Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dreams and grace

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?


  1. It wasn't until this summer--at the 5-year mark--that I finally felt I'd done "enough" and had finally attained that greater peace you mentioned. I think a lot of it was because I'd finally hit a prolonged, sustained happier place for several months, so it was easier to feel at peace with my life now. Maybe it was a function of time, maybe the 5 years, or maybe just finally pulling out of what was probably another minor depression over the winter. Who knows? I've been feeling a bit lower the last week, post-vacation, than I had been before vacation, but I'm assuming it's just a natural reaction after a good summer and vacation. But I'm hoping the peaceful, more serene place returns more firmly once Anna's birthday passes and school starts in 2 weeks. Guess I'll just have to wait and see.

    Four years, in hindsight, was a weird space. Far better than it had been in years past, but still a strange limbo space between healing and grieving. I'm glad (in a strange way) that more time has passed, because it means the pain is farther away. Since I can't change what happened nor bring Charley back, nor erase how it changed me, all I can do now is be glad that I'm not raw and flayed open anymore. The passage of time sucks, but the relief from pain is welcome.

    I think I'm just babbling without having any real point. Except to say that I hear you, and I understand completely.

    Hugs, my friend.

  2. Thanks for your comment (and your hugs!), and for giving me the hope that it will come in time. Always more time.

  3. I'm deep in the type of suspended animation you describe, but even so, I have good days. I hope and pray to get better and better as time passes, but I'm sure I will never be the same.