Eastern Laramie County is a giant bubble. Wearing Wranglers, cowboy hats and Carhartts and driving big pickups with deer bangers, every guy around here could be Jeremy.
I was 17 when my dad died suddenly. For what seemed like forever, I would occasionally see someone in the crowd that caused my stomach to jump into my throat; a shorter, thin, dark haired man with glasses. It didn’t happen often, but it went on for several years. Honestly, I thought I would escape that with Jeremy. I figured I was young, depressed, broken and scarred; losing Dad only added to the brokenness. Now? At 40 years old? I’m a grown up, first of all. Second, I’m not broken, I’m not depressed, but I guess I’m still scarred. In less that 24 hours, 3 times I’ve thought I saw Jeremy. 3 times! I know full well he’s not here. He will not be working on a tractor in a ditch. He will not be driving a pickup heading south. He will not be at our daughter’s halloween party. So how on earth does my mind even go there?
I had a nightmare last night. Nightmares aren’t new for me, and from 14 to probably 30 years old they fueled a lot of my depression and anxiety. I’ve started having them again since Jeremy’s been gone, and I think most of them have involved him. He didn’t make an appearance last night. I was fully aware in this horrible dream that he was gone forever. It involved a friend of mine morphing into a crazed version of the woman who abused me. I kept trying to hide, but no one could see the real woman. Everyone thought she was the original friend and continued to give up my hiding spots, pushing me to my knees in front of her. Since she knew I couldn’t hide from her, she would take coffee breaks with my friends, vacations with my friends – they could only see who they thought was my friend, not the bug-eyed, teeth clenched monster who was capable of causing my entire body to burn with pain just at the sight of her. I kept struggling to get home to my kids, but whenever I would reach the boundary of this little city we were in, my friends would pop out from behind a wall with this monster in tow. They laughed when I tried to resist her. They gathered in crowds to laugh at my pain. I don’t think they knew I was in pain. Laughing, laughing, laughing. It was of carnival horror proportions, complete with a broken mirror, spinning rooms and maniacal laughing.
I wondered today as I cried for my husband if this is what lies in store for me. The hell that was my mind I have escaped before. Am I that scarred that I’ve broken again? I know I need to find a counselor again, but how do I even start that process? When I used therapy before, both of the therapists just kind of landed in my lap. It was nothing short of God providing a perfect path toward healing. This time it’s different. I know this is grief, but I hesitate to give in to that grief. Any kind of healthy grieving I’ve done in the past has required the strong chest of my husband, with his strong arms tight around me. Crying myself to sleep while cradled in his security. Hearing his strong unwavering heart beat beneath my ear. Listening to his billowing voice of comfort, telling me we can get through anything together, with Christ.
How do I operate without together? I have Christ and Christ has me. In my heart, I know I am nothing without His love. His eternal love. But today? Today, my head is screaming for together. We had become one, and now I’m just half.