#42 What Does It Mean?

pexels-photo-149988.jpeg   The other night I had a terrifying nightmare.  Like so many others I’ve had since I was a child.   They say it’s an aftereffect of being raised in a doomsday cult. So anyway, I woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat with my heart pounding so hard and my head swimming with confusion.  The time was 0436 and the number 42 was stuck in my head on a loop that kept flashing before my eyes. I sat straight up in bed and tried to make sense of what was going on.  Why was I sweating and breathing so hard?  Why was I scared out of my mind?  I tried to close my eyes and go back to sleep but that number 42 kept racing through my head.  So I gave up and decided to figure out the significance of this number in my life.

   Since childhood I had developed many coping mechanisms to deal with the nightmare that was my life.  Mostly though, I had learned to suppress my feelings by pushing them way down deep and ignoring them.  However, after my father’s death I was no longer able to just ignore the nightmares and panic attacks I was having on a daily basis.  So I saw a therapist who helped me to work through many issues and encouraged me to face my fears and demons in the hope that it would decrease their frequency and power over me.

   So, that’s what I did that night.  I sat up in bed and turned my bedside scentsy lamp on and started doing some deep breathing exercises to slow my heartbeat down and calm my fears.  After a few minutes I started to meditate and allowed my mind to take me wherever it wanted to go.  And within minutes, it came to me.  Once again it revolved around memories and feelings about my father.  I started having flashbacks to my father constantly telling me that he believed he would die at the age of 42, like his idol Elvis Presley.  He was convinced that after my mother left us he would die at the age of 42.  His lifestyle at that time certainly made it a distinct possibility.  He was drinking and self-medicating in an attempt to stop the hurt he was feeling caused by the betrayal of his best friend running away with my mother.

   Gladys Love Presley died at at the age of 42 from a heart attack and complications from advanced hepatitis.  Elvis was extremely close to his mother and had had a premonition that there was something wrong with her the night before she died.  When she died he was overcome with grief and became obsessed with the idea that he too, would die at the age of 42 too.  My father adored and emulated Elvis, playing his songs on his guitar or listening to his vinyl records endlessly.  So when it became public knowledge that Elvis was convinced he would die at the age of 42; my father believed his fate was sealed as well to die at the age of 42.  However, my father died when he was 64 years old of a prescription drug overdose.  So that didn’t solve the riddle of the number 42 interrupting and destroying my sleep.  I went back to meditating and within seconds the answer came to me.  It’s been 10 years since my father died; when I was 42 years old.

   I googled the number 42 and Wikipedia gives the following definition: The number 42 is, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”, calculated by an enormous supercomputer named Deep Thought over a period of 7.5 million years. Unfortunately, no one knows what the question is.”

   They say that some dreams are symbolic and are usually related to some conflict or stress in your life.  Does that mean I solved the mystery of my nightmare that night or is it all just mere coincidence?  I don’t know if Wikipedia is correct or if my deductions are right, but it sure seems like a weird coincidence to me.  I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised though because my whole life has played out like a wild crazy movie straight out of Hollywood!

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