Just before I woke up this morning my wife’s brother appeared to me in a dream. I don’t remember the exact details, but for some reason I was trying to “shoo” a large group of black puppies into the old house where I first met my brother-in-law. At some point during this process I remember a guy we used to call “Charlie Brown” being in the house, and trying to stay out of my way. I asked him what he was doing, but he said just that, he was trying to stay out of the way.
At some point my brother-in-law appeared, but he was a young version of himself, as if he was a teenager, or maybe just a tad older. He was clean shaven, and his hair was clean cut. I wasn’t very awake at this point in the process, so I don’t remember what we said, I just remember the impression of him being like an idealized version of himself. At one point he used the word “Thornbury,” but I don’t remember why, and I don’t know how to spell that for sure.
Later on I saw a white street sign with green lettering that had the word Thornbury on it, but that may have been the result of me thinking too hard, i.e., desiring a solution to the puzzle rather than following my usual edict of “observe and report.”
Update: See the last few paragraphs of this article for another meaning of this word, which I didn’t think of until after I wrote this post.
Back here in the physical world it was getting light out, and I had to go to the bathroom, so I got up and went to the bathroom wondering what that was all about. By all rights I should have gotten up, made some coffee, and started working, but this dream was bothering me. I decided to set an alarm for 90 minutes and get back in bed.
Back to bed
When I got back in bed I had two more long dream/vision sequences with him. The second sequence was again hard to recall, but I noted again that he was young and clean-shaven. Part of me wants to say that maybe he had been in the military, but I don’t think that’s quite right, I’m making too much of it; it’s just that he was cleaned up, stood up straight, and while he seemed like this young version of himself, he seemed smarter and more serious (which is why I say he seemed like an “idealized” version of himself).
During this second or third sequence some other people began appearing, including my wife, his sister, and a friend named Rosemary. There was an older man there who I should remember, but I can’t. This man appeared during a part of the dream where I had to deal with a hangnail, or something otherwise wrong with my toe. The man appeared and people in the dream felt like I should pay attention to him and/or respect him, but I was obsessed with this problem with my toe, and ignored him. During the dream I knew who he was, but I can’t think of him now, though I know he wasn’t the father or any other relative.
The third dream
In the third dream/vision, I had a dog inside a house, and there was a large group of wild/loose animals outside. I was worried the animals outside might try to get in through a sliding glass door in the back of the house, so I was trying to figure out how to lock this door. I was getting angry, and as I tried to shoo my dog away from the sliding glass door and into the main part of the house, my brother-in-law appeared in the kitchen.
Once again he was this younger, idealized version of himself, though this time he appeared as a black-and-white person in a dream that otherwise had the normal color tones to it. (More accurately, he appeared as various shades of gray.) This caught me off guard, and was probably the beginning of my “waking up” during the dream sequence. I stopped in my tracks, forgot all about my dog or the animals outside, and asked him something like, “Are you dead?”
I don’t remember his answer, but it wasn’t a clear “yes” or “no,” it was more of an “I don’t know” sort of answer. Sadly, I quickly lost consciousness again, and I don’t recall the rest of our conversation, though I know we spoke for a while.
Note: I made a significant mistake here. Instead of asking if he was dead, I should have asked, “Why are you here?” I don’t mind that I made other mistakes earlier, as I wasn’t really awake, but this was a blunder on my part.
Car in a parking lot
When I woke up again I was in a car with my wife and some other people I don’t recall, parked in a parking garage or parking lot of some sort. There was a lot of snow on the ground, and people coming into the lot were having a hard time dealing with it. The snow was very uneven, and everyone was sliding quite a bit in nonsensical ways.
I clearly saw the name of a restaurant during this dream, but I can’t remember it now. I don’t know that it was important, but it stood out at the time.
Donuts, coffee, and Waterloo
There was one more change of scenery related to me having some donuts, and wanting to make some coffee. I think I/we were in the old house where I first met my brother-in-law, and I really wanted some coffee to go with these donuts. The scene morphed several times, though my desire for coffee with these donuts remained a constant. At some point the Abba song “Waterloo” began playing, and I remarked to whoever I was with (my wife and some other people I can’t remember) that when I was in high school our cheerleaders did a dance routine to this song.
When I told everyone about this song and the cheerleaders at school, my youngest sister appeared in the dream. She was in school with me at the same time the cheerleaders performed this song, and I remember sitting next to a friend of hers named Alice during this performance. I note this because that’s how important it is not think during the dream process, but to just impartially observe and report. Once you start thinking, you influence the dream.
The entire dream sequence ended with my wife and I walking into an office that I should remember, but can’t. I still had the box of donuts with me, and my wife gave me grief over having too many things in my pockets. I pulled out a pink device of some sort. It was roughly the size of a cellphone, but it was something else. I showed the women in the office, and they remarked on it.
I “woke up” in the dream at this point and looked at my left hand, surprised to count five fingers. Surely I wasn’t awake, I thought, this must be a dream. As I strained to think harder I woke up in my bed back here.
Laying there I remembered that during one of the dream sequences my brother-in-law had some sort of yard/outdoor thing that he wanted to put away. It may have been a lawn chair or something else, I don’t remember exactly what, but I remembered that my wife had put something in this one area of the house, so I suggested he put it there as well. I think this was during the second dream sequence.
Parting thoughts and notes
I have no idea what this dream sequence was about, but in all my years of dreaming I’ve seen my brother-in-law only once that I can recall, and that lasted only a few seconds at most.
During the dream sequence I became concerned that he had died, and was “visiting” me. There isn’t anything in the dream sequence itself to indicate that he is dead, or will die soon, but some things that made me think this are:
- I made a vow last night not to help any more people who I see that are dying ... I interfered in this process once before, and I’m not happy with the result of doing that;
- he appeared to me as an idealized version of himself;
- his appearance in black-and-white;
- his grandfather appeared to me shortly before he died, and the grandfather’s way of saying goodbye was to appear on a golf course, then wave goodbye to me as he walked away from the 18th green and disappeared into the distance, so I came to wonder if people who are dying appear in a way that is pleasing to them, as my wife’s grandfather enjoyed golfing.
The last reason is really the biggest reason to make me think this dream sequence was a warning or notice of sorts. I’ve only had one dream that said, “So and so is dead”; every other notice of death dream has been like the golf course dream.
I should note that I haven’t seen my brother-in-law since 2007.
I should also note that I spoke to my wife via phone yesterday morning. We didn’t discuss her brother, but talked about her work, an upcoming wedding, and vacation plans. Two or three phone calls before this one she mentioned talking to her brother, and that he sounded horrible.
As a final note, when my brother-in-law was young he worked at a bicycle shop that may have been named “Thornberries,” or something similar to that. I seem to remember the slang name “Thornies,” though I don’t remember the specific name of the shop or this slang name.