Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Had a Nightmare ....

                                                                 picture from here

.... last night that Jim came back.

I know.  A nightmare?  It should have been a dream.
A wonderful dream.
But it wasn't.

He just walked in to our house one day.
Three and a half years after his "death" .... he just walked in.
In this dream he had been in the Service and I had evidently been notified that he had been killed.
I guess they never found his body .... you know how dreams are.

Of course I was stunned and thrilled and crying and screaming and all of things that I'd probably do if Jim were to walk into our home right now.
Only .... in real life .... I saw his dead body.
So maybe I'd just faint.
No idea.

Anyway, we had some time alone after all of the excitement and I started telling him how much I had changed in the last 3 1/2 years.  He didn't get it.
Not at all.

I felt like the above picture.
That I was trying and trying to get through to him, but there was something between us, and I couldn't reach him.
I couldn't make him understand.
I kept trying to explain what the news of his death, the life after his death had done to me.
How he had been half of my heart and had been ripped out of me.
How I didn't know if I would survive his loss for the first couple of years.
But that I had.
And he was .... well, he was disappointed.
In me.
And yes, I am crying as I'm typing this.

He was disappointed that I had not been stronger than I was.
He knew me as a strong woman.
A mother of 6 children who managed to keep a tight rein on our household and our children, yet loose t enough that they learned how to be independent.  And they, as well as he, always knew they were loved.
A woman who took care of the kids and the house and also did a lot of volunteer work.
A woman who made time to spend with friends, in spite of the size of her family.
A woman who, at least on the outside, looked like she was in complete control.

He was disappointed that I seemed to be weaker now.  That I would go through such a dark valley.
That I wouldn't keep my head up and my hopes up and keep living in the same strong way.


No matter how hard I tried to describe my life, my experiences, my feelings since his death ... he could not, or maybe would not, hear me.
Even when a friend walked in and told him of the good that I had done and the good ways his death changed me.
He remained disappointed.

Right at the point when one of my daughters was getting ready to explain how I was a better mother, and as I was weighing whether to confess to him that I thought I was a worse mother ......
I woke up.

And here's the gut wrenchingly sad part (yes, completely bawling now) ....
I was glad.

That dream was horrific.
I couldn't explain myself to the one person in this whole world who had understood me.
I couldn't make the love of my life understand how very much the love of him had cost me (thought it has given me so much more.  I'd go through it all over again, just to have him again).
It was a nightmare in a dream.
He didn't "get it".
He didn't "get me".

After I woke up I thought about what a nightmare it would be to have no one, not a single solitary person in this world, who "gets it".
Who "gets me".

I cannot imagine what life must've been like for widowed people before the internet.
My heart cries for them.

And makes me so, so glad to have you.
You mean more than I can say (yes, crying again .... sheesh!).
There is so much relief felt when I know that I don't have to say a word .... yet am understood.
When I am with or engaging with, another widow, it's like the 150 lb. weight that resides upon my shoulders .... lifts.
And I feel lighter and happier and a whole lot saner.

So thank you ..... all of you, for being here for me .... for each other.
Thank you for taking the time to be here and "get it".
Thank you for never judging .... for knowing that there is no one right way to grieve.
That is huge.
Thank you .... for just being you.

And on that note, I will end saying that I can not wait to be in a room full of .... you.
I can not wait to be at Camp Widow .... again.
And to have fun and laugh and cry and laugh with all of you .... who get it.
All of you who get the very black widow humor, that we can only share with one another.
I can not wait for the hugs that transfer so much love, understanding and energy into me.

I wish that every one of you would come.
My reality has taught me that wishes don't always come true.
So I will hope that many of you will come.
And if you are coming, and would like to volunteer while you're there, please contact me.
Don't worry .... we don't require any great depths of knowledge for our volunteers.
Heck, we don't even require knowledge.
It's an easy hour or so.
And it feels great to help out.
To give back.

And if you're still on the fence about going ..... please, please, PLEASE hop on over that fence and come!
If you need assistance, we do what we can to help find that assistance.
We can't grant every wish ....
but then, we all know that know one can.

I hope to see you there.
To give .... and get .... a hug.
Or two.
Or two hundred.


  1. I had a dream once in which my husband "visited" and he was disappointed that I was so sad and not living my life. I can't say it surprised me, because I know he would not have wanted me to be wasting my days in a dark mood. As we all know, it can't be helped. I have tried to mentally reverse the situation and wonder what he would have done had I been the first to go. Of course it is impossible to say, but I know if it had been me, I never would have wanted him to be miserable for a long time. I loved him so much that what I would have wanted was a brief period of grief and then to have him find happiness again, in whatever way he could. I think if our spouses could come back for a day they would be very unhappy that we are so unhappy, because they loved us. When we had the occasional conversations about one of us passing, I used to tell him that if anything happened to him I'd be right behind him. He used to say "God forbid, don't talk like that, you'll be OK" and he'd remind me of the fact that I am a mother and have responsibilities. Often I think of the things he said and they give me strength (temporarily) but what really gives me strength is the incredible courage he displayed during the years of his illness, while always trying to protect me from how painful and serious it really was. It reminds me that if he did that for me, I owe him what he expected, which is to live my life. He worked very hard to provide a good life for us and he was pleased that I'd be taken care of. God love him. I was blessed with a marriage in which we had such abundant love that we truly wanted what was best for each other. In the end, I had to remind myself many times that in the physical/mental state his illness had left him in, it was best for him to let him have peace and his final rest. Hard as hell, yes, but there is no more pain for him. Blessings!

  2. Beautiful posts!
    My husband knew he was dying as his diagnosis was terminal from day one. We talked a lot about that. It was a very painful place. He once told me "if there is a way I will be there for you" I replied that I would live every day just waiting. I never forgot the shock on his face and his tears as he said "please don't do that, don't waste your life. The day will come soon enough".
    I try to remind me of that and like anon before me I was so inspired by his emotional strength and determination to try to live as long as he could for his family. He did that - he made it happen. He died two days after our wedding anniversary.
    I always wish my husband would come to me in a dream. I worry about losing the things about him that still seem familiar. I wish that I could say " I know sometimes you would be dissapointed in me but I am trying so hard to carry on". This morning I worked in his garden, the air was perfect early summer, the breeze was blowing in the trees. Everything was beautiful. I closed my eyes and tried to hear his voice, imagine him bent over a garden weeding or planting. I tried to picture him when we put up the swing in the big tree, so excited that we could surprise our grandchildren. Soon I was sobbing so hard, trying to think of every scrap of memory, every word, his laugh and smell, the nicknames he called me, the way his voice sounded when he sang. It all seemed so elusive, as if it could all be taken away too.
    Then I remembered his words "look for me in the eyes of our children and grandchildren, we are in there together. See me in the beauty of everything we built together. Remember I am waiting".

    I wish I could attend camp widow, but I can't this year.
    I am so grateful I found this site so early in my grieving. I can't imagine what it would have been like not to have a community that understands you and supports you.

    There in spirit and with such gratitude.

  3. Thank you for this post. I too am so glad to have a group of people that "gets" me.

    I can't make the August Camp Widow in LA. When will the next one take plae? Any chance there will be one on the eastcoast?

  4. Hi Anon #3 .... Camp Widow is every August around the first or second week in San Diego. But yes, yes there are plans to have one on the east coast. We're not sure exactly when, but it's definitely something we all want to happen and are working hard to make happen.