I had dreams of him this past week. It's the first time in a lot of years I've dreamt of him two nights in a row.
It was both beautiful and sad. The dreams were good... they were happy. I got to see his smile again, that beautiful smile that warmed my heart. For a moment, I got to remember the feeling that his smile gave me. It's been so long, almost seven years now, that I can almost not recall the feeling of him anymore. But every now and then, something - like a dream - pulls out the memory from the depts. Not the mental memory, but the feeling memory. Those are the ones that are harder to hold on to. I can remember vividly so many details about our lives still. I can still remember the sound of his laugh and the love in his eyes. But the one thing that a struggle to remember is the feeling of what it was like when he was here. Dreams sometimes pull me back there, in the most beautiful, but painful way.
There wasn't much to the dreams really... just a small moments where he appeared and surprised me. He was playful, and laughing and smiling, the way he always was with me. His eyes were shining and suddenly mine met his, and I could remember the feeling of him. The feeling of us.
What Kelley wrote this past Friday is something that these dreams have conjured for me... will I ever stop asking? Will I ever stop wondering what that life was going to be? What he and I would have been with 9 years together now, instead of only 3. It's bittersweet, the questions that dreams can bring. And it's so hard to know sometimes that I will spend a lifetime not having answers to those questions.
It's not a new experience for me by any means. My mother has been gone now over 25 years, and still the unanswered questions remain. Would she have divorced my dad and taken me with her? Would we be close now that I am grown, and get along well? Would she be my best friend, like I hear so many other women my age say about their mothers? Would we live near each other and see each other every holiday, like other families? Who would I be if I had had my mother when I was 12, and 16, and 21, and 30? Where would I be if it had all been different? What would I be like?
Mostly, I try not to go down this rabbit hole too often. It can be all too easy to create some idyllic version of what would have been in your head. After all, maybe my mom and I wouldn't have a great relationship, and maybe my life with Drew would have taken turns I could not foresee too. So it doesn't really lead anywhere helpful to think on it for too long... I just try to accept that I will never know one way or the other. I try and accept that what was there, was good, and beautiful, and filled with kindness and warmth and love. Both in the years with my mom and with Drew. I try to think about all the good that was there, and just be grateful that I was left with so much goodness.
Whether beautiful or not, dreams will always bring the what-if's up I think. How could it not? Sometimes it helps just to sit down, and write, like I am now... write about how hard it is to have an ocean of unanswered questions living under my skin - invisible to everyone around me.
Photo Credit: Alicia Savage