Sunday, June 26, 2011

Amusement Park

I have always had very weird dreams, ever since I was a child. They are not bad, just weird. Even when I've gone through the most horrible parts of my life, (especially this widow-part), I've never had nightmares...the kind where you wake up screaming.

I've had dreams that were happy, sad, exhilarating, annoying, mildly disturbing, frustrating, and off the wall. Sometimes I can remember them so clearly, that they stay with me for days, weeks, or years, and sometimes when I wake up, I feel them fading away very quickly. I could never find the significance in them, though, because more often than not, they are completely senseless. Someone recently told me that the emotion that you feel in the dream is what is significant, not the dream itself. I can accept that, but wouldn't one think that I would have a lot more bad dreams since Bobby's illness and death?

However, one dream stays with me, that I really liked. In the dream, I was at an amusement park with my children, my sister and my brother-in-law. They all decided to go on an upside-down roller coaster ride, which I will reluctantly not go on, because although I love roller coasters, I can no longer handle them physically. I watched them go up the ramp to the ride, then I turned around and saw Bobby standing next to the railing. I asked him why he was there, and he simply responded, "I'm here to keep you company since you can't go on the ride. You know I can't stay, though." I remember hugging him and him hugging me back. I felt so complete and overwhelmingly happy.

My grandmother once told me that when you dream of a loved one that has passed away, that the person is visiting you. There has to be something to what my grandmother said, no matter what your spiritual beliefs are (or aren't) because the feeling that I got hugging him stayed with me long after I woke up. And it felt so good.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Sun is Shining, But It is Raining

It's been over a year now...almost 14 months since Bobby has died, and people still ask me, "How are you?" with the sympathetic head tilt (which I never noticed until I saw an episode of Friends that addressed it). It's hard to explain, and this is the best I can come up with:

I live my life. I go to work, I take care of my kids. I do fun things, I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I laugh. I laughed really hard one night at a comedy club with some good friends one night last January, that my cheeks literally hurt. I learned a new dance today from a colleague. I bought a new purse. I watched with pride as my son got his award for "Student of the Year" in his Freshman class (not bad...there are almost 800 kids in the Freshman class). I threw my other son a party for his Confirmation. I'm planning a vacation.

But despite all this, there is no joy in my heart. I don't feel that feeling of contentment that comes with being married to the one you love and the one that you know loves you. All these positive things that I am doing don't seem to be able to put that joy back where it belongs. People tell me that I will get it back, but I wonder if that is really true. I'm living my life...doing things...I'm not moping around or lying in bed all day, but it is still not coming back. And I wonder, what do I have to do to get it back? Is it possible that it may never come back, and this is my new normal? I never thought in a million years I could simutaneously laugh until my cheeks ached, and not feel joy.

It reminds me of the rare times when the sun is shining, but it is raining at the same time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sons, Weddings and Retirement

Oh, today was an information overload!

A good friend of mine is retiring at the end of this month. Today was the day that our department took her out to dinner and gave her a gift. While talking, one of the women in our group asked her, "What are you going to do all day?" I loved her answer. "I'm just going to be."

Retirement was one of those things that Bobby and I really looked forward to. We had so many plans...and they were good ones. Neither one of us thought for one second that we could get bored in retirement like some people think. But all those plans are now shot to hell. Now I have to make new plans. And I have no idea what to do.

Another subject that came up was the relationship between grown sons and their mothers. My friend, who is retiring, has two sons, both in their 30s. One is married, and one is getting married. She told us that being the mother of the groom, she has nothing to say about the wedding, and that she was going "shopping for the beige". I had no idea what that meant, and it was explained to me that the mother of the bride gets to wear a beautiful color, while the mother of the groom only fades into the background in beige.

Great. I look terrible in beige.

I'm the youngest one in the group, and my two boys are only teens. However, they all proceeded to discuss how sons identify with the wife's family, and leave behind their own family. One even talked about a friend who was very close to his family until he got married. While his wife was still only his girlfriend, she insisted he turn his back on his family since she did not want any influence from his family. They were not even invited to the wedding! The mother was broken hearted. Later on, they made "amends" (even though there was never an argument to begin with) and now every time they come to visit, the parents have to pay for the hotel for them to stay in or else they don't visit. And all this to see the grandchild that they only found out about through the grapevine.

As I'm listening to all these stories, I'm thinking, "What if this happens to me? What if my sons get involved with women who don't want anything to do with me?" All these women have their husbands to lean on during these times of abandonment by their sons. Who will I lean on? Bobby is gone, and his shoulder is no longer available for me to cry on.

The conversation made me feel so alone. Now I'm dreading my sons growing up and leaving the nest. But I know it will happen, due to the natural order of things. And I'm at a loss over what to do.