For a long time after Dan died, I had a ritual of talking to him each night about my day.
It helped me feel close to him, like he was still part of my life. My grief counsellor thought it was a healthy and helpful way of maintaining a relationship with him and it bought me a lot of comfort.
I realised this week that at some point, this nightly routine started to become less frequent and now it’s something I hardly do at all. My relationship with Dan is changing. And I’m not sure how I feel about this.
Next week would have been our second wedding anniversary, regular readers might be aware that he took his life unexpectedly six weeks after our wedding, so that second anniversary is also looming. As these milestones creep up I find myself thinking, what would our life be like now?
Would we still be as blissfully happy as were? Would his depression, which was only diagnosed four weeks before he died, be under control or would it be terrible? What kind of celebration would we be planning for our anniversary?
What would my career be like? Would we have children yet?
I could sit for hours and dream about what our life would be like but would still not be able to settle on a vision because the options are limitless and reality is often nothing like you imagined.
After he died I thought the agony of missing him, and our life together, would consume me. I didn’t want anything or anyone else. My whole life had been built around him – as is the way with most happy couples.
Then it dawned on me, life with Dan was not my dream anymore. It was. For a long time. I ached for it, I could taste the loss. I couldn’t see any other way. But some time in the past few months I let go of that dream.
I didn't even realise I had let it go. It hurts to admit this. I feel a sense of betrayal towards him. Like I’m leaving him behind, in a way. Loosening my white-knuckled grip on the idea that I was meant for him and nothing else would ever be enough. Which brings some guilt for being ‘ok’ in a life that I’m not sharing with him. Even though he was removed from my life, and my future, that day 22 months ago when the depression took his life.
I don’t even know HOW I let go. It was shocking to realise. Because I still miss him. I still want him back. I still think about him and talk about him. There are days that the tears come in waves and the pain is raw again but these are not as frequent as they once were and not as intense.
Would he be ok with his? With me moving forward? When he died, I was determined to carry him with me, regardless of how heavy that burden got. And of course I always will, in a way. Dan will always be in my heart and the time we spent together will always shape who I am, but I no longer carry the dream of our future together.
My dream is now for a new life. Another love. A family of my own. And all the limitless possibilities for happiness that my future might hold for me.
As Michele would say, Hope Matters. I don’t want to live in the past. I want to open myself to my future. I'm building a new dream.