my uncle is dying

Dear Worried Dreamless:

Your uncle’s dream is a straightforward representation, in dream form, of his concerns about growing older and dying. The fact that the dream just recently started, is recurring, and that he awakens from it perspiring, indicates that he is thinking about death quite frequently at this particular point in time, and that he is nervous about it. It is also significant that your children, who have their entire long lives ahead of them, find his body first; the contrast between youth and advancing age is drawn.

Sixty-five years is a pivotal age in our society. Even if we don’t feel old, society begins to tell us that we are past our prime. We are asked to leave our jobs and careers behind to embrace the “golden years” of retirement. For many people though, retirement is not a happy occasion; for some it can be seen as the “last lap” in the race of life. Retirement naturally causes us to confront our mortality.

I would encourage your uncle to talk about his dream. He may have specific concerns that can be relieved by discussion and actions. He may be worried about how everyone is going to get on and manage when he is gone. Perhaps he is specifically worried about the children or the grandmother who appeared in the dream. If he is, then he can take steps now to ensure their future security, and this will give him peace of mind.

Your uncle’s doctor says he is healthy and has many more years of life to enjoy. Your uncle should take some comfort from this diagnosis and relax. Age 65 really is quite young. On your uncle’s 75th birthday you both most likely will remember this dream with a smile.

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