Last night I had a Brandon dream. They’re so rare, so infrequent.
The exact events of the dream are foggy at this point, but what I remember is Brandon was suddenly back, alive, breathing, and talking. It was like he went away on a long trip somewhere far, far away and had no access or ability to communicate with anyone. One second, I was going on with my life, married to Will, and then suddenly BAM, there was Brandon, alive and…there. I saw his smile, I saw the spark in his eyes, I smelled his cologne. Dream me didn’t remember his death, but she lived with the notion that he was dead. I remember being so surprised and torn in my dream. Then I got angry. So livid. I remember yelling at him in my dream, asking him how dare he do this to me, how could he make me believe he was dead all this time, didn’t he know how much pain he’s caused? I’m not a big yeller, but boy, did I yell at him in my dream. Will was there for this and I remember he looked at me with such surprise, like he couldn’t believe this was his wife, standing there, going off and spewing lava like some dormant volcano that’s finally blown.
Then the alarm pulled me away from it all.
And for a few seconds, I remembered. I remembered how it felt to have Brandon near me, to have him stand right in front of me. I remembered what it was like to exist close to him, to look up into his eyes, to see the way his dimples always showed when he smiled. I remembered what it felt like to see him alive. And then that feeling, memory, or whatever you want to call it, began to fade away, slowly. With each passing second, I physically felt him drift further and further away, until he was gone. The moment of sudden clarity was gone, as quickly as it came. I felt so sad, for the first time in a long time feeling its absence.
I don’t know how it is for other widowed people, but for me, with the 5-year deathaversary right around the corner, I can’t remember him. Not really. I have memories of Brandon, but that’s just it…. they’re memories of things he did, or I did, or we did together. I don’t remember how it FELT to be next to him. I don’t remember how it FELT to have him hug me, or smile at me, or to hear his laughter. Somehow, over the past five years, that has slowly, ever so slowly, faded further and further away, until I didn’t even realize it was gone. In this dream, I FELT him, and for a few brief seconds after waking up, I remembered the feeling. It was as if Brandon was just there, in the bedroom, standing next to me. But as I stared up at the ceiling, trying to hold on to the memory of that feeling of just being near him, I felt like I was floating in an ocean, this fleeting memory nothing but a grain of sand that slipped through my fingers and was now sinking, sinking to the bottom, about to be lost among all the other grains of sand. I tried to swim down after it, but it sank too fast, and soon I lost sight of it and was left alone, suspended in the middle of the water, peering into the dark depths below, frantically searching for that lost piece of sand.
The thing that gets me, is that I had absolutely no idea I didn’t remember how it just FELT to be near him, until I remembered. Now I feel this empty space there; this space wasn’t there yesterday. I wonder how long until I forget it was ever there again…
This widowhood journey is still full of surprising turns and pit-stops, isn’t it? Do we ever get off the road, I wonder, or are we forever stuck traveling its twists and turns, peaks and valleys, like ghosts who’ve forgotten why they’re there to begin with?