It’s a funny thing about loss.
Sometimes our loved ones enter our dreams unannounced in various ways, but other times when we want to see them in our dreams – nothing.
I have had my fair share of dreams early on after James died, that he had not actually died and it was all a big mistake. The temporary relief that would wash over me like a cool breeze, was far outweighed by the dark cloud of sadness that confronted me upon awakening.
Since it’s been 4 years now, I’m not surprised that he does not visit me in my dreams – as much as I wished he would. However, earlier this week I had a dream about his coats.
Is all that we see or seemEdgar Allan Poe
But a dream within a dream?
In my dream, I had not yet gotten rid of all of his belongings. His coats were hanging in front of me, all in a row. It was a sharp and lucid dream. His favorite coat, an old brown, Carhartt canvas jacket, was front and center. It was the one he wore the most. I grabbed it in my dream and buried my face into it and could still smell him on the coat. I awoke with such sadness, but tried my best to push it aside. I tramped downstairs, made my coffee and got on with my day.
But the dream won’t leave me this week. It haunts me at every turn like a fresh wound. What the hell? I can’t shake it. My rational mind knows that with Covid, and increased, prolonged isolation, we are all battling a mild depression. Add the merry-go-round of grief and it’s a perfectly blended cocktail of self-pity and hopelessness.
Some years back when James and I had purchased our lakeside dream home, we decided to splurge on a new bedroom set.
When he met me, I was still using the dresser my parents had bought for me when I was in high school, and then we used his late parent’s set. It was one of those blonde wood sets, and not really my taste. Our new set was very ornate: think Italian Renaissance/bordello. I liked to think even the very picky Borgias would have approved! And since it took a few years to pay off, I was not going to part with it easily once I moved.
Fast forward to my new life here in Virginia where I have a much smaller house. When the movers delivered my bedroom set from the storage unit, it quickly became apparent my king-sized bed, with the lush leather padded headboard, would not fit up the narrow stairs of my foursquare, never mind in my tiny new bedroom.
So I found myself shopping for a queen mattress set. I settled on a simple bed frame – not ornate but that was OK in my new world order where “bordello” or anything even remotely sexy in connotation would never be the order of the day. I managed to get the other bedroom pieces crammed into my room and into the guest room. Sometimes, the fecund lushness of the pieces seem to mock my solitary existence, but screw it.
As I was laying in bed this morning, I was thinking about how I went from a king to a queen – thanks to my husband’s untimely death (is there a timely one?). No longer do I roll over to see my husband, already awake and smiling at me (not sure if that was due to fondness…my snoring or both).
So this morning as I am want to do, I shed a few tears thinking about where my life has brought me since he died. My rational mind nibbles at me like a rat: “You are a lucky girl!” Lucky to have a nice home in a wonderful new town. Lucky to have family nearby. Lucky to be starting a new job next week, after almost a year of unemployment.
But my emotions (I see these as a soft, fuzzy hamster) keep me pining for that king bed and the life it once represented as a married woman. A person who used to wake up with the self-satisfied assurance that she would not be alone. Never alone.
Now that we’ve managed to muddle through Valentine’s Day for all of you happy Hallmark people, I’d like to get back to our regularly scheduled programming.
I don’t normally “cheap out” on my posts but this recent article by David Pogue featured in The New York Times echoes many of the things I’ve been saying or felt these past few years.
What to Say (and What Not to Say) to Someone Whose Grieving.
I have a friend who refuses to rely on text messaging to stay in touch like the rest of us.
This may not seem like a big deal, but in this age of ease and let’s face it – instant gratification, she is a purist who prefers to call her friends on the phone. Continue reading “Lifeline”
My sister sent me a text the other day that said she had a “cat question” for me.
I have earned the unofficial title of “the widow lady who lives alone with her cats” much to my dismay, although I do love my little charges as evinced in the Joey on the Lam debacle I posted about this summer. Continue reading “Saint Prances”
I took to the open, albeit local roads last night for a little bike time sandwiched in between the latest bout of rain showers we’ve been experiencing here in New England.
Since a much earlier post about purchasing a motorcycle – my personal “fuck you” to my late husband (she said, with great fondness) I’ve gotten more comfortable riding and so am enjoying it more. You have to remain ever diligent, since you are incredibly exposed when on two wheels. However, I’m glad to say I’m no longer wearing my shoulders as earrings.
I keenly felt the bumps of the road as I unsuccessfully tried to avoid rolling over man-hole covers and sped across defunct railroad tracks. I took in the sweet smell of tobacco as I motored past open barns hung with the drying leaves of future cigar wrappers.
As a 14-year-old I had worked tobacco one summer sporadically with my best friend Anne. I say “sporadically” because it was grueling hard work, and so sometimes as we walked the mile or so to the farm to catch the bus to the fields, we talked ourselves out of going to work that day. Instead we’d thumb a ride to the neighboring, bucolic town of Somers, CT and spend the day meandering through the woods there.
I don’t know what it was about that town, except that it had a certain magical quality for me and my friends. It was “woodsier” than our town, and had a small but significant mountain for hiking with the reward of a fireman’s tower at the top.
I never guessed those many years ago that I would find myself once again traveling the same roads past the same silent barns. A whole lifetime it seemed, had passed between that time and this one. Anne and I had dreamt of renting a van after high school and traveling ‘cross country. It was not meant to be. I went away to college, and she went to work. In either case, she had found a boyfriend by that time and was ingrained in his life. I was awkwardly stumbling through the corridors of higher education, spending a fair amount of energy on beer and boys.
Anne and I continued to take different roads and have lost touch. Somers is still there. I decide to ride through some of the familiar back roads on my bike. Definitely more “neighborhoody” than woodsy, but it still has some magic left.
I was happy to finally be landing at my home airport yesterday after a short but exhausting business trip, this time to the West Coast for another one-day client event that meant tacking on two additional days just for travel. Continue reading “Plane talk”
I flew to Ohio last weekend to plant a tree.
Not just any tree, but a Kentucky Coffee Tree in memory of my sister Anna.
You see, we were all born in Kentucky, and my sister was to coffee what alcoholics are to vodka. Continue reading “Kentucky Coffee Tree”
The story behind the advent of Easter fascinates me.
I was raised Southern Baptist, so am familiar with the religious accounting of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Continue reading “Chocolate bunnies and atonement”
Today’s the day I will muster my courage and empty my husband’s dresser.
As I approach the much dreaded two-year mark of his passing, I know I have made great progress “getting on with my life” as it were. But ridding my bedroom of his presence has not been a part of that yet. Continue reading “Empty drawers”