“Every dream will reveal itself as a psychological structure, full of significance”
On the 20th of this month, my husband will be gone for two years. They say that the second year is more treacherous than the first, but in my opinion its just because you gain some clarity back. The reality of death sets in, and you have to choose which direction you are going to go because you can’t go back. You spend the first year clamoring for anything and everything, just to take you back to before they died. You handle all the business that death brings while wallowing in a fog. You feel as if you will never survive past the year. Imagine doing this while being a young widow and embarking on posthumous conception, then a subsequent miscarriage of one of your twin girls. Imagine the anger knowing that your husband died at the hands of another person, at the most pivotal time in your marriage. Year one was a complete and total nightmare for me, and for many others. The first year experiences are individualistic. However, no matter how the death occurs, there is the shock that they really are gone. There is some form of trauma.
When looking back on the two-year time period, I remember four vivid dreams that I had with my husband in it. There was one dream in particular that threw me for a loop, and still does. The dream I am referring to shapes up the first year in its entirety. Picture this, I am a very pregnant, grieving woman looking desperately for my husband on the shoreline. I am sobbing. Now, I am at the beach and it looks like the scene from Pearl Harbor. Some of you know that my husband was a gunner for the United States Marine Corps (although he was an inactive veteran when I met him), so maybe that had something to do with the setting. My scene includes low-flying planes dropping bombs on the shore where I am running, crying and searching for him. There are gunshots everywhere. There is other Marines present and combat. I see him suddenly, and he is in the middle of the ocean treading water. So I run into the waves, I start swimming and he sees me. I am paddling my hardest, and he is now swimming towards me. I finally get to him and he grabs me. I put my arms around his neck, sobbing. He holds me and starts swimming with me back to shore. I look at him as if to say “why are you taking me back there? I am going to die, I can’t survive”. He never said anything back to me, and I woke up after that. I woke up in tears because I swear that I felt him, smelled him. I could feel my arms around him. This wasn’t an ordinary dream.
I now know the purpose of that dream.
I may be reading into the dream a little much, but the Freudian theory kicks in a little bit when you are a soon-to-be psychologist. I read the Interpretation of Dreams, cover to cover. I know the torment that I was under the first year from the shock of his death, to miscarrying one of our twins, to the “bomb drops” people were adding on top of a horrid situation. I felt like I was going to die, that my heart was going to give out. I was in the emergency room every other day with chest pains, while pregnant with our surviving twin. I didn’t realize the greater purpose I had here. I had to fight hard to regain some sense of clarity and understanding. I had to focus on why I needed to remain here. The obvious reason is for my children, but also because I have God’s work to do. I have to advocate for those that have been through a tragedy such as this. I have to join the other vocal widows and widowers who are doing their best to make sense of spousal death. I have research to do, I have a foundation to run.
Year two brings clarity.
Year two brings purpose.
Year two is where the bomb drops can be dodged.
Year two is where the shoreline meets the waves.
Year two is where my husband says, “I’ve saved you, now fight back”.
Written by a beautiful widow named Lenee Kehnt, M.S.