Anticipatory Grief: The Late-Night, Bad Dream Version


Last night before going to bed, I read some more of Sherman Baldwin's book. By the way, he'll be on SpouseBUZZ Talk Radio tonight at 9:00 EDT, so join us on the radio and in the chat room. During the night, I had a dream that my father had passed away. Sherman's book is about the lessons he learned from his late father, so I'm sure that prompted the dream. Disturbing, but it made sense. However, what happened next did not make sense.

When I finally went back to sleep, I then dreamed that my husband was killed in action. Now, I've planned my husband's funeral 100 times over in my head. Something that I realize sounds incredibly morbid, but also something that I know this audience can relate to, more than most.

Here's the weird part. I don't recall actually dreaming that my husband had been killed when he was deployed, only going over the scenario while I was wide awake, which I thought was bad enough, but the dream was far worse. 

In the dream, I received a phone call. Nobody came to the door. The dream was bizarre in many ways. I immediately broke down, then waited hours before I decided to call his family. When I tried to call, I couldn't get my home phone or cell phone to work. I picked up my husband's cell phone and tried to get through, but the call wouldn't go through on his phone, either. I even tried to get an operator to connect me, and she hung up on me! Finally, I sank to the floor and contemplated my loss.

My mind wandered between making a mental list of things I needed to do, recalling memories with my husband, having crying spells and thinking bizarre thoughts. One of which was, "I'm not in the Army any longer." Well, I'm not in the Army now, but we are an Army family. I remember reading the book that inspired the show, Army Wives. The character that Denise is based on had just found out her son committed suicide. One of her first thoughts was that she had left the house a mess that morning. It seems an unimportant thought to have at a time like that, but I can see where that would be a concern. So this morning I wondered if this was just a dream, like many others, that included silly and seemingly out-of-place actions, or something more? I suppose I've often wondered how I will feel when we have that retirement talk one day and I realize that our two decades-old lifestyle will dramatically change - forever.

The question that keeps nagging at me is, did I ever dream my husband had been killed? Ever? I don't recall doing that, and I find that interesting considering the amount of time I devoted to planning his funeral. Planning his funeral seemed perfectly normal and understandable to me, but dreaming that he died shook me to the core. And why would I dream something like this now? My husband isn't even deployed at the moment. Odd. But I am curious, have you ever dreamed of your spouse's death while they were deployed? And if so, which was worse, the dream or the mental exercise of preparing for the worst?

Oye! GBear has insomnia and I'm having bad dreams. I think I'll take the insomnia...

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