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At 7:15 A.M., I awoke with this dream:

A very old nun is dying in her infirmary cell, its door closed until this morning when I noticed it.

This dream recalled my experience as a young nun with first vows, newly assigned to the community’s 12-grade Academy in New Orleans. It was August 1963. I was asked to take my turn praying by the bedside of a comatose old nun. The sister infirmarian saw my distress and explained features of the dying process, underway: irregular breathing, death rattle, sunken cheeks, blue feet, mottled arms resting atop the thin bed sheet. But there was no prayer that afternoon; instead I watched the oscillating fan wrap humid sighs around the old nun’s nightcap, tied under her chin.

Long years passed before squeamishness around the dying lessened, but that that would happen to me was kept at bay, even while working with hospice patients.

However, this morning’s dream appears to be another invitation to explore death, up close—my own. Weakness, difficulty formulating words, shortness of breath, need for oxygen, nightly cocktails of morphine and Lorazapan, Miralax for my bowels, decreased appetite—all speak of what’s coming. No longer can the death of my body be denied through the maintenance of my daily routine, the last vestige of control. I’m still supported by spirited caregivers, my new coaches into the unknown, one day a time.

It’s about letting go, about falling into the arms of God as others have done before me.

 

 

At 2 A.M., I awoke to this dream:

I am watching a terrifying phenomenon: two planets, one populated, hurtle through dark space, slated to crash into each other. Certain extinction will occur. I wake up before this happens.

This dream constitutes what is called a big dream in Jungian analytical psychology; it surfaces from the collective unconscious, the deepest level in our psyche as discovered and mapped out by C. G. Jung in the early 1900s. The following is a tentative proposal of the dream’s intent.

It feels like I was a witness to this pending tragedy as well as a participant among the living on the populated planet, all-aghast by the approaching disaster that seems locked within its trajectory of annihilation. No one speaks. No one knows what to do.

Such a scenario reveals the divide in my unconscious, perhaps my instinctual need to survive vying against the inevitability of my mortality. It’s just a matter of time before the collision resolves the issue—Sort of like another Big Bang, only this time, boosting my spirit-in-subtle body into eternal life, so I believe.

Since I have been receiving hospice care, death’s terror has seldom bruised my awareness—dark feelings, to be sure, setting the stage, then passing. So this dream, together with others, continue cuing me into the future of the unimaginable. Each day has its lessons for spiritual growth.

I pray to be faithful…

 

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