When my husband died, there was lots of physical clutter to clear away — his ballast, the stuff that anchored a very ephemeral being. I held onto his ballast hoping it would bring him back. It didn’t. His ballast wasn’t my connection to him. So I got rid of it.
Next was clearing the emotion chaos of losing him. The guilt, the fear, the hurt of being left alone to raise our children, the betrayals small and large from just how radically our lives changed.
A few months ago, I dreamed Dan was alive again, and while he was happy to be back, he was really confused about all the changes in everything. And I was getting frustrated with him, explaining and re-explaining why things were *this* way now and not *that* way, and trying to figure out how we could go back to *that* way, when I had this moment of, “wait a minute, we can’t go back. Dan is dead. He isn’t coming back. I don’t have to undo anything I’ve done. Not only that, I don’t WANT to undo this stuff. This is all good stuff for me and the kids.”
So I had to tell him, Dan, you’re dead. You don’t get a vote anymore. I’m so sorry babe, but we’re not married anymore. We’re never going to be married again. You died. And I had to move on. I did what I had to do for me and the children, and you are not a part of our lives any more.
And then he was gone. Like, really gone. Like, he was mad and stalked out.
It made me feel like shit, literally sick to my stomach. I’ve never dreamed much about Dan after he died and those were usually happy, small dreams. He was usually observing me and the kids from a distance, smiling and waving occasionally. But this time, he was back in our lives, and it just wasn’t working.
So I told my best friend Jen about the dream, and my panic about moving forward. This is what she wrote:
“It’s okay to keep moving.
“It’s not just okay. It is vital.
“Look, you are not a terrible person or wife. You don’t get the miracle. It just doesn’t happen. Period. Dan did not want to die and leave you and the kids. You did not want Dan to die and leave you and the kids. This was not something you planned or hoped for. It wasn’t a choice. It just is. And you have done what you needed to do. For you. For the kids.
“This is your subconscious coming to grips with that reality — saying, look, the miracle will not happen no matter how much you wish it and look, you have figured it out, you have made a life and it is good, and your kids are good, and you are good. And this is how it has to be. And Dan, I know you are pissed, because I know you didn’t want to leave us, and I’m pissed too, because I would rather have not had to go though this, but no matter how lousy or unfair it is that this happened, this is the way it is and it’s not changing.
“I think this is your brain trying to end the magical thinking.”
And with that final gasp, that final push, it was over. The weight lifted, the skies cleared, and I knew I was okay. I’ve been pretty happy ever since.