Writing without the deeply personal is not the whole story of grief. To give the whole story, to give as many handholds as possible in the steep climb of grief, we need to hear personal stories. It’s in these stories that we find reflection and connection.
There are two themes in this week’s personal grief-history post: the dream message that came to me several years ago now, and the connection it made to two experiences I had with Matt in our life together.
Looking back on them now, I’m brought back to the words of the dream, and my own pre-sentiment. In the middle of this very early Spring, with things indeed blooming again, I am taken back to year number two in my own grief:
I woke up in the middle of the night having just had a dream wherein I was woken up in the middle of the night by Les Nessman, telling me my “flower of the day” radio segment had been moved to the three a.m. time slot, and I was On Right Now.
Clearing my throat at the dream microphone, I stumbled through some random made-up story based on the flowers in the vase in front of me, sounding like a drunk.
Toward the end, I got more serious, drew the microphone close, and told the non-existent radio audience, “there will be roses blooming again. I know it does not seem like it, in the middle of this February. And it will take a long time, as there aren’t many more places further North than us. I mean, there’s Canada. The Yukon Territories. The North Pole. Spring is going to take awhile there, too. But there will be roses again. You will see those blooms again. I promise.”
In somewhat of a cruel blow, this song is one that always made me tear up when we played the cd in the truck:
One of us will die inside these arms
Eyes wide open, naked as we came
One will spread our ashes ’round the yard.
It came on one day on our way back from the river. He reached over and said, “are you crying again? It’s such a nice song.” I just nodded, and tried to sing, tried not to imagine what the song describes. Then he said, “it’s going to happen, babe. It’s just life.” He was always so peaceful about death. I looked at him and said, “I know. I know it’s going to happen, and it is going to SUCK.”
A few years earlier, my father was taken ill with something. He was in the hospital for a few days, had exploratory surgery, and the problem was found and fixed. Matt and I went up to visit him, post-op. Everything was fine until it came time to go. My mother bent down to kiss my father’s forehead. He grabbed her hand, and they sat there for a moment, foreheads touching. I started crying. A nurse saw this and rushed to comfort me, saying, “it’s okay, he’s going to be just fine, it’s okay honey.” My mother snapped out of her moment and rushed to my side as well. I composed myself, and we all walked out.
In the hallway, Matt took my hand. He whispered, “you weren’t crying because you were worried about your father.” “Nope,” I said. He put his arm around me and said, “you were imagining what it will be like when one of them dies and leaves the other behind.”
Exactly, my love.
Apparently, I’ve long been consistent in my sensitivities, as well as potentially pre-cognizant of my own future.
One of us did spread the others’ ashes. And it totally sucked. I was right all along. I no longer need to imagine what it will be like to be the one left behind.
How about you? In your pre-death world, were you sensitive to those left behind after the deaths of people they loved? Did you have anything you might, looking back now, see as some kind of deep prior knowledge of what was to come? Let us know in the comments.