The Darkness in Dreaming

The Darkness in Dreaming

It’s been a while since I’ve had strange dreams about my late husband. For months they came in clusters that I couldn’t control. I hadn’t thought much about those past dreams until I re-read the blog post I just linked, and the content of those dreams is so much darker than I remembered. It’s painful for me to read it now almost a year after publication. I can’t imagine how ya’ll felt reading it back then.

For the most part the haunting dreams have stopped, but I’ve had two in the past two weeks that I felt like were interesting enough for a blog post in the way they ying-yang each other.


The first I blame on the fever I had while enduring round two of my sickness. In this scenario, Tim was still alive and we had gotten divorced. He called me on the phone, and lit into me about how everything was my fault. I was never understanding of his needs. I put too much pressure on him. I couldn’t see anything from his perspective. I ruined everything between us, etcetera etcetera.

One of us decided we should talk in person, so he drove to meet me. I was sitting in a big house on a hill, and looked down at the driveway where his new wife walked out of their car. First I was upset that he could manage to get remarried so quickly, since it had only been a year. Then I remember being a little surprised that his new wife was African American (Non-Dream Note: this has nothing to do with me not being okay with inter-racial relationships).  I walked down to meet him, and Tim can to talk with em. We sat on the tail gate of a pickup truck, not entirely unlike the truck he drove when I first met him. I sat next to him with my legs dangling over the side, and when I looked over at him I realized that he was African American now. I stared at this man that I knew so intimately for a long time, trying to find any characteristic that I knew to be truly him. I kept looking at him and trying to see Tim, but I couldn’t. Then I woke up.


The second dream happened less than a week later. In this version, Tim was alive as well and we were apart but not necessarily divorced. He had cheated on me, and I ended things abruptly and angrily. For some reason I decided it was a good idea to send him a post card with some final thoughts on it that I wanted to leave him with. Instead of writing normally in the blank section on the pack, I stuck different post it notes/stickers with one short sentence each on them around the card. I don’t remember what they all said, but on the front of the card I taped one down that just said “I love you.”

After sending this postcard, Tim called me immediately. He wanted to travel to where I was so we could talk in person. He was incredibly sorry for what he had done. This time was the one to let loose. I told him that his actions had single-handedly ruined our relationship. Any hurt was all on him, not me. There was a long conversation where I kept repeating how he was the one who did everything wrong. He listened, but kept repeating that he wanted to see me. Tim kept asking where I was, because I had moved several times without telling him. Finally I said that I had “done a few years in Austin” before moving to Boston, which is the exact reversal of the moves him and I did together. After I told him where I was, I woke up.


When I compare these dreams to the ones I had last year, they seem a lot less depressing overall. The first dream where Tim blamed me for everything left me depressed for a few days. However the second dream where I blamed him for everything? Woke up feeling totally a-okay about my life.

Does that mean I blame him? No, not really. I guess even in my subconscious I refuse to be called at fault for all this. It’s interesting to record these things so I can remember them. One day I might look back at it all and try to put the different pieces where they fit.

7 thoughts on “The Darkness in Dreaming

  1. Dreams are SO weird sometimes. I’ve not had a dream where someone was from a different race/ethnicity, but often people are weirdly out of scale, like they’ll be tiny doll sized in comparison to me in the dream or will have a giant balloon head. It is so bizarre. I have dreams about Dad often since he’s passed. Most recently? One where he and I went to Taco Bell. No dialogue, just tacos. Grief is so complex.

  2. I’m not one to think dreams mean anything, but rather that they show us what our subconscious is processing through. There are a lot of deeply complex emotions wrapped up in any relationship and more so in those lacking closure. It sounds on the whole like you’re having some better days, and I’m glad of that. 🙂

  3. Dreams are so interesting. It is amazing that you recall your dreams about Tim in so much detail. It also fascinates me that dogs and horses dream (and maybe many other species I am less familiar with). I find it hard to accept that they have no significance at all. Sometimes, their timing and content are spooky.

    I once had a very specific, detailed dream in which I was a young Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied Germany. I have no idea where it came from. I wasn’t reading any materials or watching any movies that had any reference to that period in history. Very strange.

  4. My dreams never make much sense. Last night I dreamed I owned two houses, one of which was a house in a tree that had been gutted as a reno project and the neighbor had a prehistoric sabertooth-type dog that they routinely let loose.

    At least yours make SOME sense.

  5. I’m so sorry your sleep is being interrupted with these images, some of them sound like they must feel pretty upsetting. I generally consider sleeping to be my number one life skill, because I usually sleep very soundly through the night. But sometimes I have very vivid, troubling dreams, and boy can I relate to how unsettling that is. Sometimes it’s hard to stop thinking about them during the day. There are some parts of these that might be a little comforting though? Maybe help you get the closure/resolution that you can’t actually have in waking life?

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