Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 13

June 19, 2013
Day 13
I dreamed of Paul early this morning.  I’m thanking God for that.  Last night my friend Mishelle brought supper and she asked if I had dreamed about Paul yet.  I told her I had not, but most of my sleep is dreamless right now because I’m still dependent on the Advil PMs to get any sleep at all.  She said that she would pray I would dream of him.
Last night I only took half a PM pill and it did take longer to fall asleep, although I was tired.  I started working (writing) on my account of the night of Paul’s death.  Emotionally, I was a bit of a wreck by the time I made myself quit (it was getting late and I don’t want to get into the habit of staying up too late and then sleeping in in the morning.  The kids need me alert when they are).  I found myself physically shaking as I relived the events of that night.  And then I fell asleep and dreamed of Paul. 
The dream was two-fold.  In the first part, Paul was here, but something was wrong with him.  He was sitting at a table and couldn’t talk to us.  His eyes were vacant.  In my dream I was telling myself that he was going to have to “go to Glenwood.”  Where we used to live, in SW Iowa, there is a large facility for the mentally disabled in Glenwood, IA.  I think that’s where that part of the dream came from – not that he would have ended up there in real life.  But you know, in those moments that Paul was laying on the floor while I waited for the ambulance, I was pretty sure he was no longer breathing.  And I know, of course, what lack of oxygen does to the brain.  I remember thinking, “what if?” and then pushed the thoughts away that night while waiting for help.  We could be in a whole different world of hurt right now if Paul had not died, but had sustained a brain injury instead.  I don’t know that it would necessarily be worse than what we are dealing with now, but it would be different and very, very difficult for a variety of reasons.
In the second part of my dream, Paul had died.  But then, he came back to me.  He no longer had his beard for some reason.  I couldn’t stop touching him – his face, his arms, his chest.  I was chattering away to him and I remember in the dream sputtering, “But you died!  I saw them carry you out of the ambulance in a body bag! They did an autopsy on you - we buried you!”  Paul told me that he had felt them cutting into him for the autopsy but was too out of it to say anything.  He then told me – and this makes me laugh in the light of reason and day right now – that he had simply popped open his casket lid and clawed through the dirt in order to walk home to us.  Then  I began telling Paul all about his funeral – how packed out it was and how many people had come to say good-bye to him.  I told him about all the cards I’ve been receiving and the many gifts, financial and otherwise, that have come our way as a result of his death.  Then, in my dream I began to worry about just how I was going to return all the things that had been given and would people be mad that they had been cooking and cleaning for us when Paul wasn’t dead after all?
At that moment I woke up from my dream.  It was exactly 6am.  Two emotions immediately flooded my sleepy being – 1) relief that I would not have to explain to people that my once-presumed dead husband really wasn’t and 2) a crushing sadness that Paul really and truly is gone and won’t ever come to me, except when we meet again in Heaven someday.  Later, as I began my day, I also felt a profound sense of thankfulness to the Lord for allowing that dream.  He had answered both Mishelle’s and my prayer.
My Moms of Special Needs Kiddos group came out to my house Monday night.  It was our regular meeting.  They came for me.  They brought food and gifts – and chocolate!  They know me!  Amy, who leads our group and who I consider to be a dear friend, had thought of a series of questions.  For about 45 minutes, I was asked question after question about Paul.  It was so freeing to talk about him and to “introduce” my friends to my husband (most knew only me from the group).  I honestly loved it.  I am already noticing that some people don’t bring up Paul to me.  I know their motives are good, thinking they are sparing me pain.  But they don’t realize that thoughts of my husband consume my being.  He is ALL I think about and there are times I am just bursting to talk about him.  I am already in so much pain that talking about him cannot possibly hurt any more than I already do.  And so I was grateful. We listened to Will's testimony at the funeral and watched the dvd of his pictures that was played at the viewing.   And then, I was prayed for, out loud.  I wept in gratitude and thanksgiving as they prayed.  What a precious gift they gave me that night.  I will never, ever forget it.
I did some shopping today – normal, pre-widowhood type of errands.  It took longer than I thought it would.  But then, everything takes longer these days.  Lizzie wanted to come, so I brought her.  I would have had Ben, but his former school aide and friend, Deb, came and picked him for me today.  Deb is precious.  I called her last night, knowing that Ben needs some diversion.  He is going crazy right now at home.  I didn’t realize that Deb is now babysitting her grandkids 4 days a week.  I called her and she didn’t even hesitate and said, “How about tomorrow?”  It was the one day this week that she would not have her grandkids, and she happily gave it up to help us.  I am humbled.  Yesterday, one of Ben’s teachers came and sat with me for 3 hours.  I got to know her in a way I would not have, otherwise.  I have a feeling that our family has suddenly become very dear to the staff at Pleasantville, based on a number of things.  We got many, many cards from people I don’t know, who identified themselves as affiliated with the school there.  I know Ben was a favorite there before, but I have a feeling that things  have changed even from that.
But anyway, I ran these errands and I was doing ok.  Then, I stopped at the Christian Book store and as I was checking out the clerk (told to cross-sell, no doubt) asked if I would like to contribute to the “widows and orphans fund.”  I looked up at her and said softly, “I’m a widow.”  She looked astonished and then said, “Well, never you mind, then!  Then she commented, “You look too young to be a widow.”  I replied, “I’m 42, as was my husband.  I’ve been widowed for 13 days now.”  The clerk’s face crumpled and she walked around from behind the counter and gave me a big hug and told me how sorry she was.  Tears came then.
I’ve been seeking out comforting music on my mp3 player since about 4 days after Paul’s death.  It’s funny – none of the secular songs I have downloaded have any appeal for me right now. Of course, neither do any of the love songs, secular or Christian, with the exception of our wedding songs.  On the way home today I listened to the song,  What’s Mine is Yours by Katherine Nelson.  The song is actually about miscarriage, infertility, and teenage pregnancy - nothing relevant to my life right now.  But the chorus really spoke to me and I found myself singing it to God as I drove:
What’s mine is yours,
It’s always been,
What slips through my hand has Your fingerprints on it,
I’m letting go, remembering
Though Heaven’s doors feel shut,
They’re wide open,
What’s mine is Yours…
In my reading this morning, I found myself in Romans 8 again.  Of course, I love verse 28 and have reminded the boys and myself of the promise of this verse several times since Paul’s Homegoing.  Today, though, I read McArthur’s notes on verse 29 and learned something new – something comforting.  I’ve always thought verse 29 was a simple answer to the question of election and predestination.  It is, but McArthur goes on to explain that this verse speaks of a predetermined choice of God to set His love on us and to establish an intimate relationship with us.  I had never thought about that before.  But, I can see it.  Never in my entire life have I felt so loved by God as I do right now.  I can even, in kind of a weird way, see that God’s allowing Paul to die is a way to move my focus to Him.  It’s not that it was not there to begin with, but I always had Paul the to provide for my deepest need of love, intimacy, and security.  That’s been ripped away and I feel God sliding into His place and saying, “You were loved deeply by your husband, but now I want you to feel my love.”
And I do.

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