Exactly one year after my husband Chris died following a bone marrow transplant, by which it was hoped it would halt his leukemia, I started having dreams about him.
In the first of these, I was at home and happened to glance through the partly glazed door leading into the back garden, and ‘saw’ him coming towards me, looking full of health and so happy to see me. His hair, which had been greying, was golden, like a halo, and his face had colour. I opened the door and happily went to greet him, but as I reached out to touch him, he faded and disappeared into the ether. I was devastated. It was a Sunday morning and we went to church as we normally did, but throughout the service I was consumed by the dream, thinking was God telling me ‘yes he is in heaven, his disease is gone, he is well’. This was somewhat reassuring but hard to accept.
The second dream was more vague, and my mind was trying to put sense into what had happened. In the dream, I knew he had gone, but I had a feeling that he had perhaps lost his memory somehow, and was living somewhere else, trying to locate where his family might be. And in the dream we met suddenly, unexpectedly, and he was overjoyed to be re-united with me. And then I was awake and alone again. This dream recurred many times, full of sadness, but there was something positive in the possibility he might come back.
In another recurring dream, I sensed Chris had suffered a mental illness and needed help to re-adjust back to his old life, but how could I help him when he wasn’t present.
September /October 1988
The next dream was dark and menacing, as my mind explored other possibilities. In the dream, it seemed we were separated. I was pregnant, and in hospital awaiting the birth, but the arrangement was that Chris was to come and see me there, and again the next day when the baby was born. He came into the room looking very dapper and kissed me, on the cheek. I could feel his skin was smooth, as if he had just recently shaved, and there was no emotion at seeing me after so long. I was suddenly filled with doubts and asked him, ” Is there someone else?”. His answer was “Yes”, and I awoke, completely devastated and deeply hurt. This was the most difficult dream to deal with.
In another vivid dream, we were coming out of a concert in the Ulster Hall in Belfast, looking for our car but could not find it, worried that it may have been stolen. Chris was not worried at all, and I felt he was saying ‘don’t worry about material possessions.’
Other, later dreams were of just being with him – no heavy overtones of mental or memory problems, or being with other women. Perhaps meaning I was beginning to adjust to being without him. Some people thought the dreams were God’s way of speaking to me, others that it was all psychological, a trick of the mind.
I still don’t know.