Fast-forward a few decades to shortly after my husband's death. Nightly, I woke up in the middle of the night after feeling a rush of energy surge through me. I'd feel the stroke of fingers through my hair only to realize that the covers had been tucked all around my body, encasing me in a protective cocoon.
Sometimes I would see my husband in my dreams, sitting on the side of my bed, listening to me ramble on about my day. I would fight waking up because I never wanted to leave the dream. When I finally blinked open my eyes, he'd be gone yet my skin tingled from his touch.
Friends would look at me with pity in their eyes when I'd share my story. A natural part of grieving, they'd say. Or, worse yet, "it's normal to imagine he's not gone."
I stopped confiding in them. I kept my dreams to myself until my daughter, only 8 or 9 at the time, came to me to say that daddy still tucked her in at night. She told me that he always checked on her just like he did when he was alive after returning home late from work.
Eventually, the occurrences became sporadic. I had to face the fact that he was gone...and even questioned if perhaps the naysayers had been right with their doubts.
On a family trip to San Francisco, a gypsy woman came up to me, claimed to be psychic, put a green stone in my hand, and told me, "Your husband walks next to you. He needs you to know that he hears you when you talk to him. He's sorry, so sorry." Shivers went down my spine. At the time, I wasn't yet forty and hardly "looked" like a widow. I still wore my wedding rings, in fact. The abruptness of this woman approaching me randomly on the street freaked me out. I couldn't get her words out of my head.
Lately, I've been going through a rough time as my life is changing radically. I've been so focused on raising my kids as a solo parent and developing my career that I haven't dated anyone seriously or thought much past the present moment. Now my oldest is a sophomore in college and my youngest is starting his senior year in college. Finances are tight. My health has been one challenge after another this past year. The house flooded. The brakes went out on one car while the other needs tires. I felt overwhelmed one night when I couldn't sleep so I cursed Sean for not being here, for dying, for not growing old with me as planned.
I curled around my pillow, all cried out, and blinked out my window to the moonlight shining on the lilac bushes. And I felt a firm, warm kiss on my forehead. I froze. Invisible fingers slid over my hair.
It only lasted a minute--tops. But I know it was real. He kissed me--or someone kissed me. It wasn't a dream or wishful thinking or anything like that.
Maybe he's not gone. Perhaps he's simply been staying quiet to allow me to get on with my life, but that kiss reminded me that I once had a great love in my life. He was tall and blond and blue-eyed and handsome with a smile that took my breath away until the day he died. And maybe things didn't go as planned, but I had love in my life. Still do. No one will convince me otherwise.
Something to think about...