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Still Unreal

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I had a dream the other night where I was sitting on the sofa and crying. My husband was sitting next to me. I wanted him to hold me and say everything would be all right, but he didn't. He just sat there while I cried.

I told my grief counselor about the dream, and she said it sounded like I'd finally accepted the fact that my husband was dead and not coming back.

I don't feel I've completely accepted it. Some days the whole thing seems as unreal as it did just after it happened 15 months ago. Now and then I stop up in the middle of the day and think 'Did this really happen?'. It seems astonishing that after 30 years together, he just isn't here any longer. Not that I expect him to suddenly appear, but I somehow can't believe he's truly gone. He was such a major part of our lives in this family.

Does anyone else feel this way after such a long time?


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Melina, I don't see how you can NOT feel that way...I did too at first, and we weren't even married that long, but long enough for it to be a part of my every day existence and he was completely my world...I hadn't expected his death so no time for any adjusting ahead of time. Sometimes the phone would ring and I'd expect his voice to be on the other end, or I'd hear a noise and look up expecting to see him coming through the door. And even if I consciously told myself he was gone, it seemed surreal.

I think your dream sounds like you're realizing that even he can't help you, that he's not coming back and it's beyond his control, that's why he didn't say anything, because he couldn't change it.

Sometimes you hear us say it'll get better...it does in the sense that I don't go around crying any more, and I'm not in shock any longer and I realize it's just me here in charge of everything and I've pretty much gotten used to the fact I'm alone and it's not changing...but there's a part that never seems to change and I don't think it's improved with time, and that is the missing him...missing his holding me, missing talking over our day, missing the protective way he always tried to take care of me and truly cared about me, missing his zest for life and tremendous spark. That just never leaves, even my kids feel it, they wanted him around when they had kids, they knew he'd be a wonderful grandpa. That says a lot for a stepdad that enters their lives when they're aged 17 and 19! Most kids that age do not grow attached to their stepdads, but it just goes to show how wonderful he was with all of us. I think I miss his holding me the most...that's when I felt that all was right with the world, that's when I felt complete.

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It is less than three months for me, and I spent most of the night crying and wailing. Earlier in the evening, I went to a friend's 50th birthday party. It was the kind of event where my husband would be quietly watching or talking and laughing AND taking the greatest candid photos you ever saw. I stayed for two and a half hours- a record for me these days. I came home, watched taped tv until after 2 am and forced myself into the bedroom. Somedays are just too hard. I am out on FMLA for this wicked, debilitating grief. I know I'm not ready to go back to work. I cry every day, many times a day and sometimes most of the day. This week, I "celebrate" 26 years clean on the date my husband would have been 63. Celebrating is really not the right word for it. My celebration will consist of friends coming over to play Scrabble and love me. I really am blessed with the loving support of my friends and family. It isn't that I'm not grateful. It is that none of it- friends, family, celebrations- takes away the pain of missing him. I just want to feel his presence. I want to hold him and physically feel the love we shared for so many years. I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about that deep intimacy that comes from knowing and being present with someone you love who loves you like no other.

I guess this is totally off topic. I keep hoping I will get hit by a bus or have a fatal heart attack. I know this isn't really what is ahead of me. I have to- get to live a spiritual life, whether I want to or not. I am trying desperately to practice surrender in and to the process of being here. That you have done this for over a year is more than I can imagine.

I wish you moments of peace.


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Hi Melina. I too have had some interesting dreams & feelings of unreality. 'Time-warp' may be a better description of what I experience. I dream a lot. Last night I dreamt of my Mom, but I dream and think of many things from many years ago. Somehow these things just pop into my head. I have been working intensively with family photo archives, and I think it may be the old photos that trigger some of these memories/dreams. What's remarkable is not just the details and scenes that meld into my dreams. It's the feeling I get from these dreams. It's like in some real way I've travelled back in time and am re-experiencing emotions connected to long-ago people and places. And when I occasionally bob back into consciousness, I feel bewildered about having reconnected with these feelings and moods.

Somehow I suspect this upwelling of past memories and feeling is part of a larger healing process. I'm not much in control of my dreams, but that's ok. Melina, I hope you are ok with your dreams too.

Ron B.

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I'm not big on interpreting dreams or deriving important messages from them. I certainly don't think it means you have accepted anything about this life we have been delivered. I am grateful for the few dreams I have had because it is nice to have him with me in any sense at all.

My husband of 32 wonderful years (+8 fun years before we were married) died suddenly in Aug 2009. I cry every day. I have long, sad awake nights, I have times when I question how this could be happening, I sometimes wonder if he was real at all... They all seem to be recurring themes that people express on this site and in some ways it gives me confidence that they are just a part of intense grieving.

People also say here that you will find a way to go on with life. I have held on to their wisdom and experience tightly. I am managing to get through most days OK now. Not enjoying the days much or life at all, in the sense that I once did, but slowly I can see the possibility of surviving this nightmare. I am always sad inside but am able to participate and laugh on the outside, so that's a small step forward.

Somehow the days become weeks/months/years and you do get through them. I try, because I know that's what he'd want.

Accept his loss - never! Be able to cope with it - maybe....Susie Q

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