What does this mean?!

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Basically - my mum was an alcoholic. From what I thought, she burned down the family house years ago by being careless with a cigarette. Ever since I can remember, I've always known that it happened. In my head I can see it/remember it happening. I remember seeing her put down the lit cigarette and walk away. Ever since I was little I've told my friends about it, but because none of my family members had ever mentioned it, I always thought I'd dreamt it, so I never looked into it too much. Up until this year it's been my most vivid memory and I always tell people about it being a weird dream. I was taken away from my mum when I was very young, and she died last year from a fatty liver (alcohol overuse). Though I hadn't seen her for years, it hit me hard and I became suicidal. In February this year, I was talking to my dad about my mum and he said he couldn't listen because he can't bear hearing about her. Obviously I told him to stop being so disrespectful because at the end of the day she's still my mum. After this, my dad handed me divorce papers (all the reasons he got divorced from my mum) so I could gain a better understanding of why he was forced to get a divorce. One of the many reasons was because she "burned the family house down by being careless with a cigarette". So obviously I was like "Oh my god! This whole time I'd thought it was a dream and it's actually true!" Obviously it freaked me out a bit because I knew about it before I'd read the papers, but I just assumed I could remember it from my childhood. It's now July. I was talking to my boyfriend earlier about my mum and decided to re-read the divorce papers because it gives me a better understanding of things. I am so confused. It says my mum burned down the house in 1998. I was born in 2001, 3 years AFTER the house fire. I wasn't even alive to experience it. My whole life I remember it happening and I remember seeing it. It's my most vivid memory and I wasn't even alive when it happened. It's creeped me out because I knew it happened before I found out that it actually happened, and turns out I wasn't even there. It's weird because it happened before I was born but I remember being in it. I knew that it was my mum that did it and I knew that it was caused by a cigarette but no one had ever told me. So I asked my family if maybe they'd mentioned it to me when I was little and I'd just forgot and assumed I'd dreamt it. They said they made sure to never mention it to me because they thought I'd freak out about it. So if no one ever told me, how did I know it happened? How did I know how it happened? What does this mean?!
Kira, I think the most reasonable explanation is that you DID hear about it as a very young child....despite people saying they didn't 'deliberately' tell you, you could so easily have overheard grown ups talking!

Grownups nearly always don't take on board just how much little children can 'take in' ....remember the Victoran saying 'Little jugs have big ears' ....ie, that children playing absorbed, or watching TV, or in their prams etc etc, are actually 'soaking up' what has been said.

You could have heard it 'anywhere'....even at school. Afte all, a woman who burns down the entire family house is going to make local headlines, isn't it! You could have heard it in shops, from neighbours, almost anyone.

Plenty of sources of 'accidental input' of the information. you might even have read references in local papers, years later.

Plus of course, your family might be 'telling themselves' (and you!) that 'of course they never mentioned something so upsetting'.....because they wouldn't like to think that they actually did ....but that they actually did tell you, but don't want to remember telling you!

So, I do think that is the most 'reasonable' explanation.

Another possibility is 'repressed memory' or thereabouts. For all you know, your MOTHER may have told you, when you were very young, but you 'repressed' the memory in some way because it was scary, or because your repressed lots of memories from your mum because of 'bad associations' due to her alcoholism.

One other 'possible possible' and I only put this in because if this is 'sensible' to you, part of your own personal belief system, then it has to be considered, even if only to be rejected - there 'might' (and I say that with absolute 'dispassion') be an instance of some kind of 'telepathy' or 'psychic communication' or whatever whatever.

I really don't want to go down that path - as I say, that would be entirely up to you and depends totally on your own larger belief system. To some it makes 'sense' to others it doesn't (it's just our imagination).

I also think there MAY be a case for some kind of 'emotional symbolism' in it - for example, just off the top of my head, maybe the fact that your mum destroyed, burnt down the physical home by her carelessness is a kind of 'symbol' of the fact that her alcoholism actually destroyed your family......the 'house' is your family, and her carelessness (ie, her addiction to cigarettes - proxy for alcohol) caused it to be smashd to pieces, you were taken away from her (your 'home' was gone - destroyed....) and your father lost his wife, etc etc.

It seems to my totally lay interpretation, to represent both the dreadful 'loss' of your mum-and-dad family, and the cause being your mother. (We do not know what demons may have 'driven her to drink' - addictions are complex psychologically - sometimes they are caused by cowardice and self-indulgence, sometimes by horrors that need oblivion by drugs or drink)

All in all, why not get some counselling, both to try and 'sort out in your head' the significance, and likely cause, of this 'information' in your head (ie, the burnt house), and also, maybe, to sort out your feelings about your mum ,which are bound to be complex.

Remember, above all, humans are complicated, and we can have attitudes towards the same person which are conflicting (as you already know about your mum), and sometimes 'resolution' can only be found in 'acceptance of flaws' (which does not necessarily mean 'forgiveness of flaws' rather 'acknowledgement of flaws' perhaps.)

Wishing you all the best, Jenny

PS - I definitely know from my old childhood that there are things that I 'remember' which actually I am only remembering being told about, but which I have 'filled in' with 'seeing it happen'. And I definitely remember picking up things that grown-ups thought I was not listening to or paying any attention too!!
Hi Kira
If I was you , I'd start playing detective and seek out what was in the papers (not that you can believe everything you read) but a fire is usualy reported with some degree of acuracy. Find out about local newspapers in the area, if they still exist ask how you can research ancient back copies, if they no longer exist try local libraries or record office. I think it is the not knowing playing on your mind. Arm yourself with some real known facts and it may take away the images you have "created" to fill the void.
A very sensible idea from Henrietta. Hope you find out soon, and set your mind at rest.