Monday, July 30, 2012

A Nighmarish Blessing

... Last night Eric died. I don't remember how and I don't remember why. I just remember feeling everything crashing down around me. I remember thinking about how he and I had just recently talked about how if he died I couldn't imagine myself ever loving someone the way that I loved him, never wanting to share myself with someone else, and there I was ... 22, a widow, and no children. Life was no longer worth living and if I hadn't known in my heart that taking my own life was bad, I might have done it, just to be with him again.

And then, there he was; as though his spirit was back to comfort me, to always stay with me. There he was holding my hand again, opening doors for me, sitting in the passenger seat of my car talking to me. I knew it wasn't really him, but he was there, and I could feel him physically, I could hear him, I could smell him.

At his funeral people wondered why I didn't seem as sad as I had been, and it was because he wasn't really gone. He was right there, just for me, and no one else could see him. He leaned over and gently kissed me on the cheek and I knew everything was ok.

I went to his high school reunion and he told me stories about people there. I went to talk to them and I told them the stories that Eric had told me about them - I felt like I had belonged there.

But my friends knew something was wrong. And I tried to explain that he wasn't really gone, that his spirit had come back to me. They tried to tell me that it wasn't true.

I reached over because Eric had asked me for a pretzel. I handed it to him and I watched him take the pretzel ...and I also heard it hit the floor. In that instant I realized... I thought back and saw that I had been opening my own doors, that I had been imagining him beside me, and I now understood all the strange looks people at his reunion had given me; I had made up their names in my head and made up the stories he told me.

His spirit hadn't really come back, but it was simply my coping mechanism.

I looked at him as he thanked me for the pretzel. He smiled and then disappeared.

In that instant, my world shattered; I was alone.

I woke up feeling as though I had just gone through a painful memory. The image of him disappearing haunting each breath I took. One hand went to my forehead, the other to my side - I felt something, something that wasn't supposed to be there... a body. I looked over and saw Eric and realized that what I had just experienced wasn't a memory, it was a dream. The most real dream I have ever experienced, and the most painful thing I have ever gone through.

I reached over and sobbed - sobs of grief of having *lost* Eric and sobs of immense love and joy at having him again. Eric woke and just let me run my fingers through his hair and look at him - all the while crying. Finally my tears subsided - switching from hysterics to quiet whimpering as I curled into him, the make-up I had forgotten to remove smearing on him. I explained what had happened and he held me even tighter.

I used to selfishly wish that I would die before Eric so I never had to experience that, but having now *experienced* it, I pray that we die together so that neither of us has to ever go through that.

Eric and I have a great relationship - but no relationship is perfect; every relationship can be improved and I almost feel like I have a second chance - a chance to change. I feel like I have had the things around me shaken into perspective. Things that were once important to me have taken a back seat to my relationship with Eric, my relationship with Aaron, those others around me, and my relationship with my Savior.

I know that each time I see Eric I will hold him a little tighter, a little longer. Each moment I have with him and with my family is even more precious, more tender than it has ever been before.

I am so grateful for Temple Marriage - for the knowledge that my marriage will continue on into the next life. That I am married to Eric for eternity and that my children are sealed to me as well. I am grateful for the blessing of my dream last night - it is the hardest thing I have ever experienced and I am better for it.

I am amazed, awed, and have greater respect those who have lost a spouse and have the courage to keep going. Each night, I pray for children in unfortunate circumstances and I now will add those who have lost a spouse - that they will find peace. I discovered last night that I am not as strong as they are...

You could argue and say that I don't really know what it is like to lose a spouse as it was just a dream, but I would argue that it was real - the emotions I felt were real; and it has changed me.

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