I’m not sure if children all over the do this, but I do know that it’s an established ritual in my home – breaking out Christmas DVDs in July. As the weather gets hot and horrible, for some reason, my kids want to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Well, true to form, my niece wanted to watch the Rankin/Bass specials last week. As I listened along from the next room, I heard a familiar song. It was a song from Rudolph – there’s always tomorrow for dreams to come true…la, la, la…Hearing the song started me thinking about my dreams and wishes for the future. I have been going through a difficult situation in my work life and had already been reflecting on things in that area. As I’ve replayed the song in my head, I’ve started thinking more about how do I create new dreams for tomorrow when the life I had before my husband died was so close to fulfilling the dreams I had dreamed for so long.
So, I reflect (kind of time travel a bit in my head). We were expecting our second child when he first got sick. (at this point, we didn’t know it was cancer) Our son was finishing kindergarten and we were moving into our roles as parents of an elementary student and all the fun that entails. Our marriage was going well – not perfect, no marriage is – but we were learning the lessons that over a decade together teaches you…what battles to pick, how to communicate what you’re really trying to say and beginning to really enjoy who we had become together. I had a job I enjoyed and so did my husband. We were grateful for all of these things and we said that to each other. So, things were pretty close to what my hopes and dreams were.
Well, the next piece is – he got sick and he died. So, that leaves me wondering if dreams for tomorrow are even possible. If today blows up in your face and robs you of the tomorrow you’d hoped to have, how do you find your way back to dreaming again? How do you create the new dreams? Is it possible?
For over four years since his death, I’ve been trying to get there. In those early days after his death, there was no brain space for tomorrow. I was only trying to understand what had happened and how I was alone here with our new baby and our six year old son. I was only trying to put one foot in front of the other, just trying to breathe. Then there was the time that the feelings of separation from him were so suffocating that I felt that there would never be anything to look forward to again. Following much struggle, I believe now that he is gone and it is only up to me to redevelop who I am – in this altered reality – it is up to me to dream and think – who do I dream to be?
It’s baby steps though – first I was at home and didn’t work outside the home – I had never done this. I was also in the throws of heavy grief. Then at three years down since he left the planet, I decided to go to work again. To find the dignity and possibly the dreams for the future using my gifts and talents outside the home again…didn’t work out so well! Now, I am faced again with coming up with the dream. I have left the full time job and am faced with who will I be when I grow up? Or what are my dreams for tomorrow? Do I know? No. I think the important thing is that I am even asking the question. If I ask the question, it must mean that I want to have dreams again. If I ask the question, it must mean that I am hopeful that there is a tomorrow where the dreams do come true (whatever they may be). Today, for me that is progress and accomplishment all wrapped in one. It is this desire to look forward to something again with the hope that I may still have some dreams worth dreaming that reassures me I am still here and still have work to do.