Late last week, I was showing some pictures to JungJoo, my housemate. She’s from Korea, on a volunteer exchange program called IVEP, working at our church. It all started when we got a birth announcement in the mail for our new cousin Simon Jared. So I got out the birth announcements that I had made for each of the boys. We also looked at a few pictures of the boys when they were little. Then something urged me to get out our wedding album, it’s such a beautiful album and the pictures capture so much about Jared and me and our friends and family. In retrospect, I suppose that’s a part of what sowed the seeds for this dream.
This morning, at 5:40am, I woke up from a vivid dream. First there was a wedding. It was my sister’s wedding. But not the one she actually had and whoever she was marrying wasn’t even in the dream. That wasn’t the important part. It was just a beautiful, huge, intricate, elaborate affair and I was helping to take care of all the last minute details. Then another dream whisked me away from there…
Jared was in a hospital, though it was a hospital far away. I don’t know where we were. But we hadn’t seen each other in a long time. Jared was getting well. He looked very well. We were visiting. But in the dream I was married to someone else. Even so, it felt so good, so familiar, so comforting to sit close to him on his hospital bed, the feel of his long legs bent right next to my side as we sat. Later in the dream he was up and around, smiling and his eyes were full of life. It was so strange. We both knew that I was married to someone else and yet the depth of our friendship and love was palpable. He looked at me, without hurt or anger, just looked at me and candidly asked, “Where did we go wrong?” He wasn’t sure of the answer, and I didn’t know how to answer him. But then I woke up. I think I woke up because my entire body wanted to scream THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG! It didn’t happen like this at all! We were doing great. And then it was all ripped away. There was no choice. It all just dissolved and nobody could do anything to stop it….nobody.
I can’t remember the last time I cried hard. There hasn’t been too much time for tears, or for entertaining thoughts that would bring them on. But I did this morning. First I cried because I missed Jared. Then I cried because no matter how many years pass and how I may move on with my life, it’s still not fair that he died. Apparently that’s still pretty raw inside me. As much as we knew it was coming, and we knew that his physical pain and suffering needed to come to an end, that wasn’t how our story was supposed to go. My children were supposed to grow up with their father. Jared and I were supposed to parent them together. At least that was the path we were walking down. I realize that the path has changed directions and that I’m going to be ok and my kids will be ok, even better than ok, eventually. I suppose I am coming to terms with the divergence of the path from where I thought it was going (having a lifetime with one person and our family) to where it is now going (who knows?). This adjustment may take a while. It was a loaded dream. I feel like it was equally about working through grief and coming to terms with the present. I am grateful for dreams. It seems they are very useful to me as I work through grief and process thoughts and feelings. I read something today in a book about loss. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while but it doesn’t seem like one of those things that I can do for 5 minutes here or 15 minutes there. There are a couple of pages where one of the authors writes about the role of dreams in her own processing of loss: “I think that I try so hard to be the foundation for others, I work through a lot of my grief and feelings in my sleep.” I suppose I’ve always had pretty vivid dreams. Now I’m learning to pay attention to them more closely.