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Experiences or dreams? They give me strength


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I was going to get dressed and take Misty out early but instead I find myself here. I have this incredable urge to write about those first terrible lost days after Johnny first left this world. I have learned that when these times come to follow whatever my mind or heart tells me. There seems to always be a reason.

I went to bed after midnight last night and still was awake about five this morning. I woke up in the same position that I fell asleep on my right side with Johnny's robe snuggled in my arms. I slept so hard and so soundly and it is getting to be something that happens almost everynight.

At first I didn't get up but lay there trying to go back to sleep. I needed to go to the bathroom and am not sure if it was that or the sound of the rain that woke me. After a while I got up and came in here. I turned the light on and put my coffee to brew. The clock showed that it was nearly five thirty. I took my time with my coffee then came here to check my email. Then once more returned to my recliner. I am so restless this morning. I'm not sure why. I opened the curtains around seven and sat waiting for daylight. I had the quilt that I am working on in my lap as I watched the dark disapear and daylight slowly take over. I see up on the top of the hills that it snowed up there but it never came this low. Here it is only rain.

My restlessness has taken over and now I find that I can do none of the things I had planned until I write here. So now I will write about those painful lost days of December 2002 and the weeks that followed.

I had gone to our apartment that first day after I got home from the hospital and intended to spend the night there alone. I was in so much pain that I had trouble functioning. I had no idea where to turn or what to do. How could I go on without my Johnny? What was the purpose of living? All I knew was that deep all consuming pain. Johnny Ray called me and asked me to go back to his house he wanted to talk more about the arrangements for Johnny. He wasn't satisfied with what had been decided any more than I was. He also told me to come and spend the night, that I shouldn't be alone..

I went to his house and we talked. We agreed that there was no hurry to spread Johnny's ashes. I told him that I was glad about that because I felt that it would just be throwing him away and I didn't think he would want that. I spent the night there in the bed that Johnny had held me in so many times. I was exhausted from not having any sleep for nights but the little sleep I had was painful and sparatic. The pain inside of me was so intense that nothing could ease it.. That set a pattern for the next few weeks.

I would set up until I was so tired that it seemed that I would just pass out but when I went to bed sleep wouldn't come. All of the questions about his death would go over and over in my mind. There seemed to be no relief from those questions as I relived his last days hundreds of times day and night. Nothing that I did helped. I tried drinking a glass of wine at night or hot ovaltine but still I would wake up feeling more tired than when I went to bed. Nearly everynight I seemed to get an answer to one of the questions that I was asking. My memory seemed to provide what I needed to get those answers. Still my nights never improved and my days were spent in lonliness and desperation. I began to feel that once I got the answers to all of my questions I could go back in time and change things.. I felt that I would have my Johnny back with me. I knew that I was living my nightmare that had haunted me for so many years.

I would go to Johnny Ray's house but felt out of place and lost. I worked helping him move and clean both houses and stayed with the children while they were at the hospital when little Johnny Ray was born. I would work until I felt like I would drop but still my nights were long and troubled. I slept little and often went days without eating more than a few bites. I lost interest in everything. My house never got cleaned and I left my bills go until I was late paying them. I needed to find work but couldn't make myself try to get a job.. I was in a state of limbo. Waiting. I was just waiting for my Johnny to come back to me. If I left the house for any reason I couldn't stay gone for more than a few minutes before that need to be home would overpower me and I would rush back to be near his things and try to feel him near me. Every room and each thing in them were reminders. I could see those things and remember him there. I had to start forcing myself to go out for any reason and then I would rush home. I talked to him constantly telling him goodby when I left and letting him know that I was back when I returned... I was falling apart and wasting away. I could see it happening and didn't know how to stop it.. I really didn't want to stop it. All I could think of was being with my Johnny again.

Christmas came and went with those lonely aching days tearing my heart out. Those were the days that I had planned to make so special for myself and Johnny. I would have been our first Christmas together. On New Years eve I lost control on my way home after seeing the container with his ashes.. Then the song "I believe" came on the radio and I felt as if Johnny was there telling me to listen and believe that he was with me. It was just a night or two later that the first of two things happened that would finally allow me some nights of rest.

I had been thinking about some things I had written about Johnny and I. I knew that what I was writing was incomplete and was thinking if there was any way that I could add to it without causing anyone pain. So much of it should have been about his pain over the way his sons treated him with indifference and even hostility at times. I was questioning myself as to wether I should enclude that in what I was writing. My computer was on and the screen saver was so bright that I couldn't concentrate so I closed my eyes. As soon as my eyes were closed I saw Johnny. He was walking from the living room into the bedroom. I recognized the clothes that he was wearing and saw as he moved the oxygen hose aside so he wouldn't trip on it. I opened my eyes and called out to him but he was gone. I lay there waiting for him to return but he didn't. Soon I slept. For the first time sense his death I really slept for a few hours. It was a sleep that left me rested and when I woke I didn't feel like I had just been thinking all night. That day was easier to get through than any had been so far. I felt that he was very close.

Less than a week later I was to have the stongest experience that I have had. It would be one that I still remember in detail. I don't even have to close my eyes to relive that night. It was so real and I know that I was not sleeping when it happened. I was asleep at first but I was awakened to share the rest of that experience with my Johnny.

I had fallen into one of my restless sleeps when all of a sudden I felt someone touch me. I jumped and looked over my shoulder and Johnny was there. He was in just a t shirt and I could see where his arms left the sleeves and I could see how it fit loosly over his chest. I saw his hair and even the black hairs of his beard that had appeared so strangely and suddenly that last Sunday of his life. He spoke to me but I didn't see his mouth moving. I just heard what he was saying. He said "it's alright I just want to snuggle you". I lay down again and felt his arms around me and felt as he pulled my feet and legs to mingle with his like he had always done. I got up once to use the bathroom and when I got back into bed I once more felt his arms around me. I slept harder than I had slept in months. When I awoke the next moring I was in the same position I had gone to sleep in. His robe that I snuggled was on the far side of the bed nearly falling in the floor. There was just enough room for him between it and me. When I had gone to bed the night before I had put it to my back and pulled the arm across me to pretend that it was him.. Now I found it so far away and I knew that it had not been a dream. I know that Johnny was with me that night to comfort me and give me the rest that I needed. Without that night of sleep I doubt that I could have gone on much longer.

Now everytime I have more than one of those restless nights that leave me so exhausted and unable to function I will have another of the nights where I sleep so sound. I always wake up in the same position that I fell asleep in and each time I have the feeling that Johnny has been with me snuggleing me and watching over me.

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Lillian, hope you are feeling better after posting this message and getting some things off your chest! I know you have been having some strange and unusual things happening with you and feel you need to talk about them. I believe that this board is very special for all of us because if offers a place for us to vent our special feelings. I am so glad that you feel close enough to us all to share these special moments with us. I know, from my own experiences, that there are things we have to deal with after losing a loved one that are often unexplainable. Many things happen we can't understand, yet we seem to search for answers. I do believe that Dennis will always be here with me. He will not be in the same form I recognized for so many years. Maybe now, he is one ray of the sun or one drop of rain. I can tell you for a fact that he is alive. He now(and always will) live through me. He is alive in my heart and in my mind! I can close my eyes and feel his touch. I can hear things he tried to teach me about survival when I get into a jam! Yes, Lillian....we do believe these things happen. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing with us! I know how much it helps to talk these things out with friends. You have been so very brave and experienced so many changes! I doubt many of us would have been able to step up to the plate and deal with things as bravely as you have!!! Remember...I am always here for you. Maybe my advice is not the best in the world...but my friendship and sincerity is!!!!! Ann

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I am glad you wrote this Lillian....I am hoping and waiting and praying for a sign from my dad.....I also don't sleep well....I feel haunted....at times at night I wake up thinking about cures for cancer and how I could somehow get him back...thinking I still need to find the right answer....I am reliving those last days/weeks over and over...I just can't accept this.

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