Thursday, March 20, 2014

Talking in my sleep

This is my third installment regarding the unconscious.  This entry describes how my unconscious provided me with an insight into my personality development.   It came under very odd circumstances.  Under great stress, I talk in my sleep.  For obvious reasons this is a very dangerous thing to do.   
When my wife to-be (Catherine) and I were first dating, we were not exclusive.  We were both free to date other people.  At this time, I and a couple of buddies went to a Club Med. resort for a vacation.   On the vacation I met a wonderful young lady.   After I returned I was very confused.  If you have ever had two women in your head at once, you know how stressful this can be.    
Anyway, I was very upset.  It obviously affected my sleep.  One morning when I woke up Catherine was sitting with a steno pad in her lap.  I had been talking in my sleep and she had three pages of notes she had taken down during my monologue.  I believe I was lucky to have not been clobbered with a machette that morning.  However, the notes went well beyond talking about the girl on the island.  The notes totally surprised me.  Some of it was jibberish, but some of it was extremely profound.  
One topic I talked about was my father.   I had trouble believing what I read.  If you had asked me before I read it, if it was true, I would have denied it.  But reading it in black and white made it impossible to avoid. 
In my sleep I related how my father was depressed.  I never thought of my father as depressed.  I thought of him as a happy, loving man.  In my sleep I recounted how occasionally we would come home in the evening, to find my father sitting in the dark, listening to melancholic music and crying.  As a boy, I never thought anything of it.  Consciously, it didn’t register.  But his sadness registered with my unconscious.  
I went on to say how I learned to be funny and silly in an effort to make my father happy.   Knowing he could be depressed, I developed a comic side to my personality to try and lift his spirits.  Consciously, I remember always trying to make him laugh with a joke or doing something silly.  It always worked.  He enjoyed my antics as a boy and it was one of the things that brought us close.  But it wasn’t until I read it in the steno pad, that I realized the direct connection to my father.  
When my father died, I was 19 years old.  I was a sophomore in college.  What I knew of death was what I had seen growing up on a farm.  I knew it was a natural part of the rhythm of the farm.  But it never occured to me that Dad could die. 
I remember on the night before he died, going into his hospital room and being silly and making him smile.    As I left the hospital, I said a prayer asking that as long as he could smile and enjoy life, he should be allowed to stay with us.  When he no longer could enjoy life, it was time for him to go.  The following night, despite my best effort, I could not even get a smirk out of him.  He was too uncomfortable and weak to smile.  When I left the room, I was devastated.  I knew this was it.  He was going to leave us.  Later that night, he died.  
For a while after he died, I held myself responsible for his death.  I kept thinking if I hadn’t of made that prayer, maybe he’d still be with us.  That was the thinking of a child.  Over time, I recognized that he died because it was his time, and not because of my prayer.   
It is an odd way to find out that a part of your personality, that you appreciate and enjoy, actually developed because of sadness carried by someone that you love.  Then again, I am forever grateful to him, as my light-hearted personality has been a great gift in my life.