I came back from vacation to find my email jammed with all sorts of feedback to The Dream. What surprised me though wasn't the number of responses but the mixed feedback it generated.
On the negative side, one person wrote that she felt bad for Marathon Girl and that I shouldn't have let a dream about my late wife bother me so much seeing how they "mean nothing to me." Another said the article was further proof that I had never moved on from the death of my first wife.
As for those who liked it, one woman wrote that being married to a ex-widower for 11 years, said that she could relate to one of those "out of the blue things" that happen when you're married to a widower. Another reader said that it made her admire Marathon Girl strength even more seeing how there are many who wouldn't be able to deal with the baggage that comes with marrying a widowed person.
Whether readers liked it or hated it seemed like just about everyone who commented or emailed wanted to know how Marathon Girl felt about the entire incident. (I'll get to that in a minute.) First let me explain why I even bothered writing The Dream and sharing it on my website.
Writing is the way I best collect my thoughts and try to understand what happens in my life. So after the dream, I felt the need to write something about it seeing how this was the first time I had dreamed about my since her death almost five years ago. The first draft of this article was a journal entry I wrote the day after the dream. This version was left unread in my journal until June when flipping back through it I decided to see if writing a more detailed version of events could help.
When the version I posed was complete, I was hesitant to share it on my website. Though I share quite a bit of my life with Marathon Girl and my family's life on this website, I share only those I think would be of help or insightful to those who read this blog. Most of the stuff related to my life are stored in the safe confines of my journal -- never to be read by anyone other than Marathon Girl until after I'm dead. I finally decided to share it and hoped it would illustrate one of the many unique challenges that are part of our marriage. When you marry a widowed person, the former spouse is part of the marriage. Not a big, everyday part but a part nonetheless and incidences like the one described in The Dream tend to pop up occasionally -- though they've become less frequent the longer Marathon Girl and I have been together.
So, how Marathon Girl feel about this whole experience? She was hurt. Very hurt. However, it wasn't the dream but my reaction to it -- the fact that the dream was powerful enough that it reduced me to tears -- is what really hurt. Everyone who's married wants to feel like they are the most important person in their spouse's life. For those who have read the essay, put yourself in Marathon Girl's shoes and think about what it would feel like if the love of your life dreamed about a former spouse. Stings, doesn't it?
Though I've mentioned this at least a dozen times before, I'm very fortunate to have Marathon Girl as my wife. Marrying a widowed person isn't for everyone. It takes a special person to want to be the second spouse because issues like this come up from time to time and it's something a lot of people would have a difficult time dealing with no matter how infrequent these moments are. I had this dream back in April. So far his has been the only serious "first wife" moment Marathon Girl and I have experienced this year. Will we have another "first wife" moment this year? I hope not. Our marriage is much easier without these occasional speed bumps. But if another incident were to arrive, our marriage is strong enough and channels of communication good enough that we can talk about and work through whatever comes up.
Finally, about a dozen people signed up for my mailing list after the July update went out. I'll include the link to The Dream in my August update for those who were signing up with the hopes of reading it. However, if you can't wait two weeks or so for the next update, send me an email and if you're email address appears in my mailing list and I'll send you the link so you can read what all the fuss is about.