The death of a wife or a husband affects each person left behind in different ways. Grief and unbelief is hard to deal with, to survive, and to go on in life, but I think one thing that we all go through is a confusion state trying to decide if that loved one has really gone.
There were many nights after the death of my wife Cindy (She didn’t like the name Cynthia.) , where I would either be in my dreams or be awake after a dream and totally confused. I would be told that she hadn’t died, but was alive and still in the house somewhere or at work or visiting her mother. That she had died was a lie and whoever told me that she had died was a liar.
In my state of confusion, I would look for her and eventually find her. We would have conversations (although I could never recall what we had talked about) or we would have a meal together. There always seemed to be other people in the dream. They were more like scenery that interacted with us occasionally.
There were days on end that even after I was fully awake, where I was double-guessing which was the dream and which was reality. It was so hard to focus on which idea was real, which one to discard, and which one to hold onto. The choices seemed to be equally potent, equally acceptable, and equally distressing. It was a lost and lonely feeling that delved into my dreams and yet laid claim to much of my waking hours.
Knowing that she was gone was so hard for me to deal with and the fact that she “still visited me” was difficult to understand. I was unable to clearly distinguish which was reality with my emotions so raw. It was as though my mind had created a Bizzaro world, much like in the Superman comics, for her to live. That world existed where everything and everyone was off kilter, opposite, and unreal.
It felt like I was living in a twilight world where it was not nighttime, but it wasn’t daylight either. It was a faint dim world where shadows of the past mingled with the present, not allowing me to think about the future. I would go to work, buy gasoline, but when I came home, she wasn’t there.
In my dreams she came to me. My mind was trying to hold onto something precious, something dear, some one that I loved, but try as hard as I could, the reality of her death settled in. The dreams became less frequent, less consuming, less potent and less real.
She still visits me in my dreams, but now it is comforting; remembering the sweetness of the past, remembering the good times, and remembering her. Oh, I still miss her, but it is the desire to hold onto the memories, not the desire to hold her. I understand that she is gone.
The side of her bed has not been slept in. It remains cold and empty.