Sunday, April 7, 2013

In Between Land

That smile. The smile that kept me sane and was my light in the dark.

I had a dream about my husband.

I dreamed I was sitting on the examination table in a doctor’s office. The doctor came in, was fumbling through my file, sat down and let out a huge sigh. He sat there for a minute and just stared at me. I could tell by the look his face it was bad. Really bad. I was scared and anxious. He broke the silence with “Well, it is what I was afraid of. You have cancer. The type of cancer you have has a 5% chance of recovery. If you want to do chemo and radiation, I will do it, but if it were me, I wouldn't do it. I recommend you go home, and enjoy the last of your days here on this earth.”

I went home and told my mom and Seth that we needed to talk. We all sat down, and I just blurted it out. “I have cancer, I’m going to die. I am refusing treatment as I don’t want to live the rest of my days sick and in the hospital.” Oddly enough, I wasn't upset. I was at peace with it. I knew I was going to die, and that was okay.

My mom was angry “How is refusing treatment YOUR decision, this is a decision we should make as a family!”

I tried to explain to my mom that with a 5% survival rate, I wasn't interested in treatment. My mom was growing angrier with me, but I was firm. I did not want treatment. None.

I started telling them what I wanted to do before I die and what I want done with my body, so they wouldn't have to figure it out.

“I want to have a huge party, while I am still healthy. I want to have a huge BBQ and a dance party. I want everyone to learn Michael Jackson’s Thriller, so we can have a dance off. I’ll send out a letter to my friends and family, letting them know that my days are numbered, and this is my final wish. I would also like to spend a week in Mexico with you guys, before I am too sick to enjoy it.”

At this point, my mom is beyond pissed. “So you are dying, and you want to have a huge party?”


Mom is fuming mad by now. She said “So we have this huge party, then you just die. Then what? What do we do with your body?”

I said “Well, with Seth being my husband, that is his decision to make.”

My mom screams at me and says “Seth is dead, how is he going to make these decisions for you? How is he going to decide to bury your urn and his urn together? How is he going to buy a plot and plan your funereal? He is DEAD.”

Up until this point, Seth hadn't said anything. He just sat there, with a sad look on his face. I realized that, holy shit, my husband is dead!

I look at Seth, who is now smiling ear to ear, and he said “It will be okay. I’ll be there when it’s your turn to come over to the other side. I will personally come and get you. I won’t make you travel the road to the other side alone.”

I kept thinking, but you’re dead!! Why are you here if you’re dead?

I slowly started waking up. I was upset from the dream. Shaken from how angry my mom was at me. Shaken with the cancer diagnoses, and shaken with how real and vivid the dream was.

I roll over to face Seth’s side of the bed. He wasn't there. I’m dozing in and out of dream land, and was wondering where Seth was. I listen for noise, is he in the bathroom?

Suddenly the thunder storm outside shock me out of my dazed state, and I sat up in bed. My mind is racing. It’s storming bad outside, I had a nightmare, where the hell is Seth??

I sat there for a minute, confused where my husband was.. then I remembered, he is in fact, dead.

As the days passed after that dream, I am shocked that after 32 months, I still forget that my husband is dead. But I am slightly amazed about how he said it would be ok and he would come get me.

I've been thinking a lot about dreams. Dreams can shatter my grief process, and I spend weeks picking up the pieces. Dreams can give me hope, that one day, my husband will in fact come for me, that I won’t leave this world alone. One of my biggest fears in this journey has been that I will die alone. It scares me. I don’t want to die alone. But I have hope that I won’t be alone, my husband will be there. He will be there to pull me out of this hell, and take me to paradise.

I have thought about the different layers in life. I decided there are four layers of life. There is dream land where things can be absolutely amazing or horrifying. Then there is the crap land in between dreams and life, where things make sense but leave you wondering where your dead husband is. Then there is real life, where you are not sheltered from the coziness of dream land. And last, there is the road that we travel to get to the other side.

I hate the in between land. I hate the part of when I am slowly waking up, that I don’t always remember that my husband is dead. I hate that I will look for him in middle of the night. I hate that he never lived in “my” house, yet I wonder where he is and what he is doing. There are mornings when my first thought is “yep, he’s still dead.” But then there are mornings after a dream like this, that leave me confused and upset. I haven’t decided what’s worse.. waking up and having my first thought be “dead” or have my first thought be “where is he?”

Even though seeing my mom that angry at me was really hard and frustrating, seeing the smile on Seth’s face, made everything okay. It was okay that I was going to die. After 32 months, I once again found peace and comfort in that smile.  That smile that lit up my day for years, no matter how crappy things were, that smile always melted away my stress and anxiety.


  1. I do the same thing, with the dreams and all that. I hope you find peace soon, God and Seth did not want you to feel this way afetr 32 months. It's been 3 weeks for me, so what the hell do i know.

  2. Your words hit me to the core of my longing, my loss. It has been 10 months. Your perception of what's involved was spot on. Your husband is so happy in the photograph with you, he looks like a delightful person. I am so sorry for your loss. My husband was the kindest and funniest person that I had ever met. It is indeed hard to bridge the journey when you know that they are there--yet you are still within this world for some unknown reason. Best wishes on your journey to understanding this and, I suppose, best wishes to myself on my own. Thanks for writing what you wrote, it did help me.