So, this new ABC show “Resurrection” has already caused me to have two seperate dreams, and has filled my mind with anxiety, and this is before even seeing the show itself. This is solely from accidentally catching a few seconds of a commercial for it. (I will not be watching one more second of this show. Obviously.)
The first dream I had about this show was great. In the dream, my husband, who was dressed in his E.M.T. uniform and had white light around him and was clearly a spirit/soul, kicked down the door and walked onto the set of “Resurrection”, (which, in case you don’t know, is a show about people that die and then ‘come back to life’ for good) in the middle of filming, and said angrily: “Enough already with this premise. What are you doing? I understand this is fiction and all, but you’re hurting REAL people with this shit. Real people, like my wife, with REAL loss. She was trying to get to sleep tonight after a long day in a long week, sat down to watch a bit of TV, and your ridiculous commercial made her cry for 20 minutes while clutching my photo. You are asking your audience in your ads to “imagine the impossible” – their deceased loved ones coming back to life. Well, guess what? It IS impossible, and it’s never going to happen for her or for anyone else that has lost their spouse or their child or anyone they love dearly, so why on earth would they ever want to IMAGINE it??? Don’t you think that my wife has had that fantasy millions of times? That I somehow come back? That it was all some horrible nightmare? But that isn’t ever going to happen, because in the real world, when people die, they actually DIE. So to ask people to “imagine the impossible”, that is just asking for heartache on top of heartache.”
In the dream, he continued his awesome rant on these people: “Film this shit at your own risk, it’s a free country, but just know you are hurting my wife, and millions of others, and I don’t like people who hurt my wife. She is hurt enough already. Good Day. (pause) I SAID, GOOD DAY!!!” Then he knocked over an expensive camera and kicked the door again on his way out, shouting as he left: “And how about casting her in something already? She is massively talented, unbelievably funny, and since I’m DEAD and all, she is really struggling. You asshats!”
Don has visited me in my dreams quite a few times, but this was the first time he came into my dream to communicate with someone other than me. And “asshat” was his very favorite insult term, as was the “I said GOOD DAY!” line from Willy Wonka. So although it was quite a silly dream, it made me feel protected by my husband, who could somehow see that just watching a commercial for this new TV show made me so upset and shaken up. Obviously the producers and directors and creative people involved with this show have every right to make such a show and air it, but I truly do not understand who their target audience would be. It would have to be people who have never experienced death – people who have never felt the trauma, devastation, and intensely horrific pain of losing someone very close to them. I just cannot imagine that anyone who has felt the earth-shattering quake of death, would have any interest in watching a show such as this. I truly cannot think of a premise or TV-idea that would be more painful than this to sit through.
Back to the two dreams. The second one happened last night, and it almost destroyed me emotionally. This time, I had a dream that my husband was alive, just like in the premise of this cruel new TV show. That this was somehow all a nightmare. That he never really died, and it couldn’t be explained how or why he was alive, but he was now alive, and back for good. In my real life, on the morning he died, after I was told by the nurses in a closed room what had happened after I rushed myself to the hospital in a car service, not even knowing WHY I was being summoned there – I sat in the hospital bathroom, after calling our immediate family and a couple friends – and I typed into my phone on Facebook: “This is the worst day of my life. My dear husband had a heart attack and died. I don’t know what to do next.”
In this dream, there was a knock at my door, I opened it, and it was Don. He said: “I’m here, Boo. It’s going to be okay.” I fell to the floor with shock and he picked me up, and we held each other for an eternity. Then I typed on Facebook: “This is the best day of my life. Don is back. He is ALIVE! I don’t know how, but its true. The past 2.5 years were all a big lie. I got my husband back!!!!”
Then I woke up. Shaking. In shock. Feeling sooooo confused. It was so, so, so real – that I actually thought he might be alive, and that he never died at all, and maybe THAT was all a nightmare, the thinking that he was dead. I sat in my bed just baffled and trying to figure out where I was. Those of you who are widowed and reading this will totally get what I’m about to say next – this morning, I went RIGHT back to those first few weeks and months after the death, where each morning you wake up confused and scared, and thinking “Wait, what happened? What is real? Are they really gone, or was that just some weird dream?”, and you have to get up and physically find something tangible that PROVES to you they are actually dead. So that is what I did. I searched for my box that is hidden away in my closet, the one containing the funeral cards and the Death Certificate, and the autopsy report. I was actually saying out loud to myself: “Please be empty. Please be empty, box. Please, please, please …..”
It wasn’t empty. Of course it wasn’t empty. Saw the certificate and collapsed into sobs. Dreaming that my husband was somehow alive, was probably the most painful of all the dreams I have had so far since his death. Because at two and a half years, I KNOW he is gone. I know he is dead. I know and live inside this reality every single day. But there are STILL flashes of moments in my life, seconds or minutes, where my heart and mind just doesn’t want to believe it. STILL. Ever. So all it takes is a silly premise from a new show to place my exhausted and stressed mind back into that place of “Well, just maaaaybe ….”
Since the next 6 months of my life are unbelievably stressful with overlapping jobs, gigs, writing projects, my book release, and too many things to name here – I’ve been having LOTS of horrible, awful nightmares lately. Caitlin, my counselor, tells me that is VERY normal and that because Im so stressed and busy, that is when the PTSD-related stuff from “that day” and other days will come back just like it was yesterday, because sleep-time is the only time that my brain has to process everything going on inside. I called her 2 weeks ago, frightened, because I had a VERY REAL nightmare where I was in a Christmas tunnel with Don, like a Disney ride with all Christmas-themed things, and then suddenly a dark cloud pushed us into this room, and he collapsed right in front of me and died. Then I was forced to WATCH as he was burned and cremated, and it was VERY violent and graphic. I couldn’t stop sobbing on the phone with her, and one of the things she told me was that, even though it feels incredibly awful and terrifying, it is actually a GOOD sign that I’m having these types of dreams now, because it means I’m processing things and working through them,and that my heart is now ready to work through them. So if we take each dream and break it down and talk about what feelings I’m processing with that one, I will be able to let go of some of the guilt and the fears that I have always had, surrounding the time around his sudden death.
The cremation dream was the most frightening dream I’ve ever had, but dreaming that he was still alive and that his death was all a big mistake – was so much worse. For a few minutes and hours today, I was living in complete torture, not knowing what was real, and yet not wanting to find out and realize, all over again, that my husband was actually gone. How many times must I be forced to realize, again, that he is actually, really, truly gone?