When my nephew Ryan died from injuries sustained in combat in Iraq, I was affected greatly as was everyone in my family. So much so that I had several dreams about him that seemed not only real but prophetic. At the time I thought he was reaching out to me to give me comfort to get me through the grieving period. Now I see them as self-analysis tools. What I mean by that is that I believe my mind created those dreams in order that I could put myself at ease about what happened to Ryan.
The first dream I had about Ryan was sort of surreal in that I was looking across a field with some half clam shell type structures that the military routinely uses to house troops in. But the whole thing was like 2D in a way. In looking across this vast, flat land, Ryan came up to me and said, “Hey uncle Joe, how are you doing?” I said, “Ryan, everyone has been in such grief since you died.” He looked very concerned and said, “Well uncle Joe, I’m really okay here. I have to go but make sure and tell everyone there is no reason to worry, because I’m okay here and I’m safe.”
The dream ended there. But you can see how a dream like that may seem like Ryan was sent back to tell me something to put everyone at ease about his death. As I look back I know that my mind was having a hard time processing all of the grief so it likely put that little scenario together to help me get through that difficult period.
The second dream I had took place in what looked like an elementary school or something like that and I walked up to the front area and a very nice, gracious lady asked if she could help. I told her I was looking for Ryan. She said, “oh yes, Ryan. Wait right here and I’ll get him for you.” The next thing I knew, Ryan was walking up and we hugged and he said, Hey uncle Joe. Is everything okay?” I smiled and said, “everything is not okay. Everyone misses you and worries because they won’t see you again.”
Ryan put his arm around my shoulder and said, “you need to tell everyone, I’m in good hands here and they need me and I’ll see everyone later on.” And about that time, he said, “Uncle Joe, I have to get going. They need me now.” And he immediately picked up a small child and carried the child back to the play area where other children were playing.
I believe that dream was put together in my head because his widow Sarah had just told me about an incident where Ryan got beat up pretty badly by three other guys who were beating up on one smaller kid. Ryan came to the smaller kid’s rescue allowing him to run away, but that focused the beating on Ryan. In the dream he was taking care of small children and believe it has something to do with being a protector type. Probably the reason he went into the service anyway. At least some of the reason.
I am aware that our subconscious minds can fix many things physical and emotional that go wrong or that need to be fixed. Our subconscious made us from the beginning and can fix us too. So the concept of having a dream to fix something that is causing stress is something that makes good sense to me.
And it still does come up with fixes occasionally. Recently I had another dream about Ryan and it has been nearly ten years since he died. In my dream I was standing looking from a distance at an open grave in the graveyard. It was Ryan's grave at the Riverside National Cemetery. At the foot of the grave stood Ryan and three angels. Not angels with wings, but i knew they were angels just from the peaceful look upon their faces. They were standing looking down into the grave with no particular emotion showing on their faces other than one of peace and contentment. Ryan turned to me and said, “hey uncle Joe. These ladies are really nice. They watch after me and make sure I’m okay. Where we are is very peaceful and no one is sad.” I said, “well that’s good Ryan. I’m really glad to hear it son.”
That is where the dream ended or at least that’s all I remember of the dream. Likely there was more but dreams have a habit of slipping away from our conscious memory very quickly. Luckily that part of it I can still picture in my mind even now. And it is very peaceful. Again, my mind telling me not to worry because Ryan is okay and we will see him again.
Throughout my life I suppose I have had other dreams such as these. Maybe not dreams that allow me to accept a death but dreams nonetheless that set something right in my mind or give me ideas on how to fix something in my life. If only we humans could record what our dreams are and replay them as needed, we might be able to take our lives to a higher level of comfort. In the end, I believe now that it is my own mind that creates these scenarios from memories and puts them together for a purpose. That gives new meaning to the old nursery school song, life is but a dream.