I had a really awful dream last night, but it turns out that it’s lasting effect has been really comforting.
I dreamt that John died in a car crash. Suddenly I was all alone. I knew he was really dead, but I kept expecting him to show up, like my life was a soap opera or something. I wanted him to come back and tell me that someone else had been driving his car and that his body was mis-identified and that he would have been back sooner but he had amnesia and had only just recovered and immediately came to find me. But I also knew that wasn’t going to happen. That there was no way his body was mis-identified. That he was never, ever coming back.
In my dream, I kept trying to pull my life back together, but every time I tried to go out- to work, to the store, to see my family- I broke down. I couldn’t stop crying- wrenching sobs that felt like they would rip apart my body with grief. I would catch his scent in clothes that he wore, or see someone on the street who vaguely looked like him and lose it all over again. And I couldn’t be near Cole without squeezing him so hard that I would hurt him. Cole had to stay with my parents, which hurt almost as much as John being dead.
I can hardly write this without wanting to cry. My chest feels very tight and my eyes are a little swimmy. It felt so real.
But here’s the comforting part: There are times in a marriage when one partner may start to wonder a bit about whether the marriage is still a good match. Are they still together out of comfort and complacency? Or are they really still in love and just in a rough patch due to outside forces? It’s a hard question. And it’s a hard question to ask without one or both people getting hurt.
I don’t have to ask that question now. I know that, if I lost him, I would feel how I felt in that dream, only I think it would be orders of magnitude worse. And for a lifetime, not just a night. That one dream told me what I really needed to know- that John and I still are in love, nearly 11 years later, and that I don’t ever want to lose him.
It’s not that I didn’t know this before, either. It’s just that I hadn’t thought of it this way before. Now the bad patches seem so much less important. We can get through anything but death.
Our friends are getting married on our 6th wedding anniversary. I wish for them, as I wish for all of you, the same kind of love that John and I have had and will continue to have for each other. There are minutes and hours and days that are hard, but the years are good. And I think, from now on, they will only get better.