a sudden I saw a flicker of life. Not that Josh was alive again, but there was a little part of him inside that was trying to communicate with me. When I looked into his eyes, I heard him almost telepathically tell me that he wanted to come with us, not to leave him alone down there in the museum's basement. I was still crying, but I knew he could not come with us. It just was not Josh anymore. So Sanju and I turned and walked out of the room, and Josh just stood there silently, sadly, watching us go.
- Significant life event: My dear friend Josh was killed on his 19th birthday in June of 1995, along with two other friends in a car crash.
- Personal concerns/issues: Josh's parents have taken their son's death extremely hard, and I feel they have gone overboard in trying to keep his presence alive. They even put his ashes under a glass box, and they keep it "on display" on their fireplace mantle.
- Associations: Obviously, I associate the ashes under glass with Josh being on display at a museum. But I am not quite sure about the whole electrical wiring thing.
- Category: anomalous nightmare psychic experience
- Pen Name: Nancy
Dr. Holloway's Comments:
The focus and meaning of this dream require little interpretation. It clearly reflects sadness at the loss of a friend, as well as personal pain at the manner in which his family chooses to deal with his loss. In addition however, the dream provides a clue regarding the grieving process of the dreamer. The animation of the corpse suggests that some facet of the dreamer's life serves to aggravate her grief and to "keep alive" her raw sense of loss. Although the dream's theme is extremely sad, the final scene suggests that her personal, private connection with Josh has not been lost, despite his death, and despite the the way others deal with their feelings about his death. The affection and connection between the dreamer and her friend have not been lost, and it is in this simpler, more private feeling that the dreamer may find consolation and healing. The grieving process is never easy, but it often evolves more normally and healthfully when something nudges us to remember the loved one as they were, rather than to dwell upon the horror of their loss, or to burden ourselves with concern about what is appropriate, expected, or how others respond to the loss.