Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend Warrior

Widowhood was a battle this weekend.  Life has it's challenges for everyone, and my biggest challenge is living as a widow, acclimating to the curveballs that come with the territory.  There were a couple of tough situations this weekend, but I survived and even came out feeling good about some things.

Friday night, I dreamed about Brian.  It was very vivid, and I awoke remembering a lot of details of the dream on Saturday.  In my dream, I was back in college, but it wasn't any part of the Simpson College campus that Brian and I knew.  I just know I was lost, trying to get back to my dorm room, and I kept finding myself on the wrong floor, maybe in the wrong building.  There seemed to be hundreds of doors, and I could see buildings beyond that which I was in.  I kept looking for the right door, and sometimes was trying my key at the lock when I thought I'd found it, but I just couldn't get it.  I had no idea how I would ever find my way, knowing how many doors there were in each building, and with so many buildings in front of me.  At one point, walking between buildings, I feel down a hill and into a dirty pool.  I also befriended a stray cat along the way, one that looked an awful lot like Mittons (the stray I rescued 8 months after Brian died).  Eventually, I found a couple guys I knew (though I can't remember who they were, I remember thinking they didn't "belong together" -- i.e., they are people I know from different parts of my life and probably haven't ever met).  I was so relieved to have someone who might help me navigate the sea of strangers, doors, and buildings.  I told them I was lost, and we talked for a few minutes, but they said they couldn't come with me and help.  They had to go to the cafeteria.  One of them advised me, though, to not bother trying my key until I found the right door. 

Then, I turned, and there was Brian.  "Brian!" I yelled with joy, and jumped into his arms.  Oddly enough, when I was up in his arms, I realized the person next to him was also a version of Brian.  It was two of him, each looking the way he did at some point in his life.  It was like one was Brian circa 2007 and one was him circa 2002 (more or less).  I know we talked some, but that is the part I don't remember at all, unfortunately.  I think even in the dream, I couldn't hear the words because I couldn't stop staring at his face; I was so happy to see him again.  Whenever he's in my dreams, I know even in my dream that he's dead, so that never confuses me.  I somehow know I'm dreaming or something; I'm not sure how to explain it.  This time was different, though, because I was not apprehensive or overly aware of how he couldn't or shouldn't be there -- I was just happy to see him.  This is the first time since he's died that I had a dream where I embraced him so gladly, without sorrow, without fear, without hesitation, without that moment's pause where I think, "What...?"  It felt more natural and less supernatural this time.  I just wish I knew what he said, but I couldn't stop staring at him.  I know he was going to take care of me and help me though.  I hope he comes back to my dreams again soon -- I'm so ready for it now.  I'm not sure if I was before.

So that was Friday night.  On Saturday night, "Antonio" and I went over to a friend's house for dinner.  Our friend Brian cooked for us.  This Brian, like mine, happens to be a 6'6" redhead who loves animals and is proud of his Irish roots.  (By the way, I think it's no coincidence that our paths have led us to befriend one another.)  While Brian was cooking the most delicious french onion soup I've ever eaten, he showed us a book his grandmother (who recently passed away) had made for him.  The book is a typed out account of his grandpa's life story, from being born into hard times on a farm in Ireland, to coming to America and finding love and making a family in Rhode Island.  Every page was adorned with green shamrock stickers.  The stories in this treasured memento were amazing -- I laughed, I cried, I was truly touched.

Then my widowhood struck.  I told Antonio how amazing I thought this was, and he said, "Yeah, it's pretty special.  It's pretty cool that she did that, shared her husband's life story and recorded it for future generations."  I immediately thought about Brian -- my Brian -- and how he will have no future generations, how short his life story is (was), and how no one will create a book like that for his grandchildren.  I started crying pretty hard at that point.  I told him what I was thinking, and said, "If you die young, without kids, you kind of get lost in history."  Antonio was quick to correct me.  He said, "That's not true.  Brian touched a lot of people's lives.  I can see that.  He touched my life, and I never even met him.  He made a difference to a lot of people."  Of course, I knew all that, but I just needed to hear it.  It helped me quite a bit.

Later that night, when we were all in the kitchen, a victory in the battle against widowhood really took place.  The three of us were talking about Wine Club -- a tradition Brian and I started in our dining room years ago, that continues now in San Antonio with a new group of friends.  We were discussing things we could do for future meetings, etc., when I remembered something.  "Babe, did I tell you that the Bokas are starting up their own Wine Club?"  While I was drinking wine with my boyfriend and our friend Brian, my in-laws were popping corks with my parents and some other friends.  I know they were inspired by our group and the fun we had, and I'm honored and overjoyed at the idea that they are living out the ideals of friendship, conversation, and good times (not to meantion good food and wine!) that Brian and I cherished so much.  In addition, the Des Moines chapter of Wine Club that Brian and I started has recently reunited and started meeting up again.  This is really cool because Brian and I were the common threads -- most of the people in that group are people whose paths crossed at our table.  I love that they are continuing the tradition that we started. 

It's funny -- it was a bittersweet weekend for this widowed warrior.  Some good memories and warm, fuzzy feelings, but also some hard-to-swallow realities and tears shed.  I think I'm going to have a glass of wine now, and think about the good things that my life (even as a widow) brings, and the great things Brian helped create.  Antonio was right -- he made his mark in the world, and in so many lives.  I'm so glad I was a part of that, and feel blessed to see the continued impact he has in this world.

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