Leaving Me

I took a short nap tonight, which I almost never do, because I SUCK at napping. (I have trouble falling asleep, and then when I do, I want to sleep for hours, and I wake up feeling worse and more tired than before the nap, and then I can never sleep later that night because I napped during the day.)
 Please, good people of earth, remind me to stick with my policy of never napping. Haven't had a dream about my husband in a long time, and I just had one, but it was awful. It was the awful kind. My dreams about him are usually very real, as this one was, and in them he is usually coming to me somehow "from the other side" and comforting me and loving me and I'm having a conversation with him and it's always very beautiful and loving. Not this one. In this one, he was alive. He had never died at all, but instead I walked into our bedroom and he was packing his things away into bags and suitcases.
"What are you doing, Boo?" I said to him, not believing he was actually alive.
"I'm leaving you", he said coldly and matter-of-factly. "I don't love you anymore. I never loved you. I want a divorce. I'm taking the cats. I'll take much better care of them than you will."
I woke up by violently sitting up in shock. My kitties were not in the bed, and my immediate hazy-foggy thought was that the dream was reality, and that my husband didn't love me and had actually left me and taken the cats. Never in a million years would Don say those things to me in real life, and never in such a cold way. Never. He just wouldn't. That's not him. And even though I KNOW this and I KNOW he DOES love me, it still hurt like hell that he said those things to me in my dream. It hurt like hell to finally hear his voice again in a dream, and to hear him saying he never loved me. So I started crying really hard. The pain of that moment when you wake up and you are convinced that dream is reality - is the worst , most painful feeling on earth.
Wait. I take that back. The most painful feeling on earth is then realizing that: "Oh - wait a minute. This isn't real at all. My husband doesn't want a divorce. He doesn't want to leave me." Having that split second and a half where you sigh relief because you know that it was only a dream.
Then you remember the reality. He didn't divorce me. He would never take the cats away either. That is just me and my own insecurities about not being the better pet mommy for them. He would never leave me. There is no divorce.
But there is also no marriage.
He's dead.
I am not divorced. But I am not married. I am not Don Shepherd's wife. I am his widow. That word again. That word that has been such a huge part of my life for the past three and a half years. There it is. Again. Haunting me and following me, even when I sleep. 
And yes, even after 3.5 years of knowing that awful reality and living it every single second, it is STILL just as shocking to wake up to, and just as jarring, when it comes after that second and a half of thinking everything is okay. It is like realizing all over again - and again and again and again - that he is really, actually dead. That reality never ever becomes stagnant. It is forever shocking and stunning, especially when you wake up to it, just as I did on that awful morning of July 13, over 3 years ago. To literally wake up to the news that your world is forever gone, different, shattered - it is a feeling that is impossible to describe. 
And Holy Shit, does it ever hurt. 

It hurts the first time, it hurts the 17th time, and it hurts the 54th time. 

I don't think about him being dead all the time anymore.

But when I do, and when I'm forced to, it stings with the pain of a thousand knives, seeping their way into every pore of my skin, breaking open that wound, and whispering: "He's dead. He's dead. He's dead. "

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