There are not many times in our lives when we have to/get to totally reimagine our goals for the future. Most of us only reach this point, as a result of a tragedy. Something happens that makes your dreams for the future completely unattainable. I supposed winning the lottery or discovering oil would also provide a reason to reimagine ones goals for the future, but in my case this cause for creating a new vision for my life was the death of my husband.
For those who know my story, you might wonder why now, almost three years after his death, this is at the forefront of my mind. I’m sure for those who have experienced such a trauma you understand. It can take this long for someone to incorporate the reality of a trauma into their story. It wasn’t too many months ago that I realized I was thinking it would be easier for me to raise my husband from the dead than it would be for me to find someone like him. Putting aside what that means about my tendency to try to rely on myself and my feelings about American culture, what really stood out to me when I zeroed in on that thought was that I was still focusing on my vision for the future that can no longer be, rather than creating a new vision.
There have certainly been times I’ve imagined a life where Zoya and I are thriving. It usually involves us traveling around the world, but sometimes I’ve had glimpses of a good future even doing the more mundane things in life.
These thoughts have normally been fleeting, and while heartily welcome, I haven’t spent a lot of effort trying to purposefully shift my gaze to this future. Shah moved me closer to my life long dreams than I’d ever been before. Even though I was working and he was staying home with Zoya, we were both focused on me eventually being home full time with Zoya and our other children. So not only has the trauma and loss made it hard to envision a new life, I’m having a create a dream that never existed.
While my situation is unique, I don’t think this experience is unique. I have to imagine nearly every solo parent goes through this at some point or another. Many of us dream of having children, few of us dream of raising them on our own. Not everyone dreams of being a stay at home parent, but many who do end up not being able to.
I’m approaching the point where I can continue to focus on the life I had and future I hoped to have and lost, or I can accept the loss and start to discover a new dream.
I’m finding those baby steps of drinking more water and gardening are giving me strength to being this process. Three thoughts are starting to become more clear as I try to find hope. One, of course, is living a life of travel with Zoya. Another is learning and exploring with Zoya. The third is finding a way to home school Zoya while I work enough to pay the bills. These are things I can do now and look forward to doing in our future.
I know as well as anyone, that having dreams doesn’t mean they will come true. But you have to have hope that life can possibly still be good if you are going to keep getting out of bed day after day. There were times I had to trust life could be good again, even if I couldn’t picture the possibility. Now I’m able to picture a good life, even though I don’t know that it is the one I will have. I actually believe, that despite all that has happened, God has a plan for me that is bigger than I can imagine. It may be harder than I imagine. It may be easier. There is much I do not know. But it is time to move my focus from all that will now never be, and embrace hope for what may still come to be. It is time to dream again, while embracing what I still have. I will always grieve the loss of Shah, but I can appreciate God’s provision of new dreams as new life springs from the ashes of death.