(The quote at the bottom is from Brian Andreas of Story People, and seemed apropos this morning)
Yesterday I was driving and a few blocks from my house I saw a guy that looked similar to my dead husband Tom. Little goatee, heavy, shorts and t-shirt. Very fleeting glimpse; I see this all the time. But for some reason it sent me into a whole day-dream, “what-if” scenario, something that doesn’t happen often anymore.
When Tom first died there was so much magical thinking going on. You know, starting with” he’s not really dead” (even though I saw him roll into the crematorium), to “let’s not throw out his clothes because what will he wear when he comes back” stuff, to just the “it CANNOT be true” feelings. I would wake up and grab for him in the night, and each morning have to deal with the fact that he was dead as a whole new experience. And as the years have passed I have had dreams about him, and also day-dreams, where I have changed things up, brought him back, imagined what he’d say in a situation, harangued him for leaving us, gotten so angry that I shook or just been grateful because I was reminded of him in a good way.
Yesterday was different. When I saw this guy my eyes filled with tears. And I admit the first place I went to was “oh my god he’s been living right around the corner this whole time, watching us and and how could he do this…” And then it stopped. Just flat stopped. And I really thought about what if, in a very cognizent way, not day dreaming, but what if it actually had been Tom. And I didn’t harangue him, I didn’t even ask him where he’d been, why he went, not even why he was back. In my head I just held him and was so happy. And I didn’t care about the time that had passed, I just thought what a miraculous thing that would truly be and it made me happy, that day dream.
Last night I also had a dream. In it Tom was back, again. It was more convoluted…I was staying with his family in Minnesota and all sort of crazy things were happening, but then he walked in. And again, there was no recrimination, no questions…even though I was VERY aware that he had been dead and that I wasn’t. We kissed and kissed and I made mention of the familiar taste of scotch and cigars and I was SO happy. And he said to me that I couldn’t ask any questions about where he had been or why he was back and I agreed, saying that I didn’t care and that I forgave him.
I forgave him.
Heady words, heady thought. One that warrants more time, but which resonates. Because I have been so angry with him these past years. Sad, missing, longing,…so many feelings. But anger has been right there. Anger for me, anger for my son, anger at the situation and anger at the perceived thoughtlessness that caused this to happen. And in my daydream and nightdream none of that was there. I didn’t care about it because, in fact, it doesn’t matter. And it isn’t true.
I’m spending time trying to make peace with my own past, why not make peace with Tom’s? And the only way to do that is to forgive him for whatever I imagine he did or did not do, all things I have made up in my head as reasons for something that has no rhyme or reason. I’m a person who needs to understand things, to make sense of them, and am willing to cause even more pain to myself and others in order to justify something happening, rather than allowing it to just BE WHAT HAPPENED, or be what IS. I just want to feel what the truth is I truly, truly do, and that is pure love and gratitude for having had him in my life. I cannot move on with my future unless I let go of the hurts of my past. They happened; they’re over let’s move ahead now. But let’s move ahead in joy and forgiveness of everyone and everything, including me, Tom, my son…anything I hold on to will hold me back.
The truth is that if Tom walked through the door right now I would hold him and kiss him and laugh and laugh and laugh.
And I would not be confused at all, because I have stopped making things up.