A song from the past floats into my head as I’m falling asleep. I’m a teenager, listening to one of the first albums I bought with my own money. Barbra Streisand: A Star is Born. It’s the end of the story. Esther Hoffman Howard is a widow, taking the stage for the first time since the accident. “With one more look at you…” she begins. “I want one more look at you.” I want one more chance to put it all together and make it make sense.
My husband Jim is in my dreams again. But I don’t know I’m dreaming. I can touch him. I feel his hair, strangely coarse, actually, compared to the thick, loosely curled, soft stuff I remember. But he’s there, in the flesh, inexplicably, and so am I. I want answers. How is it you’re here again, and so often? Was I wrong when I thought you’d died? Has there been a mistake? Are you back for good? Where, exactly, have you been? Speak to me.
He begins to talk, and I hang on every word. He is telling me the secrets of the Universe, of life and death, and I had better remember this accurately later, when I wake up. When I wake up…does that mean that this is just a dream? Logic gets all loose and wiggly again, and consciousness creeps back into my head. Suddenly, I’m awake and sweating hot. I’m in a room by an open window on a street in suburban Milwaukee. And this doesn’t seem to make much sense, either.
Anger. Denial. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. What are the emotions driving these dreams? What is my subconscious trying so hard to reconcile?I keep struggling for meaning. I am angry, I suppose. I deny that Jim died at the age of 47. That was too soon. It doesn’t fit into my perception of How Things Ought To Be.I do not accept it. Even now, more than four years later. Although, even in my dreams, I know that he is dead, and that is Real.
Enlightenment is, roughly, when you accept all that is…without the ‘you’. Ego is inconsequential. Acceptance, peace, wholeness. All Is. I guess I’m not at that point yet. I work on it through the night. I imagine Jim trying to help me out, but his input just confuses me. And I’m still too involved, trying too hard to wrap my little brain around the incomprehensible. How can I simply let it go? Accept ambiguity. Accept mystery. Accept it all. Accept. Accept.