Lately, I’ve been having dreams with Charlie in them. Not dreams like before, where he was visiting me. Just dreams that he is in.
In these dreams, I’m searching for him. Once, he’d run away. Another time, we were in a public place and I couldn’t find him in the crowd. I’m always asking people where he is, and I have this overwhelming desire to find him and hug him, but I can’t because he doesn’t want to be found.
I’m not sure what my subconscious is trying to tell me. Every night, I go to sleep and long for him to visit me in my dreams.
The new normal is life without him. A year and nearly three months on, and he isn’t always the first thing I think of when I wake up. I’ve packed away his loss, pushing it under the weight of an insane work load and the every day stresses of life. It’s the hot core of my being, covered by a smooth veneer of calm that is egg-shell thin. Life goes on, but it’s not the same. It never will be.
This weekend, I was solo parenting while my husband is away. And it was a calm, fun weekend. My 15 year old and 7 year old both pretty much go along with the flow. There was no screaming or yelling, and no melt downs. We ate, and shopped, and ran errands and it was all very nice.
And I hate it. I hate that I like the new normal. I hate that we never have to start preparing to go somewhere an hour ahead of time. I hate that Charlie never had the chance to learn how to master his emotions. It kills me that our family is so much more calm, so much more normal, without him.
And so I dream of the absence of him, of searching for him and not finding him. I guess I’m searching for the life we used to have, the life with him in it. Because while that life was calmer and less chaotic, it was also funnier and louder and brighter, full of light and energy.
I miss that. I miss him. And I’m searching for it but never finding it, not ever again.