The other night I had a dream.
I was sitting in a hospital room with Bryon and he was dying.
The emotions were the same. The disbelief. The shock. The desperation.
Interestingly enough, the people I called to be there were the same people that were with me through real life crisis.
Sounds familiar, eh?
But unlike my life, the room wasn’t very clinical. It was dark and gloomy like an attic but the sun was shining in through the window. And instead of his death lasting 5 months, it only lasted however long a dream lasts.
Why was I dreaming about Bryon’s death? I mean, watching it happen in real life is plenty enough. What purpose does this serve? Is my mind trying to tell me something?
I am not good at analyzing my dreams. I don’t have a psychology degree. I have a dream journal but getting my daughter ready for school and myself to the gym takes priority over dream analysis.
Once I processed the emotions of Bryon’s “second death”, it dawned on me that this dream wasn’t about Bryon’s death. It wasn’t even about physical death.
It was about my death.
I know you are probably thinking “But Kerry, you aren’t dead.”
And you are right. I am not dead.
Let me explain.
I am currently on a “grief journey.” No, I am not going on a trip. At least, no where exotic. A grief journey denotes the indeterminate amount of time a griever takes to process a loss and heal. At least heal enough that is considered acceptable because anyone who has profound loss can tell you- you never completely heal.
While it is safe to say that I have probably felt every emotion during the grief- journey, sadness, anger, and disbelief are among the top performers. To deal with these emotions, I preferred actively mourning, crying and keeping myself busy to keep my mind off of my grief. These coping mechanisms were not always equally distributed.
As time goes on, I started to see glimmers of hope in the midst of my sadness. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
I began to envision my life in the future. A life that wasn’t so sad.
A life with actual happiness.
Those first infrequent glimmers were a shock to my grieving self. The glimmers took me by surprise and stirred up the emotions that were attached to my grief. I began to feel guilty for even having glimmers of hope and happiness.
Sure, Bryon (wherever he is) wants me to be happy. But that is not the issue.
It is me that is reluctant to be happy.
I felt that every glimmer of happiness meant that I was slowly forgetting Bryon. Even though I desperately want to feel whole again, I am afraid to move forward. Because every step forward is a step away from the life I had with Bryon.
Over time, I began to adjust to the juxtaposition of hope vs grief. My glimmers of hope began to peacefully co-exist with my sadness. Grief of confusing, y’all. It even has me writing with Southern expressions when I am a New England girl.
Regardless about how I felt about grief and hope, time has another plan. Time will move me forward whether I like it or not so I can either fight the current or swim with it. These painful steps are necessary in the healing process.
While I agonize over every stop forward I take, I am oblivious to the fact that I have already traveled many proverbial miles already. Many miles of that “grief journey”.
The morning Bryon died part of me died as well.
The part of me was innocent and naive to the magnitude of loss.
The part of me that believed that God was a loving God.
The part of me that believed that the American healthcare system cared for it’s patients over money and guidelines.
The part of me that was a doormat and didn’t need to stand up to people because Bryon did it for me.
The part of me that dreamed of raising a family with Bryon and spending my old age with him.
But I survived. I might be broken but I am still here.
Through this grief journey, I have probably died many times. And in a way, you can say I have experienced a rebirth.
A new me.
The new me knows all too well that our time on Earth is limited so we need to make the best of it.
The new me knows that we need to let people into our lives but we need to be choosy as to who we keep around.
The new me who knows not to take things at face value and ask questions.
The new me who won’t be a doormat.
The new me is braver and takes life a little less seriously. Ferris Bueller was onto something there…
And with every step forward I take, I experience a death with each step. But I also experience a rebirth in every step.
And it will be like this until I experience an energy shift. An energy shift where the time I feel hopeful and happy is more than the time I feel sad. A time where I can look back at our memories and feel warm and happy and not overcome by sadness. A time when I feel like my grief isn’t defining me.
And though I understand why I was dreaming out death, I just hope my subconscious knows that I am good and don’t need to relive that experience even if it isn’t real.