Sometimes I wake up feeling like A has been near me somehow. I've come to learn that that feeling means that I have probably dreamed about him. It's not always easy for me to recall those dreams (or any dreams), though, so when I have that feeling, I try to stay in that quiet half-awake place to see if it'll come to me. I have so few dreams of A that I don't want to miss a one; I kept a dream journal over a year to see if it would help me remember my dreams better. I don't know if it helped or not. I am well into middle-age and all the joys it brings these days; I forget a lot of things, dreams included.
I woke up this morning feeling like he'd been close, and it took me awhile to tease the circumstances out of my foggy brain. It was most definitely a dream; I've had a few that I believe were visitations, but those mostly happened in the first year after he died. He has made himself pretty scarce; so scarce that even my own mind, full of wishes and frustrated desires for him to be there, doesn't seem to conjure him up.
In my dream, a man who looked just like A, although a little fuller in the face, was hanging out with a coworker of mine in the corner office near my cubicle at work. For some reason, he was sitting on the floor instead of in a chair. Every time I had to go talk to her, I saw this man, and I surreptitiously stared. He was polite, but we were strangers, and we didn't really speak beyond greetings. I would go back to my desk and muse on how uncanny the resemblance was, and how weird it was that he wasn't my A.
As the dream came back to me in pieces, lyrics for a possible song drifted through my mind, something about "I can't touch you, I can't reach you," because even though the man in the dream looked just like A, it wasn't him. I couldn't just reach out and touch him; it wouldn't be right.
It was this I pondered as I chewed my raisin bran before work this morning, and it all kind of came together: this is my reality. I have images of him, and I have memories, and they are so close—always right there—but I cannot touch him; I cannot reach him. He is so real in my head and my heart, but he is completely beyond contact.
This is what I find maddening.
And I guess my subconscious self is struggling with it, too. It has defined the problem for me, but, as usual, hasn't offered any solutions. Solutions are thin on the ground on Planet Survivor.
I can point precisely to the place in my chest, just above the solar plexus, that feels weird when I think about him, when I think about losing him, or rather, having lost him, when I think about how much I miss him. It just never goes away. The missing him never goes away, and lately, I've been feeling it palpably. I've been awash in random, startlingly clear memories and fantasies of him doing everyday things. I've been thinking strange A-related things apropos of nothing, like the other day when I was looking at his picture and I thought, "Oh my god…you were cremated!" Like I had forgotten, and then suddenly remembered what all this being dead meant, all the little creepy details.
I fell asleep the other night asking him, asking myself, asking the universe, "What else can I do? What else can I do to heal that I haven't yet done? What am I missing?" I'm better…but I can't help but feel like I'm not better ENOUGH. Not by anyone else's standards, but by my own. It just seems to me that if there is nothing I can do about his being dead, then I should at least be allowed a greater peace in his absence than I am managing.
Where's the grace?