Last night I dreamed of Nicky Reiwoldt. Apologies to Nicky’s wife but we were at some kind of singles weekend and, in the way of dreams, although we were both married, we were also single and available.
Nicky was his young and luscious self and—don’t laugh—I was forty years younger and seriously gorgeous too.
For those of you not in Australia, Nicky is the captain of one of our State football teams. He is tall and handsome and by all accounts a lovely young man and a great role model for the up-and-coming players in his team.
Because of his height, Nicky can sometimes seem a touch aloof. He appears to have it all—good looks and success, a blonde trophy wife, a beautiful new baby.
In my singles dream, one minute Nicky seemed interested in me, the next we were both as shy as each other, holding back, a touch afraid. And I was crippled by doubt and distress.
How should I interpret this dream? If Nicky is a male aspect of myself, the dream helps me understand that, as with him, people might think I have ‘everything’. Husband, family, a comfortable life, and now, every writer’s dream, a published novel under my belt. And because I’m quite shy, they might also think I’m a bit standoffish and aloof.
But of course this is no truer of me than it is of Nicky. No one gets it all. Everyone suffers.
Over the last few years, Nicky has had a string of football injuries. Still a young man, he is nearing the end of his sporting career without a grand final win. And tragically, he recently lost his young sister to a rare bone marrow disease.
I wonder how much of Nicky’s ‘aloofness’ hides a well of grief that he carries with him in his everyday life. As most of us do.
The other day a close friend said: ‘You’ve had plenty of mucky moments in your life. How do you cope?’
Surprised, I rattled off the first things that came to mind.
I meditate, I told her, though not as regularly as I should. But when I do, it takes me into that strong, deep part of myself that anchors me on a choppy sea.
I walk the dog on the beach. I see swans with a fluffy new cygnet floating on a mirror sea. A moss covered tree a hundred years old, a fairy tree. Nature nourishes my soul in the deepest spiritual sense.
My husband is my rock but friends are important too. Although I love my solitude, I make sure I’m never alone for too long. A phone call, a catch up, a coffee. Family and friends are lifelines too.
But mostly, I cope by writing. It is my sanctuary and salvation. By losing myself in the deep solace of my imagination, when I return to the world, I feel strengthened and better able to cope. (I wonder if playing football does the same for Nicky?)
My friend reached out and gave me a cuddle. When she was young, she went through a bitter divorce with a violent and manipulative husband. She lost custody of her son and although they are now reconciled and she has gained two precious grandchildren, she is often overwhelmed by the pain of her past.
She knows I have lost a child and a grandchild too. For the last few years, my son and I have been estranged for a lot of foolish reasons that he is not yet ready to address, and in the process, I’ve been denied my grandson.
Mucky doesn’t come close to how it feels.
If I speak about my loss, people often share their painful estrangements too; sisters and brothers who have not spoken for years; parents and children torn apart; grandchildren denied the love of their grandparents; the awful, ongoing hurt.
In my dream, as the weekend drew to a close, Nicky and I made arrangements to meet. We were both tentative; each feared rejection. But somehow we managed to find enough courage to reach out to each other. The feeling was exquisite, the relief immense.
Is this the message of my dream? That, despite both of us fearing rejection, my son and I might yet find a way to connect? I hope it is soon.