The death of your significant other can have a tendency to place your goals and dreams on hold. You may have been planning a major purchase together...a new home, a vehicle, or even a major furniture or appliance buy. It might have been that trip to the Grand Canyon or Alaska you had dreamed of for years. Kids? That was always a “sometime soon” until they went ahead and got themselves dead. An experience that the two of you wanted to have together suddenly not only seems impossible, but undesirable, because it will only "remind you of them".
Just about anything that you and your partner had a shared dream of is, quite effectively, brought to a halt. "Life keeps on moving" is indeed true, but mainly in the sense that it’s "day to day" life that keeps on moving. Bills aren't suspended and your place of work doesn't close up shop, donating their profits to you. Your widow card doesn't come with free lunch or retail discounts. We widows still HAVE to keep living, it’s just not the fun parts of life.
But your dreams? Well, there goes that. Who the hell wants to go to the Grand Canyon, and bawl not because of the sheer beauty, but because our person isn’t there to see it with us? Why would I move now? This was the house Megan and I shared...that place in the country won’t be enjoyable anymore, because I’m just reminded that we never got there “together”.
Megan and I got to have a life together, and for that, I’m grateful. Regardless of how short “together” was cut. We got to have Shelby. We owned a pretty decent little starter home together, that I still live in. We went to Yosemite and Maine together, and many other places. To many widows, just being able to experience any of that would have been all they asked for, and didn’t receive. “Together” is more important than even “having a life” sometimes.
Regardless, there is still “unfinished business”. I imagine there always would have been, even if she died yesterday. Those goals, plans, and dreams may have been realized, but the “next big thing” would have replaced them. What, were we just going to stop dreaming because the three of us got to see Yellowstone?
The point is, plans take time to develop, and when Megan died, they were PAUSED, not ENDED.
She and I were pursuing one major thing at the time of her organ rejection starting. We were going to buy an RV (a “caravan” to you folks across the pond). I had just taken on a new job, we were almost debt free after a few years of buckling down. I had a truck to pull it, she was in good health, and Shelby was already old enough to not need 100 percent of our attention. We had even went and started browsing for our “perfect” rig, applied for whatever financing was needed, and bought and read all of the books.
The plan was to obtain our “home away from home”, and start travelling. By January of 2014, we were simply holding until the next month, when RVs were on sale every year. It was time to realize our goal.
Only, what actually happened the next month is that Megan was diagnosed with chronic organ transplant rejection. It was so beyond important to focus on her health that our plans were placed on hold without even having to audibly state so. She died in November. Any hopes and dreams were either crushed, or forgotten. Even the little things we tended to do, like replacing a car every few years with something nicer were stopped. I still have the exact same “fleet” that we had in early 2014.
But, it’s been awhile now. Sarah is in our lives, we’re engaged, Shelby is twelve, and we’re building our own lives together not because Megan died, but despite her (and Drew’s) death. Sarah and Drew had their own dreams together, which, just like Megan and I, were brought to a halt. We’ve both come to the acceptance that although I’ll never see Yellowstone with Megan, and Sarah will never get to marry Drew officially, they’ll both be there in spirit, while the two (three) of us get to merge our goals and dreams together.
Which brings me back to that dream that Megan and I had of travelling the country in an RV. I had been so short-circuited for those first few years that I never even thought about it. Almost suddenly though, a little spark ignited over the past six months or so. As if the “play” button had been pressed, five years after hitting “pause”. I still have the truck. Our debt is almost gone. Sarah is in good health, and Shelby needs even less care than she did when she was seven. It’s almost the same story, although the name and likenesses have been changed.
Sarah, Shelby, and I have resumed one of Megan and I’s dreams. We are so close to realizing it that we’re again physically browsing for the “perfect” camper. It’s actually a little sweeter that Shelby is now involved in the process too, and can have a say in whatever we choose.
Much to my surprise, it hasn’t been a trigger. I haven’t constantly thought about Megan not being there when we’re inside a 24-foot house on wheels (although I certainly have acknowledged that fact quite a few times). It may help that five years later, I’m amazed by how much these things have changed in both features and cost from what Megan and I were looking at. While I can’t exactly speak for her, I don’t believe Sarah and Drew had ever fathomed getting an RV...they were going to get a sailboat and keep it in a Dallas apartment parking lot, but that’s another story.
There are differences to the end goal here. Megan and I would have taken shorter trips, so she could be around her family and doctors, and for me to only have to take a week’s vacation at a time from my brick-and-mortar employer.. Sarah’s friends and family are scattered across the country and I can conceivably telecommute now. We’re looking at larger units and longer trips. There are features that Megan and I wanted that no longer seem important or needed, like a friggin’ bathtub (take a look at a picture of one of those silly RV bathtubs and tell me that it would EVER be useful).
Regardless, the dream, that had for so long been pursued, and then paused, has resumed. We’re closer than ever, and ultimately, I have both Megan AND Sarah to thank for that. I am so happy that it didn’t truly die with Megan. That alone tells me that our dream wasn’t a silly phase. We got to pursue it together, and ultimately, again, it’s the “together” part that was important, even eve we never got to realize it as such.