I had one of those ‘urgency’ dreams last night, though the details escape me. In the dream, I was preoccupied and anxious to get back or go somewhere to attend to some urgent need. It was one of those dreams where, in the meantime, you’re stuck completing some mundane task from which you cannot depart. So you’re half-heartedly attending to the thing in front of you, even as you constantly check your watch and keep looking over your shoulder for some escape.
The resolution came within the dream: it turns out that the need is suddenly not there– the emergency is unexpectedly gone. In that moment, I feel relief, but also regret as I wonder if I should have gotten away sooner.
Then I wake up, and realize that, though Will is gone, I still feel a pull toward the empty place where he once existed. I still feel a responsibility and an urgency to care for him. I still feel love and affection for him. Like a person who has lost a limb and is experiencing ‘phantom pain’, I continue to orient myself toward him and his needs.
On another level, I’m aware that I feel a pull back to ordinary life. To get back to normal, to everyday, to balance. But ordinary is gone, too. Whatever approximation of regular life I once had, I can’t go back. I’m different, my family is different, my wife is different; my life is forever changed.