Case Vignette: The Ice Cream Truck That Keeps Coming Around

A colorful uncle is embodied by an ice cream truck that remains on a loop that “keeps coming back around.”

[In this condensed transcript of a Dreamscaping session, a grief event is therapeutically manipulated by arriving at a playful, healing dreamscape.]

TOUCHING UPON THE LOSS & THE UNMET NEED

C: My Uncle Frank passed away in our home when I was 10 years old.
He died of lung cancer, which is slow and very hard to watch. He had a big hand raising me. Both my parents are alive, but Uncle Frank was The Man! A huge creative influence. He got me into art. He taught me how to draw. He got me my first trumpet. He listened to all my records, and I’d listen to his. We’d watch baseball together, and root for different teams!
T: When he moved in, were you scared of losing him?
C: I wasn’t told beforehand that he was coming to us. No one explained what home hospice was. I’m only 10 years old, so I thought he’d get better. But when I saw with my own eyes he had to sit in the shower, that he couldn’t breathe, that I couldn’t talk to him anymore, I felt really alone.
T: So, this fun sibling thing that you had with your uncle that you didn’t have with anybody else. It’s now gone.
C: (Pause). It still chokes me up.
T: What do you think you could use a dose of?
C: Reassurance that he is still here. We say that all the time. Our dog passed away too. He was like a human. Same exact personality as Uncle Frank. Funny. Chaotic. He would insert himself in the room, and come barging in.
T: Sounds like Uncle Frank didn’t act his age.
C: Through pictures you can see he had this funny, goofy personality. It would be great to remember how funny he was. I forgot he was the funny guy.

SEEKING POSITIVE EXCITATION & NOVELTY-FINDING

T: So, if you had to pick a funny, goofy memory, what do you have for me?
C: Definitely this day in suburbia. Frank and me are outside. I just won’t stop asking for ice cream, so Uncle Frank ties me to a tree with my own jump rope!
T: Did you get free?
C: No. But it was ok. Because I knew the ice cream truck would be passing and coming back around.
T: So, no feeling of desperation?
C: Bummed as I was, I knew it was 3pm and that the truck would come back around another time. I thought: I can always get that ice cream. It was almost like a play. I’m not really upset, just having so much fun playing this little kid who doesn’t get her ice cream, wink wink.
T: “I knew the ice cream truck was passing and would be coming back around.” Listen to yourself.
C: Jeez. The ice cream truck was my Uncle Frank!
T: You want to describe that scene for me?
C: It was honestly one of the most colorful days I ever saw. Such vibrancy! The grass was so green, the jump rope so bright pink. The ice cream truck so colorful.

ASSEMBLAGE OF THE TANGIBLE DREAMSCAPE

C: I have a pretty good idea what I’m going to do. Going all funky on that photo and bumping up the vibrancy. Sweeping a brush of colors off the page. Creating this loop that always ends in, “He’s here now.” It’ll be so colorful, and so him.