Early this morning I had a dream that my husband died.
Yes, that already happened. To the first one.
But this dream was about my current husband. And it wasn’t by cancer.
This one felt so real. I swear it was in color. They told me it was a gunshot. They wanted me to go on and get through life because you know, I had obligations. So I went to a bridal shower and I felt like I was going to puke. The entire time I felt like I wanted to lose it, but I had to hold it together. I remember the dream ending with me sobbing in my father in law’s chest as I stood in my parents kitchen. And I woke up. I clutched my husband against me in our bed and I sobbed out loud as he held me back, telling me “I’m alive, I’m going to be here, I’m not going anywhere.” I didn’t have to tell him what the dream was about, he knew.
The problem with these dreams is they bring back the reality of how fucking difficult it is to be a widow.
I remember myself, several weeks ago, thinking “I could do this again if I have to,” the naive looking-back-on-things. But I don’t want to have to. I want that to be put off for as long as possible.
Saturday will be our one year anniversary, and I have no doubt I have all sorts of sub – conscious triggers going on in my brain. I want my marriages to be separate, to be able to give each of them their space and their attention, but sometimes that’s just not possible. The memories of how the one ended seem to infringe on my fear of it happening all over again. Of feeling that horrid alone-ness.
When I was at Camp Widow East last month, I felt like I was the widow on the other side. Laugh, it’s OK. I’m not quite 30, yet I was one of the people there who had been widowed the longest. That’s an odd feeling. I could keep my tears at bay while encouraging the others that right now you’re in seconds, but someday you’ll live in minutes, then days, then weeks and so on. But that’s because I was able to not go back there. I was able to keep myself in the present.
The only works for so long. Then Michele delivered her keynote. I was so proud of how I was holding it together, being an “old timer”. And then she said it. She explained that even though she’s remarried, a couple of months ago, she just wanted to be held by her late husband, to be in her late husband’s arms. That feeling that none of us want to admit when we’ve been remarried. She was meeting her late husband’s first grand child and holding him for the first time, and all she wanted to do was to be in his arms celebrating this moment with him. I sobbed. I related.
You know why? Because it feels like a betrayal admitting that to anyone. But Michele admitted it and it hit me that even 5.5 years out, grief still just sucks sometimes. Thankfully it’s not as often but when it hits it can be just as intense as those first seconds I had to struggle to breathe through.
So yes, I can understand now why my sub – conscious thoughts are crawling out through my dreams and why I woke up sobbing this morning. But that pain is a really beautiful thing. Sometimes I feel a bit hardened by grief, putting on my tough girl stance and pushing onward. I try not to be weak. But my husband’s love has weakened me in a wonderful way. He has brought back that part of me that wants to count on someone, depend on someone else, the part of me that wants to love without abandon. As we approach our year anniversary I know I am so deeply in love with him and will do anything and everything not to lose him or take his love for granted.
I knew that before, but I guess I know it a bit better now.