When It’s Difficult to Let Go of Our Dreams After Our Son’s Death


I had a session with M., a biofield healer, the other day. She was repairing my energy fields, and at one point she said, “You have to let go of your dreams.” I didn’t ask her in what context, but the statement struck me like a thunderbolt.

We all have dreams. I’m not talking about those wild roller coaster movies some of us may have when we’re sleeping, but the things we dream about having or doing. We have dream houses, dream cars, dream vacations, dream jobs and dream relationships. Our lives are fueled in part by our dreams. We strive to make those dreams come true.

When I became a parent, my dreams centered on my son, my family, our future. We used to “dream build” together. We’d put pictures of houses we liked, pictures of beautiful private planes, boats and places we wanted to visit up on the refrigerator. We’d talk about how we wanted our lives to unfold, the family compound we’d build on Kauai, Hawaii, traveling the world together in our jet, the success our son, Jake, would have as a photographer, an inventor, a chemist, a chef — the things he pursued with such passion at various times throughout his life. At one time, those dreams seemed within reach. We had no doubt we could make them come true.

During the last few years of his life, my dreams became simpler. I just wanted my son to survive, to emerge whole and unscathed from the turmoil his life had become and to uncover the root of his discontent and exorcise it once and for all. We still harbored those other more grandiose dreams, but they were shoved to the back of my mind as we fought for his spirit and soul.

Then came that dreadful December 28 and all the dreams vanished like mist in a hurricane.

When M. said I had to let go of my dreams, I realized in some ways I still cling to how I thought my life would be — the “before.” I know that life is over, but there’s a part of me that won’t let go. I have to let go of all those past dreams and the remnants of my prior life — the life that exploded on the day Jake died. It simply doesn’t exist. He took all of our dreams with him. I have to face my new life with a new outlook. No longer a dreamer, I have to take each day one at a time. It’s easy to say but much more difficult to do.

So how do we do that? How do we let go? I don’t have the magic answer yet — may never have it. We get on with our lives, making it up as we go along. I don’t have a clear picture of my future. We grind through the days, getting from morning to night, but we no longer talk of how our lives will be. There’s no more dream building. That family compound in Kauai is just a chimera now. The shadow of a life from long ago.

More than two years into this new life, I’m living the life of the “after.” Outwardly, it seems fairly normal, but on the inside, it bears scant resemblance to that old life, the life of “before,” a life lost forever — the figment of a dream one remembers upon awakening.

Some days we talk of selling everything and buying a little camper van and hitting the road. Shedding our old existence like dead skin. Divesting ourselves of the material things that anchor us to this place, to our past life, making the disconnect total. But the thing is, we will always take a part of Jake with us. He will accompany us wherever we go, and that is as it should be. He lives in those dreams, the remnants of the past. That’s why it’s so difficult to let them go once and for all. It’s as though I would have to let him go, too, and I cannot do that.

It’s a delicate balancing act, holding onto his spirit, yet letting go of the dreams we once inhabited. We inch along a tight wire stretched across the chasm of memory. Don’t look down, keep moving, eyes fixed on the distant other side. Some days we make progress, and it seems a bit closer. Some days it seems as if we will never get there, wherever “there” is. Some days it’s all we can do to keep from falling.

Follow this journey on The Infinite Fountain.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images


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