I went to bed early, because I was trying to get rid of this nasty cold. It took me a while to get to sleep. Then...I had a bad dream.
I was in a car, and I was supposed to be picking up some girls to transport them somewhere. They were much younger than I was...maybe 16. One of them stood outside the car and started saying something about Rick. I got upset and stuck my head out of the car window. "What are you saying?" I asked her.
"You know what I'm saying," she said. "He killed himself because of YOU."
I got very angry in my dream, but really more upset and tearful. "How could you say that?" I looked around for someone who would back me up, who would tell the girl that she was so wrong. No one said anything.
I started crying hysterically and I couldn't stop. Then I woke up in a dream within a dream. I woke up in my old bed in my old bedroom in the house where I grew up. I was still crying about Rick, having just had the dream. But someone had woken me up, because I was crying so hard in my sleep. There was a girl in bed next to me. I think it was...me?
Then I woke up in real life, in my own bed, in my empty house...crying...because a noise downstairs had startled me awake. I stayed in bed a moment, catching my breath from the dream and the crying, contemplating whether or not to go downstairs. I didn't hear another noise, and I wanted to make sure nothing had fallen or broken, so I got up and walked downstairs in the dark.
As I neared the bottom of the stairs, I saw a very bright light in the corner of my living room. A glow. I was scared for a second...then realized it was something electronic, like a screen, glowing in the dark room. I was puzzled.
I walked into the living room and nearer to the light. It was the digital photo frame I had gotten for Rick as a gift. He used to keep it in his office at work. It hadn't been on since Rick's death. The digital photo frame was on an end table, half behind a box of papers, in the corner of my living room. And it was ON. Playing photos of our honeymoon in a slideshow fashion.
I just stood there dumbfounded. I turned my head wildly in every direction as though I was checking the house for Rick. I looked at the photos for a moment in the dark, then I picked up the frame and turned it around to find the on/off switch. It was switched to ON.
I would say that I don't know how this happened, in the middle of my empty house, in the middle of the night, in the middle of my bad dream. But I do know.
Rick always woke me up from bad dreams and held me close. So it makes perfect sense that he was waking me up from my nightmare and trying to comfort me. He was letting me know that he didn't kill himself because of me... He lived as long as he did because of me.