Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Lesson in Grieving

Last night I had a very Freudian dream. It seems I had enrolled in pilot school. My husband, Felix, who passed away a few months ago and I drove to the airport for the lessons. He waited in the car while I went in. I went into the airplane which also had a store and bought what seemed to be a pilot bag. There was an announcement on the loud speaker that all students should now be on the plane which was leaving in five minutes. Suddenly I panicked and said I couldn't go. I had to get off the plane because Felix was waiting and needed a ride home. Then a voice which was both Felix' and an awake part of me said, "It is all right. I am dead. I do not need a ride. I am already home." Before I could decide, the plane took off with me in it. The plane was crowded. There was a big buffet with lots of food. A server saw my puzzled look and said it was all right. They always did this as thanksgiving and proceeded to serve me. Meanwhile, a fire had started in the back of the plane and the loud speaker once again blurted that it was now the job of the students to land the plane safely. And we did.

It has always amazed me how insights abound if we just pay attention. Felix loved airplanes and dreamed of flying one. He loved watching airplanes take off and land. He enjoyed seeing airplane fuselage frames on rail cars at the train yard. He believed that when planes are being built it meant that people had jobs.

Many a time, I still forget that Felix is no longer here and for a moment I think he is at work or somewhere or that I need to pick him up. Even as I pursue activities that are now truly my own, there is that momentary lapse of thinking that I am still part of a couple.

I have started the daunting task of redecorating the house which needed much repair. Felix resisted repainting our bedroom which was a manly hunter green because he was sure I would paint it a sissy pastel color. That is exactly what I did. The bedroom is now a very pastel sage green, very sissy and very happy.

I have also committed to a two year yoga study, something I have always wanted to do but did not have time for. One rigorous exercise is to study and learn from my dreams. That is how I remembered this dream and in remembering, found comfort in its meaning.

The process of grieving is a slow and sometimes tricky thing. I am still sad that he is not here. I also enjoy being alone and coming into my own, which, of course comes with great ambivalence precisely because I am not sad. I suppose it is why I had this permission dream. Looking back at the forty three years, I am sure we had hard times and fights and resentments but so generous is the heart that it filters the mind to only recall the good times. And so it is that I can remember and smile.

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