Dreaming

Slept like a baby at my in-laws’. Had a lovely, wonderful day and evening with them. I can’t tell you the peace it brings me to be there. It’s like old times, as if Adam is there too but just not in the room. Probably because he is.

As far as I remember, I didn’t have any dreams at all! Just slept really peacefully.

Yet, after I returned home I dreamed of Adam. And it was the same kind of dream I keep having about him. He is there. He is not dead. But he is sick. First I have the elation of realizing he isn’t dead, and then I am devastated to see that he is sick. It’s like the reverse of waking up from a bad dream. I think I’m waking up to find that he is ok, only to discover he is sick, only to then realize that I am dreaming and I know that everything is false.

Am trying to figure out what all this means. If it means anything other than the obvious. I think my brain just refuses to acknowledge that he’s gone, and then, in my dream, while I’m trying to convince myself that his death is a dream, my rational brain intervenes and says to get with the program, here is the truth.

It all left me down but not out, as that dream may have done two years ago. Three years ago? I’d have been immobile afterward. Have to keep reminding myself that I’m making progress even if it doesn’t seem so.

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What Now????

As my widowhood become less of a daily in-your-face reality, I wonder what I have to offer you. I can offer my news of healing, if that’s what you need, or I can talk about the ever-widening incidents of sadness, dreams, remembrance.

Right now I’m just feeling the pressure of being the “It” girl, and not in the super-model kinda way.

I’ve been at the beach this week; hallelujah and thank goodness for this escape. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the beach or doing errands or just shopping when the heart-rate increased and the breathing became more shallow, and then I realized that I didn’t have to get back to the house to do something for someone, person or beast. It’s almost embarrassing to say how palpable the relief is. 

That pressure has been here for so long. So long. And it’s something I wanted. But I don’t really want it anymore. And I feel guilty.

Tonight I watched a show I’ve never seen before: Flashpoint. We don’t get a lot of variety on standard cable at the beach.

It’s left me with at least one sneaky tear running down my cheek.

It was about doing what you have to do, forgiving yourself for the things you don’t like about that, and finding a way to find a positive future.

I haven’t yet assimilated these Hollywood lessons into what I’ve been feeling already, but I’m hoping for an epiphany. In case that doesn’t happen and the revelation is more like a Dollar Tree party popper, well, that’s ok too.

I’d love to know from you guys what you might want to hear now that I am not a crumbled crisis every night of the week. If you have anything to say about that.

The post just below this one is about Sheryl Sandberg. Wish I had some kind of widow-fiber-optic to check in on her. Status doesn’t matter when you’ve lost your love. Love you Sheryl Sandberg.

The Chameleon

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Staggering bouts of grief are no longer my reality. For this I am deeply thankful. Life seems to be finding its channel again, although this is obviously a new stream without the high banks I was used to before Adam passed away. Now the banks are low and the flow pushes over them fairly often, but then, just as quickly it seems, ebbs back into that new channel.
The old feelings still do come. Tonight I had to spend quite some time stretching and using my foam roller on some very tight muscles that I fear are the result of my new spinning obsession. Re-obsession, really. Honestly, that hour I spend on the bike each Tuesday and Friday is, right now, the most centering time in my life. As with all good things, it seems to come with a price, which I’m happy to pay (as long as it doesn’t get worse!).
As I stretched and rolled tonight I was listening to one of my favorite Pandora stations, simply called Ambient. The stream was peppered with poignant tunes that I just felt Adam was sending to me to say, “I’m here.” I wondered if it was silly to believe after all this time that he is sending me music, Despite that, I do believe it. It makes me feel better. If I’m wrong I don’t care.
My psychologist has told me that I need to take more time for myself, especially since the kids are home for the summer. Self-care–that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I counted tonight’s stretching and such as that.
I have also realized that as part of my self-care it is time to return to church. Not the kind of full-throttle return that I was tempted to. No, a gentle re-entry, going every now and then, not volunteering for anything. Just showing up. Last Sunday was the fifth Sunday of May, the occasion of our church’s sharing services at the AME church in town. All right! I’d never been to a black church and was totally up for it. I cruised over from St. Matthew’s after a short service of Morning Prayer.
What a wallop.
First of all, I had met the church’s pastor before. He and our rector were in Winston-Salem the day that Adam had his craniotomy at Wake Forest and stopped by to check in with us in the ICU. That dramatic day was the day I met this man. As I remembered that meeting, it wasn’t a shock, it didn’t take me by surprise, and the fact of it was strangely but thankfully benign. All was well.
At the end of the children’s sermon, as the kids returned to their seats, the congregation started singing “Jesus Loves Me.” Oh. No. I had not heard this song since we sang it at Dad’s memorial service almost a year ago. Boom! Tears. Big ones overflowing the banks of that shallow stream. Oh great. I was totally unprepared. No tissues. Taken by surprise. Ambushed. And then everything was emotion. I started focusing on the preacher, feeling again the emotion of that evening that he came to visit us. Thinking of my dad, whose loss I *still* have not grieved properly. Crushing. Right there before God and everybody.
Despite my lack of preparedness I reigned myself in and made it through the rest of the service, but hot-footed it out of there before anyone could get between me and the door. Thankfully I had walked over from our church, and the walk back through town was therapeutic. I took a little moment to sit in the Memorial Garden upon my return to St. Matthew’s, on the wall between the markers for Adam and Dad, and it was good.
So when my sister sent me the photo above, I began to think again about the past few days and weeks, and how grief has changed yet still runs in the background. It has indeed become that which I predicted long ago–a chronic disease that flares now and again, but not an acute condition.