I had a very restless sleep last night. Probably the most disturbing sleep I’ve had since Peter died. See, Most of my night consisted of nightmares and strange dreams no dream catcher could have caught.
At the beginning of the night, I dreamed and kept dreaming, that Peter dragged me up or, down or toward this black hole. I screamed, in my dream, with hopes it came out of me in my real life. My thought was if I woke someone up, someone would come and arouse me. In my nightmare, Peter laughed and said, “there’s no one here anymore”.
During these dreams, I would startle awake. I was too tired and too scared to leave the bed, so I willed my next dream to be better. I tried to think of a positive to dream. Yet, each time I drifted back into sleep, a different version of the same dream flashed on my mind’s screen. After over an hour of the retelling this nightmare, I finally went downstairs to get some water and sit in the dark in my living room, breathing and shaking. When I was calm, I crawled back to bed.
When I fell asleep again, my dream became one long oddity. It didn’t scare me as such, but it did confuse me in the most uncomfortable way. In it, Peter was still alive, living in the house and going on like normal, although he knew he had died. He told me a story of seeing a light when he died, and even watching over my son and me at the hospital. He said the light was peaceful, but he didn’t like the hospital because he watched with so many other spirits. He went on to describe his friend’s dog who was with him – or the spirit of the dog. When I asked where were the dogs we had in our marriage, Peter shrugged and said he was still trying to find them.
In my dream, my daughter came home and was relieved Peter washed her clothes. Throughout this dream, I repeatedly asked Peter why he was with us and not with the light. My daughter got mad and shouted the question “why can’t you accept that he’s here”. And Peter, though, shrugged and said, “I guess they don’t want me yet.” Then I would go on a rant how eventually he would have to leave since he was dead, and that would hurt me all over again. I cried I was holding it together, and if he died again, it would leave me in pieces. Peter smiled and said, “but I already am dead”.
I know there are so many interpretations of these nightmares and odd dream. Peter’s death feels like a pull into one dark hole, one I struggle fearfully to go near. My reluctance to let go of Peter, not in my memories, but from my life. My mind’s struggle with the reality of his death, yet knowing, really knowing, he’s not with me anymore. My wish for normalcy to return, even the mundane task of doing laundry. And, the thought of Peter in death holds questions. Where has his spirit gone? Who is with him in the afterlife? Will I ever feel him in my life? And how he is doing with the light? Does light or an afterlife even exist?
I suppose these are all normal thoughts for a widow. (Is there anything normal about my widowhood?) I’ve always had vivid dreams and Peter’s death influences them now greatly. It’s also so scary – Peter’s death, living without him, living alone, not being part of a pair, losing so much of me, the pain of Peter’s everyday absence and the agony of knowing this is how it’ll always be.
I know, there will come a point where I will be accustomed to my new normalcy. I know, slowly, I’ll adjust to the pain, the loneliness, the fear, and the identity crisis. They will not go away completely. It’ll be like learning to live with arthritis. Some days will be better than others and maybe I can feel some happiness on those days. As the climate of my life changes, the agony I feel now will decrease. Yet, no amount of pain relief will take away the reasons. And the only way I can get to that point is to live through the oddities and the nightmares.