It’s Like Being in a Dream Awake

by | Jul 31, 2010 | 2 comments

When we first met, back in ’99, I’d take the bus into Port Authority at 42nd Street and you’d meet me there. We’d walk down 42nd Street a lot- passing all of the Broadway shows.

Lion King was the newest hit back then- and we’d pass by the signs hanging below it with reviews every time. Our inside joke was to laugh at the one that said, “It’s like being in a dream awake!” The sentiment just sounded so overdone to us, and we joked about it every time. For my first gift, you bought me a little stuffed lion from FAO Schwartz and handed it to me in the plastic bag it came in before I got on the bus to return home one evening. Inside was a note that said you were praying for me every night. I knew that you felt the same way. You said his name was Lion King. He is sitting next to me here now.
It’s funny how that same phrase keeps coming in to my head the past few weeks- “it’s like being in a dream awake.” Well, in this case a nightmare.
Yesterday I spoke to a widower who lost his wife and two children at the same time. He told me he really kept believing for a long time it might be a nightmare and that he would wake up next to his wife. I have had that same thought, again and again. I imagine waking up next to Dan and how I will tell him about this long nightmare I’ve had.
The weekend concierge downstairs hadn’t heard the news yet and after we got the mail tonight-he told Audrey to have a great night with her mom and dad.
I just heard myself calmly tell him that my husband had passed away a few weeks ago. “He drowned in a lake.”
It’s like being in a dream awake, being in a dream awake.


July 31, 2010


  1. Anonymous

    Have you read The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion? It explores similar feelings to those you describe, feelings she had in the year after her husband died suddenly, while her daughter was in and out of comas and near death. I highly recommend it.

  2. Jo Julia

    Yup- I read that – as a judge actually for the Quality Paperback Book of the Year Contest, so probably would have a slightly different mindset now. As I recall, I found her ending and last lines very hopeless though, so haven't reread it yet for that reason. Thanks though.


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