Sunday, January 3, 2010


38/365 Man in the Mirror
Originally uploaded by MWImages

Some nights I lie awake and wonder what time sleep will arrive. I don't think of sleep as a close personal friend of mine, more like an ongoing acquaintance. Sleep and I know each other by name, and by face, but have never really hung out socially. I know a lot of the reasons behind our lack of closeness has been my own fault, if blame must be thrown into the mix. I don't always give sleep much value, and often don't return it's calls. Last night I did acknowledge it's presence, popped one of it's favorite pills, Abmien CR, around 1:30 am, then found myself still fairly conscious around 4:38 am.

It was soon after this last moment of consciousness that I must have drifted off into dreamland. Now as for dreams, you used to be counted among my top five, that's cell phone lingo among the youth, of which I am certainly not part of. I used to enjoy dreams, and people often come to me to do some "dream work" around the various themes in their dreams. It's something I enjoy, and appear to be somewhat good at. I subscribe mostly to the ideas of Carl Jung, looking at archetypes, and looking at the mind's attempt to find balance between the ego and the counter ego. The counter ego is the 'shadow' part of us. The parts that are more primitive, less cultured or awkward.

It is with all of this heavy psycho-babble that I experienced my short series of dreams last night, or should I say this morning. And while the details of the dreams are still somewhat present in my mind, what I find more interesting, or should I say useful, are the feelings that the dreams evoked in me. They were a series of related dreams that had three similar scenarios, each in a familiar place, each with the same crisis of heart and mind, and each with a confusing way of resolving the situation. The people in my trio of dreams included a nice mix of real people in my life, and real places, yet also included characters from various books and films I might have recently read or seen. Trying to find one solution that would be right for the related group of situations was not something that felt foreign to me. I actually just took it in stride.

What strikes me most about the dreams, were the fact that this was the first time I had been conscious of dreaming since Michael died. Now I must first put out there that given my state of health, or lack there of, yesterday, I was taking pills for a host of reasons. The was the pill to calm my nerves, there was the pill to calm my pain (throat and head), there was the pills to counter my depression, there was the pill to keep watch over my blood pressure, there was the secondary pill for anxiety. What I really wanted was a stiff drink. I haven't had one of those in a while.

17/365 Masquerade
Originally uploaded by MWImages

Anyway, pleasantly altered, and very sleepy me, woke up with a sense of dread. I hadn't fully resolved the vague undisclosed problems of my dreams. And upon waking, there were a couple of realizations. Firstly, that although these dreams were filled with many characters, with many a mini crises, in general my sense was that the dreams were clearly about ongoing, or left over, worries about Michael and I. Drifting from a sleepy state, into an awake state, I was able to see how all these characters were quickly merging into Micheal, and as I became more conscious of this I realized that the specific problems couldn't be resolved, because he was dead. So it is with no big surprise that the second realization was that Michael was really dead. His being dead wasn't part of these dreams. The dreams I had been waiting over three months to be visited by, only brought me back to the harsh reality of Michael's death, yet he had not been in any of these dreams.

I opened my eyes, took a short breathe, and the sobbing began. I cried, and then I cried some more. Then the pounding pain of my headache announced that it was still here. My throat felt much better, which I took as a sign that I would able to use my voice today, to speak of the horror, and the pain that I was feeling. It felt like day one. I looked around my bedroom for signs that my mind was playing tricks on me. That Michael was not dead, that he was right beside me ready to hear me speak. But when I spoke I could only hear my own voice. As the room came into focus the tell tale signs were all around me. Yes, his clothing was where it always has been. All of his books, personal items, watch, wallet, tooth brush, bathrobe, they were all there. But where was Michael? I slowly turned to the bookshelf, and there it was, his urn, filled with his ashes.

To Fight Your Demons, You Must First Release Them
Originally uploaded by MWImages

More heaving sobbing, more tears rolling down my face and onto my pillow. I got out of bed and walked over to the mirror. Yes, I recognized that face. It was the widower, not me. It was that widower that has been occupying my time and space. That widower that fills my mind with thought of grief, that darkens my heart with feelings of sorrow. I wanted to shake myself, and still hope that this was part of those dreams that makes you think you have woken up, then suddenly you awake again with your spouse right there asleep next to you. Only, it wasn't one of those moments. Michael was gone. Looking into the mirror, it was truly me. I was the widower.

It was a horrible way to begin a day. I locked the door to my bedroom, wanting to keep out anyone who might further recognize this widower. Maybe if I hide my face from them, it will be less real. A quick look into the bathroom mirror once again revealed the widower. I turned on the shower, and while waiting for it to heat up, I removed my clothing in a very hostile way, almost tearing the clothing off my body. Everything I was wearing felt painful, uncomfortable, as if the clothing were not even mine. Then I stood back in front of the mirror as steam began to fill the room. I looked at the naked image in the mirror, this aging man, his graying short hair, his small deep set eyes with dark circles around them. His body. That was not my body. My body is toned, my body is lean, my body is sensual, it gives comfort and sexual fulfillment to Michael. My body is adorned with art, tattoos. This is not me, this is the widower.

I once saw a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, where an alien virus is found to be infecting people, and changing their DNA. It was made a couple of years ago, and is called The Invasion." It is a remake of the original 1956 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." In the current film, a transformation occurs when the infected person falls asleep. Throughout the film you hear people say things like, "my husband is not my husband." Initially they sound crazy, but in time more and more people are unable to fight sleep, and they too awake to a new reality. They are now different.

I don't like being different. I liked who I was before. I don't want to be different, yet this is something I cannot change. When I look in the mirror it is clear, I am not who I was anymore. I don't like this new person, this person "widower." I don't want to be this person, this person "widower."

My day seemed to get progressively worse as the hours moved forward. I could feel the earth's movement beneath my feet. I could feel the earth's gravity, and it's hold on me feels different. Everywhere I go today, I can see that I am not who I used to be. I can't be fooled. I look at the purchases that were previously brought into my home, by me, or perhaps by Michael. These are not my things. They can't make me feel comfort, or bring me pleasure. This is not my house, I do not feel at home here? This cannot be my clothing, they do not fit me well.

38/365 Man in the Mirror
Originally uploaded by MWImages

Once more to the mirror. Who is this?
What happened to Dan? What happened to his life? Where is the love of his life? This cannot be his life.
Where is Dan's joy?
Where is Dan's passion?

I now know why I have been fighting sleep every night for the past three months. If I sleep I might dream. If I dream I might allow, for just a second, to forget my reality. If I sleep, I will dream. If I dream, I will need to awaken. When I awaken I will again experience the harsh reality.

Once more to the mirror. Who is this?

1 comment:

  1. i hope writing helps release some of the sorrow. sometimes it does for me. sometimes it forces the tears that i'm fighting against to come, which is the best. they need to come out.

    i have no words to ease your suffering. all i have is i understand.