Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Dream About A Calf

Last night, I dreamed about my mother. She was still gone, but someone was showing vivid, color photographs on a huge movie screen. The slideshow showed her laughing, being goofy as she liked to be (to hide her pain, she later said), looking happy. The theater was filled with relatives... my cousins, aunts, and uncles... and they were all laughing and enjoying the show. But I stood alone, unnoticed, outside of the darkened theater, looking in through a side door. I saw the photos of my mother on the screen, and my chest was filled with great having sobs, and I fell to the floor in tears. The pain... the emotional agony was palpable. It was as real in the dream as it was in reality when my mother rejected me, when she died, when she was gone and there was no longer any hope of resolution. I felt the powerful gripping sadness, loss, agony and could not control my tears.

Suddenly in front of me was my planner. I turned to the last page, crying, running my finger down a long list of phone numbers of friends and people I've known, looking for someone, anyone who I could call in my time of distress. I just needed someone to talk to, to care that I was hurting. I whispered, "who will care about me?" as I sought just one name, one number I could call and share my grief with, but there was no one. No one.

You see, when I left home at 18 and my mother stopped speaking to me, she stayed very close to my other relatives. When I was giving birth to my children, she wanted nothing to do with me. But she went to my cousins' weddings, held their babies, played with their children, welcomed them into her home. When I felt I needed her most, she rejected me but embraced my cousins and loved them as if they were her own children. I was the outsider, looking into that dark theater. Yet when she died, it was just she and I alone... none of them there... and when I was filled with inconsolable grief, there was no one to call, no one to comfort me. Even now, they sometimes pull out a picture of her and smile and laugh. They reminisce about the happy memories. And I can't. I hear them laughing but I have still had a lot of pain and anger buried inside.

At the end of my dream there was a calf. When I was a little girl, my mother used to take me to a nearby dairy farm to see the calves. I did not like them. I thought they were gross and smelly and I didn't like the way they stuck their big long tongues up their noses. While my mother was fawning over the calves, I'd wander away and pet the barn cats or the ponies. But the calves were always my mother's favorite. She cried whenever anyone around her ate veal. Really.

In my dream I had a little white calf. It was lying on the ground on its side. Its front leg had been chopped off, most of its hair was shaved off, and it couldn't walk. It had long cuts along its side, but it did not seem to be in pain. I was kneeling beside it about to cut a panel of flesh out of its side with a knife. I'd begin to press the blade to its skin, but each time it would look at me with innocent eyes and I just couldn't kill it. Finally, I felt sorry for it, put the knife down and started to pet its head and scratch behind its ears. The calf closed it eyes in contentment, and I finally felt some emotion... compassion... for the calf. As I realized I could not kill the calf, I felt such relief... a burden lifted from me... and I sat feeling the peace and calmness as I gently ran my fingers over the bit of soft hair on the calf's head.

Then I woke up.

It may seem like I've talked about the mother thing enough over the years, but this is different. This time I am seeing things very, very differently. I feel myself changing inside in my attitude and emotions toward her. The bitterness is leaving, the acceptance of some of the things she loved is appearing, and the angry desire to despise everything that has to do with her is disappearing. I am becoming free to be the person I truly want to be, rather than blindly rejecting and subconsciously mimicking the traits and patterns of my mother.


timothy said...

that's wonderful darling and I think in the dream you ARE the calf, so havin self love/compassion is how to free yourself!

Anonymous said...

I think your Father in heaven is telling you something with this dream. He sees your pain, and the way to heal is to stop trying to "kill" the things your mother loved. Let yourself love them, too.

You have come so far and I think this processing has been the missing key to your keeping off all the weight.

Janet said...

I'm commenting here simply because this is the latest post. I just tripped over your blog looking for a recipe. I am impressed and jealous of your weight loss. I keep going in circles and do not accomplish anything. Kudos to you.

Steelers6 said...

Interesting. The dream, & this somewhat recent part of your journey.
I'm proud of you. You are looking at some painful areas. Are you still able to meet with professionals to talk things out?
I would have taken your call.
Love, Chrissy xo

Lyn said...


my counselor is what prompted the new examination of this topic. We have a discussion, then he gives me 'homework' to think about. I have to say, he really does have me thinking about things in different ways and I am grateful for that.

and Chrissy... thank you, for saying you'd have taken my call :) That means a lot to me!

MargieAnne said...

That was a very real dream. I could almost step into it with you as you wrote it.

I am learning about the love of God as Father and also Mother. There are some beautiful bible passages describing this love. I am also understanding more that there is a sense in which we are all orphans until we have our love needs filled. You are on a wonderful journey of discovery.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Lyn, (((HUGS))). You've been through hell and back, haven't you? I had terrible issues with my own mother (she was horribly abusive to me, and neglected my sister and especially me to be there for my aunts and their kids.) But your story breaks my heart, at least a few of my relatives saw through my mother's cruelty and embraced me, were there for me when she died, and gave me back my self-esteem. My heart goes out to you. May you find the peace and love you deserve.

dlamb said...

Lyn, glad to see that your therapy sessions are leading you into a new direction, rather that the spiral that seems to have trapped you all these years. You've always been introspective and analytical, which is a good thing, but rumination is an entirely different process, when it does not lead to new directions that improve your life.
I am glad that you stuck with the search until you found somebody who could aid in the emotional/intellectual work you were already doing. I wish you much success with it. May this jettison you into some sort of freedom and serenity so you can put all the positives and negatives of your history into a context that aids rather than hinders you in achieving your goals, whatever they may be.

Reposted after editing, since I will not learn to do it BEFORE posing if I live to be 200! damn!

Lyn said...

Thanks guys :)

beerab said...

Aren't dreams amazing? It's definitely about your feelings towards your mother. I like to do dream interpretation. I mean obviously you got the part where you felt like an outsider in your mother's life, but the calf can also symbolize immaturity.

You are right that the calf symbolized your mother, who from your posts was never really fully happy? Or "whole" in the case with the calf. You not killing it and instead comforting reflects your change in attitude towards your mother :) You loving the calf gave you relief from your burden in the dream because that's all you want to do is give your mother love. To you, that feels better than hating her.

Yeah pretty much what you said :)