Dream

Dimitri tells me his dream. “I’m on a beach, dressed in armor, beautiful metal, but very cumbersome. A powerful voice orders me to go into the water. I am extremely upset, because with this armor, I will certainly drown. At the same time, I cannot avoid the obligation to go into the sea. So I go forward in great anxiety, knowing that the armor will stop me from swimming. I wade into the sea until I’m almost submerged. Just when I feel completely overwhelmed with panic, the armor suddenly opens, and I find I am swimming, free and happy.”

[This is the response to the dream from the psychologist who has been sitting with him  in his moments of dying]

Dimitr’s dream tells him of a terror that will give way of its own accord as soon as he agrees to commit himself to the waves. Coming into the palliative care unit could be experienced as entering a sea in which one knows one will drown. And doesn’t the dream also announce a kind of miracle: being freed from the armor, or rather, the social face he has forged for himself like an iron mask? The sea of death transforms itself into the sea of life; the dream says in living his death, he would also experience liberation and happiness.

Marie de Hennezel: How The Dying Teach us to Live, Trans Carol Brown Janeway

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