Was your husband a believer?
I believe this dream is showing you spiritual insight on your husband. Sounds as though since he has passed he is going to be receiving a judgment based on how he lived his life. Have you been recently thinking about your husband? Sometimes deceased loved ones can also be symbolic of parts of one's life or what they represent to you personally.
It is possible, as Mrs. Sandman suggests, that your husband's upcoming court appearance is his Judgment Day. But how long ago did he pass away? Does being very uneasy on the inside but wearing a fake torso of heroic muscles fit with his personality when he was alive? Or could the image of him represent YOU in how you're trying to be strong enough to protect yourself now that you don't have him to protect you anymore? It's like shooting in the dark to interpret your dream unless the interpreter knows more about the circumstances of your relationship and the timing of his passing and your reactions at present.
Thank you, ***** ***** help. It's a tremendous challenge you are facing, and a bigger burden than you can expect to bear. The image of your husband may well represent the muscular armor-front he put up himself as he stayed with the kind of service he was used to. But it also seems to represent an inappropriately muscular-armor you are trying to show on your own front-to-the-children, as you try to "soldier on," as he might wish that you would do.
Could it be that the "court appearance" that you sense in your dream is the "court" of public and/or family opinion (especially if you still move in military family- and friend-circles) you are facing on your inner stage?
My wife's father died suddenly of a heart attack when her sister was 13, she was 11 and her brother was 9. Their mother didn't want them to grieve adequately, so they all ended up with grief bottled up inside for at least a decade (when my wife got into therapy, but the others didn't). I suggest that you see a hospice therapist or other grief therapist to talk over what's aching inside of you, and to explore whether some of your children may need their own opportunities to air their feelings so they'll have more support for working their grief through--since adolescence is such an important (and usually untutored) time for developing a personality that can cope with all the emotions. I think your dream image of him as uneasy & falsefront muscular is modeling yourself on a caricature of his military posture.
My family (now disabled wife & disabled daughter) had a hard time with these holidays too--even though my wife is 44 years beyond her first barren griefless Christmas after her father's death. I'm not assuming you've been as antifrief as her mother was--but that when you're dying inside, you need to let someone soothe you, even if it is a professional grief counselor. And it would be a great gift to any of your children to enable them to bond with a teacher, YMCA-coach, counselor, "big brother" etc. who could show them a softer side of masculine caring. For in human tribal societies we all have many fathers and mothers, and it's through the mixture of different fathers for different times and purposes that we incorporate all the wealth and wisdom that is father and is mother.
Please respond more so I can offer more, since you deserve it.
Luckily I'm still up, since I was planning to write to a former student assistant with Fibromyalgia when I opened up JustAnswer over 2 hours ago.
I'd say that an indirect approach of visibly going to some grief counseling yourself. And fostering bonding with good-parent substitutes wherever possible. Avoid doing it overtly though, because that could stimulate rebellion esp in boys. They may ALSO be trying to "soldier on" in order to make their internalized father proud of them. I recently heard from a teenager at my YMCA how proud he was to be in a ROTC group that was called out to rescue some lost hikers. Perhaps one of your husband's coworkers from the Fire Dept. (who doesn't have a son) might take one of your sons to a game or performance (racecars truck-pull etc) that they would both like. A boy or girl with good intuition might seize on a chance to bond with a mentor in any arena--an adolescent's unconscious need for his/her "unlived life with father" (and/or even with a second mother) could lead to attachments where grief doesn't come out directly, but love is felt.
My father was way too narrow in what he wanted from a son, and an unapproachable dictator. So I bonded with my Geometry teacher who took a small group of bright boys on outdoors trips and introduced music and beatnik poetry. 20 years later I took my own college and later high school students on outdoors adventure hikes. The key factor is that the mentor likes and believes in the kid(s) he/she shepherds.