Death of a Dream

It’s a sad day when you realize that a dream has died.

The heartbreaking day when it finally hits you, like a ton of bricks that literally leaves you breathless, “this is never going to happen, is it?”

It’s a rude awakening at best, and a devastating, grievable loss at worst.

It’s a moment that will leave a mark, that you will never forget, and becomes the partition to every day after. It’s the day you actually feel your heart break, your throat ache, and something deep inside of you dies.

For a moment you will be in denial. Can this really be true? Is it really gone? Is it really not going to happen? It can’t be. Can it? But it’s such a big dream, it’s such a big part of me, it’s an inevitability, just a matter of time until it happens, right? It can’t be gone. It can’t be dead. It was there all bright and shiny and hopeful just moments ago. It was so much a part of me it was almost tangible. And just like that, it’s gone? No. That can’t be possible. It has to take more than this, doesn’t it? It has to be there. But it’s not. Not anymore. Not ever again.

And something inside starts to cry.

When you’re a kid you have all kinds of dreams. There’s a window of time as a child where, with rare exception, there is nothing you can’t dream about having, doing, wanting, or being. The sky is the limit. Any job, possession, lifestyle, or life, is yours to conjure up. It’s an exhilarating prospect that unfortunately as children we don’t realize we have. We tend to realize it too late.

And then as you grow up, you start to realize the limitations that you have; you’re not as athletic as required to become a major league basketball player, or it turns out that you hate math so suddenly physics might not be in your future, or you’re not as balanced as you need to be to become a dancer. They’re hard limitations to have and to an extent there are some that can be overcome. It means putting in serious time, effort, commitment, and hard work, but somehow that is nothing compared to realizing your dream, so you push on.

External circumstances like where you live, or how much money it will cost can definitely factor in, but even then, depending on the circumstance, it doesn’t necessarily mean the dream is done.

As time goes by, and months turn into years, the dreams start to change and evolve. As we grow and learn, about ourselves, and about the world, we chip away at the list and over time new dreams are added, old dreams are taken away, and it gets whittled down from a list of hundreds of dreams, maybe even thousands, to a dozen or so, maybe.

But the core dreams, the life changers, the dreams that we would give anything to have realized; like having a family, owning your own business, moving across the ocean, and having a career that makes you glad to get out of bed every morning, painting a masterpiece, are the dreams that never falter in their want. They sometimes get shelved, or put away for a while, by other things in life that come up, but when you go to find them again, they are there, sitting on the shelf, a little dusty, but they are waiting for you, holding on, and still dreaming to be realized.

We hold onto these dreams with a ferocity that propels us forward that someday, somehow, this dream will come true. We believe it. We feel it. We just know it will happen. It feels as solid as the earth, and just as real. Patience is a major player in this want but no matter what else happens, the dream stays.

The lucky ones eventually get there. The lucky ones eventually realize their dream, and it is truly the best day ever.

But then there are those who will never have their dreams come true. There are those dreamers who will never move past the want into realization. There are those who, no matter how much they believed, and how hard they hoped, will never realize their dream. There are those who will instead of having the best day ever, it will be the worst. They will watch their dream die as if someone they love has just died. They will witness it like a horrible, unspeakable murder right before their eyes. An image they will never be able to unsee, and a feeling of loss that will rip apart their very core. It will feel like an 18-wheeler truck has struck you down, and ran you over.

It is the day the dream died.

And it doesn’t even matter what killed it. All that matters is that it is gone. It is done. It is over. And it’s a loss that will require weeks, maybe months of grieving, it is so great. And maybe you will find another dream to dream but then even if you do it won’t be the same as before. It will never be the same again. Because now you’ve been hurt, now you’ve been scarred, by the loss from before. Now you approach it with caution and fear, now it becomes a dream with a disclaimer. You can dream all you like but that guarantees you nothing. And as long as you live your dreams will be subject to harm and to death.

I always thought I was a dreamer but now I see I’m not.