Friday, January 9, 2015

Leaving Me

I took a short nap tonight, which I almost never do, because I SUCK at napping. (I have trouble falling asleep, and then when I do, I want to sleep for hours, and I wake up feeling worse and more tired than before the nap, and then I can never sleep later that night because I napped during the day.)
 Please, good people of earth, remind me to stick with my policy of never napping. Haven't had a dream about my husband in a long time, and I just had one, but it was awful. It was the awful kind. My dreams about him are usually very real, as this one was, and in them he is usually coming to me somehow "from the other side" and comforting me and loving me and I'm having a conversation with him and it's always very beautiful and loving. Not this one. In this one, he was alive. He had never died at all, but instead I walked into our bedroom and he was packing his things away into bags and suitcases.

"What are you doing, Boo?" I said to him, not believing he was actually alive.
"I'm leaving you", he said coldly and matter-of-factly. "I don't love you anymore. I never loved you. I want a divorce. I'm taking the cats. I'll take much better care of them than you will."
I woke up by violently sitting up in shock. My kitties were not in the bed, and my immediate hazy-foggy thought was that the dream was reality, and that my husband didn't love me and had actually left me and taken the cats. Never in a million years would Don say those things to me in real life, and never in such a cold way. Never. He just wouldn't. That's not him. And even though I KNOW this and I KNOW he DOES love me, it still hurt like hell that he said those things to me in my dream. It hurt like hell to finally hear his voice again in a dream, and to hear him saying he never loved me. So I started crying really hard. The pain of that moment when you wake up and you are convinced that dream is reality - is the worst , most painful feeling on earth.
Wait. I take that back. The most painful feeling on earth is then realizing that: "Oh - wait a minute. This isn't real at all. My husband doesn't want a divorce. He doesn't want to leave me." Having that split second and a half where you sigh relief because you know that it was only a dream.
Then you remember the reality. He didn't divorce me. He would never take the cats away either. That is just me and my own insecurities about not being the better pet mommy for them. He would never leave me. There is no divorce.
But there is also no marriage.
He's dead.
I am not divorced. But I am not married. I am not Don Shepherd's wife. I am his widow. That word again. That word that has been such a huge part of my life for the past three and a half years. There it is. Again. Haunting me and following me, even when I sleep. 
And yes, even after 3.5 years of knowing that awful reality and living it every single second, it is STILL just as shocking to wake up to, and just as jarring, when it comes after that second and a half of thinking everything is okay. It is like realizing all over again - and again and again and again - that he is really, actually dead. That reality never ever becomes stagnant. It is forever shocking and stunning, especially when you wake up to it, just as I did on that awful morning of July 13, over 3 years ago. To literally wake up to the news that your world is forever gone, different, shattered - it is a feeling that is impossible to describe. 
And Holy Shit, does it ever hurt. 

It hurts the first time, it hurts the 17th time, and it hurts the 54th time. 

I don't think about him being dead all the time anymore.

But when I do, and when I'm forced to, it stings with the pain of a thousand knives, seeping their way into every pore of my skin, breaking open that wound, and whispering: "He's dead. He's dead. He's dead. "


  1. Kelley, my husband died suddenly in his sleep beside me on June 21, 2011. The shock and pain of his death clings to me still. I know the shock and loss of my husband will forever be a part of me. I look in the mirror and no longer recognize who I am. His death is imprinted on me forever. I feel so abandoned and miss him so much that I don't have words to express how much. Karen

    1. I understand what you are saying Annonymous!!! I'm a little over eight months and I look like a different person since I lost my soul mate...At 73 years old, I can't be in this world that much longer...

  2. I still have occasional dreams about my husband - 20 years since his death. The other night, we made love in my dreams. We were both young again. They live within us, within our hearts always. There is a certain comfort to that. Better than to forget. I wish you a healing journey, the refuge of solace and peace. Thank you for the beautiful post.

  3. Oh Kelley I wish I could give you a hug. I've had a couple of terrible dreams about Mike. One time I knew he was leaving me and I tried to talk to him but he just sat and stared at me, stone-faced, and wouldn't say anything, then he disappeared. Another time I was trying to call him over and over again but he wouldn't answer and my other friends told me he had left me and was never coming back. Those are horrific dreams. I have no idea where they come from but it always takes awhile to put any distance between them and my waking mind. xoxo

  4. I had a very disturbing and confusing dream of my husband last night too...and I NEVER dream of him...EVER! He was cold and distant and basically acted as though he had no idea who I was. I woke up very shaken. Then when I saw this I was like Whoa! Must be the moon!

  5. Yes Kristen. Must be the moon or something lol. All I know is, Im never taking another nap again. They are not my friend.

  6. Kelly. I'm with you on the no nap policy.
    I'm a lousy napper too. (Same problem of feeling 100 times worse when I do wake up.) My only exception to napping is when I'm sick.

    And what is it with dreams?
    Why does our subconscious mind to that to ourselves?
    It's been 4 1/2 years for me since Dave died. I've had a number of beautiful dreams in the past where I wake up feeling comforted, but I've also had those lousy dreams where he's aloof and clearly doesn't want to be around me.
    And lately my dreams are him coming back and I'm forced to choose between him and my new guy, and I wonder how the hell did I end up with two guys???!!! It sounds funny but it's confusing and real.
    And waking up leaves me laying there messed up wondering what the hell just happened?

    I wish for you (and all of us) that we didn't have these kinds of problems.
    I wish we were ignorant of the sadness, confusion, and tormenting grief of widowhood.

    Take care.
    Wishing you much better days (and nights) ahead.

  7. I had two dreams just like that over the holiday vacation too. I also was so confused because my husband would never have said those things or acted the way he did. Those dreams were very vivid and hard to recover from the next day. Set me back a little. I did discuss them with my grief counselor as well and came to some understanding about what they might have meant in my journey. From the sounds of the comments here and on facebook in response to your dream, it sounds like a similar dream for many of us. It must be part of the process somehow of understanding our grief further. But they are very painful nevertheless. I hope to see your next post about how you came to understand its meaning FOR YOU when you discussed it with your counselor. Thanks for the timeliness of sharing this post with us.