(originally written 9/2/11)
Last night’s dream had no dialogue, no words, but it was just as intense and real as the “Eleven” dream the night before where Don and I had a conversation filled with humor, meaning, and subtext. This time though, I don’t even know if I should call it a dream, because I was half awake and conscious of it being a dream. Do you know what I mean? I was actually awake enough to be sort of commentating on what was happening, what would happen next, and then kind of cheer the dream on as it started to go the way I wanted it to. Also, this dream had a very lowkey “real” quality, and happened right here in our apartment; whereas the “Eleven” dream had a very angelic feeling to it; and Don appeared as more of an afterlife-type person rather than here on Earth. The “Eleven” dream reminded me of the movie “Ghost”. This dream reminded me of a typical silly day in our Jersey apartment.
When Don was here, in our real life together, we had a lot of very “silly couple things” that we did with each other. Every couple has them. Unless you are a really boring, piece of shit couple; then you might not have little moments you share together. However, most couples, especially married ones, have these little moments or “secrets” that they share together. People always say you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors in a family or marriage. I think that’s very true. Sometimes what goes on can be awful and violent. In our case, what went on was nauseatingly sweet and silly. Why am I sharing some of these things? Because it is these tiny little moments that I miss the most right now. Also; other widows have told me that eventually; in time; you start to forget things; like what they looked like, their laugh, or the little songs you sang to each other. I refuse to let that happen. I dont want to ever forget. Not ever. So I am writing it all down so it will remain in print forever.
I miss our happy, silly ways. I miss the laughter and how we would act like two 12 year olds in the privacy of our home. And I know other couples do this type of stuff too. Now that he’s gone, I always envy my married friends whenever they leave my house or my presence. I wonder what their little moments are like; and what they will do or say when they get home alone; together. And then I wish like hell that I could have one more stupid, silly song to sing to Boo. But I can’t. So instead, I shall torture anyone reading this by trying to properly explain some of them.
Don and I would sing these stupid little silly songs to each other while lying in bed; songs we made up and that meant absolutely nothing. We also made up songs for our cats. Each of them had their own song for different reasons. They also had nicknames. Ginger was GingerBread, or GingerBread Head; and Autumn was AutumnHeadFace, or PuppyDuck (because she sits like a duck with her back legs out, and she acts like a puppy in many ways, including playing fetch.) Don also called Autumn FattyMcFattypants because she’s fat and steals Sammy’s food. His favorite nickname for Autumn was simply “Whore.” Autumn loves to lay on her back, spread eagle, legs apart, and Don would just walk by her and matter of factly say: “What a whore.” Then he would laugh. Sampson is Sammy, or SammyCat, or SammySam. Or Muppet, because he looks like a Muppet-cat.
When we adopted him at the rescue shelter just a few days after Ginger died, he was 9 yrs old and named “Shawn.” I distinctly remember Don saying: “Who the hell names a cat Shawn? SHAWN? That sounds like some guy you’d be having a beer with at a pub in Boston. It’s stupid. We will name him Sammy.” Don used to sing John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” to “Shawn”; because the song’s last word was Shawn; in reference to Lennon’s son. He would pet him and sing: “Beautiful beautiful beautiful, beautiful boy … darling Shawn.” Years ago; when we just had Don’s cat Isabelle, and she was getting old and sick, she had started going into the corners of the room and hiding; then pooping on the floor or the bed. This was toward the last month or so of her 15 year. life; before we had to make the decision to put her to sleep. For some reason, we came up with lyrics about her pooping habits to the tune of Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” It went: “You do a poop poop on the floor! then you sit in the corner and poop by the door. A poop poop on the bed. Yeah yeah! What in the world’s gotten into your head? Come on Izzy . Its not right. Poopin’ on the floor every night . Come on Izzy, get off the bed. Be a good kitty use the litter box insteadddd!” And then instead of “Jitterbug”, we would sing: “Isabelle …” We sang this to her all the time, and we thought it was the funniest thing ever. Then Don would say: “We’re weird”, and I would say: “We ARE weird.”
We also had silly songs for each other. I don’t even remember WHY we both started calling each other Boo, but I know it started very early, before we even met. Don would send me cards in the mail, just to say he was thinking about me, or for my birthdays, and he would always address them with either Angel, Sweet Angel, Bunny Boo, or Boo. Eventually it just became Boo. One Christmas, when we were still dating long distance and I was home with my family in Massachusetts, a huge package came in the mail from Don. I opened it up, and it was this gigantic white stuffed Christmas Bear. I named him Bear, and then started calling Don BooBear, or just Boo. So we were both Boo, for whatever silly reason. Thats just how we referred to each other, all the time. Don almost never called me Kelley, and I almost never called him Don. Boo was just what came out and developed for us. I even came up with a “Boo” song for him. I would have to sing it to you in order for you to get the full effect, but trust me, it’s pretty embarassing. This is the type of stuff you would only debut in the privacy of your own home, with your life partner and soulmate.
The song went like this: “I’ve got a Boo, his name is Boo. He is a Bear and a Shmoopie too. He is cute and cuddly too! Ohhhhhhhhhh …. I’ve got a Boo his name is Boo.” For some reason, we would only sing these childish songs while lying in bed. Don got to know that song so well, often times he would sing the whole thing with me. At night, lying in bed, we would do this silly thing where Don would hold my hand in his, and then make this sort of Jack in the Box music type sound, while moving my arm back and forth really fast. He called it the “ride.” If I wanted the arm ride, I would just lean over to him and say: “Ride?” and then he would do this bizarre, makes no sense thing. Then we would laugh again and call each other out on our weirdness. As a joke and to mock cheesy couples, I used to call him “Shmoopie”, because he hated it. Found it nauseating. And then there was the “Shmoopie Song.” Don loved the Shmoopie Song. He really did. He would request it, or if I hadn’t sang it to him in awhile, he would say: “You haven’t sang the Shmoopie Song in awhile. Do it! Do the song, Boo!” We only did this while lying in bed too, I don’t know why. It didn’t work on the couch, had to be the bed. The Shmoopie Song was so utterly ridiculous too, because there was a whole procedure that went along with it. Hand movements. Choreography. Blocking. Don would be lying on his back, and while singing the song to him, I would make my two fingers into a little running man and “run” and jump back and forth up and down his chest, legs, and arms. While that was happening, I would sing this:
“A Shmoopie doopey doopey doopey doopey doopey Do! A shmoopie doopey doopey doopey doopey doopey Do…
A shmoopie doopey doo, a shmoopie doopey DEE ….
A shmoopa doopa shmoopa doopa shmoopa doopa shmoopa doopa shmoopa doopa doo …. BOO!”
He would always sing the last part with me, and when we would sing “BOO!”, that was the big finale, so we would both throw our arms in the air and make a sort of “shrug” motion while saying the word BOO. Honestly, I really don’t blame you if you put this book down right now and burn it page by page; and then set yourself on fire just so you no longer have to suffer and read another word of this ever again. Actually, right now it’s not a book yet, it is only a blog; in which case I invite you to set your computer monitor ablaze, so that you never have to be party to this type of drivel ever again. I apoligize profusely for putting you all through that. You can blame it on the grief. This is what my grief has done to me. It has forced me to share “Shmoopie” lyrics with the world; out of some strange desire to sing them again and try and properly demonstrate the kind of “couple moments” that we shared. Truthfully, these are just silly moments. They are strangely intimate in some way; but in the end; they are just silly. Even though I am opening up my heart and being brutally honest in this book, there are some moments of our relationship, our marriage, our life, that I am keeping all to myself. Some things , I believe, should remain private, and between the two people who shared them. There are quite a few of those that I look back on now, remember vividly, and smile to myself. Or cry. Or both. Usually both. I will have those moments forever, and Don will have them forever. Unfortunately, I believe the memory fades over time, and so this is why writing is so wonderful, so powerful. It’s there. It’s written down forever; just in case my mind one day forgets.
Which brings me to last nights dream. No words. Just one, great big, very intense, very moving hug. Don gave the best hugs, and he was such a huggable person. Like a big, tall, comfy teddy bear. One of the other very silly “couple things” we used to do was “run” into each other for a hug. He would stand in one room, I would stand in the other, and then he would put his arms out and I would RUN and sort of bodyslam into him and then get a great big hug. This would always start by one of us saying “Hug?”, and then we would both get into position. Sometimes he would run into me, but he usually preferred being the hug receiver. Because he was so tall, my head would end up in his chest and he would always sort of rub my hair and pet my head. He loved to pet my head. And while he petted it, he would say “pet pet pet” and smile his goofy smile at me. And that is what this dream was last night. It was me standing in our living room, and him standing in our kitchen. In the dream, I didnt ask for a hug or speak at all. I just smiled and ran toward him. My mind and brain were still somewhat awake while having this dream, because as I was running toward him, my inner, awake voice was saying: “Please please please let me feel the hug, let me be able to FEEL him hugging me.” When my dream-self reached him, I slammed into him just like in real life, and I FELT his body against mine. I felt it. My awake, outside voice commentated and rejoiced. It felt like a victory. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” my voice said inside my head. “I can feel him. Hold onto it, hold on …. make it last.” My dream-self stayed with him, my arms wrapped around his, and I felt him running his fingers through my hair, petting my head, and holding me tight. I moved my hands up and down his back, under his shirt a little bit, just to make sure it was really him. I could feel his skin and the little bumps on his back. I kept my head titled to the side, right up on his tummy. We kind of rocked back and forth in a slow, hugging motion, not wanting to let go. I started crying while holding him, because I couldn’t believe that I could actually FEEL his hug again.
It was real. He was there. I don’t know how, but he was there. My outside, awake self started to question this, started to doubt and analyze it, and I said in my mind: “Please don’t wake up fully right now and see that it’s just you hugging yourself or your stuffed Bear, or your pillow. Please please dont be hugging yourself like a jackass right now.” I opened my eyes slightly, and I wasn’t hugging myself. But the hug in my dream was still happening. I was quarterbacking it – controlling it some. I was able to close my eyes again, and it continued. I could still feel him. It was a long, peaceful, wonderful hug. It felt like home. I don’t quite remember how it ended, or that it ended at all. Perhaps eventually I woke up fully, and the dream was gone, he was gone. But it wasn’t like the “Eleven” dream, where he had to leave at the end. The hug never ended. I just woke up. Thank you for giving me one more hug Boo. It was so perfect, and I know that somehow, It was really you.