I was in the kitchen of my parent’s house, the house of my youth. My in-laws were there and had just delivered some horrible news—WonderWife™ had just passed away in her sleep. I felt anguish. There were screams and cries. Pain and confusion. I thought of the kids, who were asleep upstairs. A random thought entered my mind—what of work the next day? Of course I wouldn’t be expected to go. But what of work the day after that?
“What am I going to do?” I asked my mother in law. “I’m all alone.” I realized that she was going through anguish of her own, but she was putting on a brave face for me.
“We’re here,” she said calmly.
“You’re here now,” I screamed through tears. “But you’ll leave soon.”
I called an old co-worker of mine, somebody with whom I used to be very close. I broke the news and cried. There was silence on the other end.
“I’m sorry to have dumped all of this on you,” I said to her.
I woke up with a poke in the shoulder from WonderWife™. “It’s five after 7,” she said. “The kids are awake. Time to get up.”
I pulled myself out of bed, thankful to be home with my wife by my side. I gave her a hug and told her she was never allowed to leave me.
Normally my dreams fade quickly, but this one stayed with me through my morning routine. It didn't take me long to realize that this was not a dream about WonderWife™, it was a stress dream. Sadly, I am no stranger to stress dreams. In them, something bad always happens—ranging from benign things such as missing a flight to tragedies like a loved one dying. WonderWife™ keeps asking me why I'm always killing her off in my dreams.
It's easy to spot this one as a stress dream because work crept into it—twice. I thought of work immediately after hearing the bad news and later, I called an old colleague for support.
The mind works in mysterious ways and why my stress manifests itself in my dreams is beyond me. Funny thing is that I don't currently feel a great deal of stress in my life. At least no more than usual. But I know that this won't be the last stress dream I have. They will appear sporadically in the middle of the night, haunt my mornings and linger throughout the day until I am through whatever stressful patch I am in.