Life, Death, and Dream Analysis

Posted on November 18, 2013 by Vivi in VIVI'S VIEW

By Vivi Rathbone.

My eyelids were heavy from the strain of a full day of computer work, but I sat down at my desk again with the intention to write.  I started writing a letter to my father.

Dear Dad;

What happens when you die?  This is the question that I really want to know the answer to.  My psychoanalyst tells me that I’m afraid of life, and for that reason, I dream of death.  

I closed my computer and went to bed.  I fell asleep and sometime before the morning I fell into a dream.  My Dad was with me in my dream.  We were in a room with a table and a window.  The lighting was dull but warm.  Dad sat at the table, and I stood across from it.  Dad wanted me to sit down.  I wanted to sit down too, but we fought about it.  We both stubbornly insisted on the same thing, unable to reconcile our desire for the same outcome with our stubborn natures.  I just wanted him to listen me – and know that I was going to sit down.

My psychoanalyst asserts that sitting down represents settling down, stability, roots.

I sat down and said, ‘Dad, why do you always try to scare me?  Last week you sent me a picture of a corvette that was run over by a semi-truck, and warned me not to text message while I drive.  I didn’t understand, because I don’t drive a car, I haven’t driven in over two years.’

My psychoanalyst explained that a car represents autonomy, taking over wheel to drive my own life.

Then in the dream I asked you, ‘When you climb a mountain, or race a car, do you think of everything that could go wrong?  Does the fear drive you, or hinder you?  Are you conscious of the dangers, or do you think of the peak of the mountain or the finish line of the race, or something else entirely?  Are you afraid of life, or afraid of death?’

In my dream he told me:  ‘Dear, you’re the one who is afraid.’

I woke up, confused and disoriented.  I had been sleeping with my left arm over my head and all of the blood had drained out of it.  It was cold, and numb, and unable to register any sensation or move itself.  It was literally a dead arm, and I was terrified of the sensation of how cold and dead was my own skin.  With my right arm, I picked up my left arm and positioned it so the blood could flow back again.  I massaged it and tried to warm it and felt the prickly pin-like sensation of coming back to life as the blood rushed through my veins.

I couldn’t fall back asleep for a long time.  Instead I finished my letter. 

Dear Dad, 

You asked me what my exit strategy from Argentina was, and I said I didn’t know.  Leaving Argentina doesn’t scare me, but leaving life does.  

So I answer your question with my question:  What is your exit strategy?  What do you think happens when you die?  Should I live in fear of life, or of death?

I don’t want to live in a nightmare, I want to wake up.  I want to drive my own life.  

So I’m not going to be afraid.  You don’t have to be afraid for me, either.  




  1. Wow, this is beautiful and beautifully written!

  2. Very good post! And so close to home as well.


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