I have had a couple of dreams about Alice since her death, but they weren’t the dreams I was hoping to have. You may think me greedy for desiring a specific dream. If it is greedy, apparently I don’t give a hoot, because I continued to hope for a dream where Alice was alive and interacting with me. This hope was all-consuming in the early days of my loss.
Life (rudely) unfolds despite our tragedies, and at times becomes overwhelming. I have found myself busy with the trivial business of “getting by.” I have found myself busy mothering a very special little girl while honoring the memory of my other special girl.
In any event, I stopped praying for The Dream. I stopped dreaming altogether. I supposed you could say that I gave up dreaming. It was not a conscious decision. I didn’t realize that I had abandoned the dream of having The Dream, until this morning.
Last night, I had The Dream. This dream, like most, was unexpected and not at all what I would have predicted, but it did fulfill my wish – and then some.
Grace and I lived in a place I don’t recognize from the real world. Near the sea. Not the sunny, still sea, but the grey, turbulent sea. I can’t recall the details of our life, but we seemed happy there.
A friend sent me on a trip with Grace and Meleva. There was a layover in NYC. The terminal looked more like an old hospital than an airport, I noted in the dream. The flight was delayed several times. I found myself becoming annoyed, so I lay down on the floor to collect myself (as one does).
A man in scrubs approached me and asked me if I was traveling with children. “Yes, one child,” I replied. He flipped through a stack of papers and asked, “But you had two children, yes?”
“Yes,” I said, “but the little one died.”
“Well, we’ve been trying to find you. When we pulled her out of the freezer for testing, she slowly came back to life. I need you to sign these papers and then we will bring her to you.”
I was silent and slack-jawed. Meleva freaked out and asked the man 1,000,000 questions. Grace jumped for joy. My friend was suddenly there, smiling. He helped me with the papers. This all happened simultaneously. Despite my shock at this great news, I noticed that everyone had a different reaction.
I wondered if my friend knew about Alice’s rebirth when he planned the trip, but I never asked him in the dream. I was in shock. I don’t say much when I’m in shock.
And then they brought Alice to me, and it was as if nothing dreadful had ever happened. I loved her, and she loved me, the exact way we loved each other before the tragedy. She then puckered her tiny lips and kissed me. I was peaceful and so very happy.
Suddenly, Alice, Grace, and I were on vacation with my family. (I’m not sure where my friend and Meleva went. I suppose in dream-life I don’t force people to go on vacation with my family.) With great excitement, I told everyone what happened with Alice.
No one seemed to think Alice coming back to life was extraordinary. They were happy to see her, but they did not seem impressed that she had triumphed over death. Someone said, “I think you’ll need to get her speech lessons. She’s clearly delayed.”
I told my relative that speech delay was bound to happen when you’ve been frozen for nearly 5 years, and that, perhaps, she was missing the point. I walked away with Alice and Grace. We laughed and played and enjoyed our miracle while the others complained about the things they complain about every day. We eventually made our way back to our house near the grey, turbulent sea. I was singing.
And then I woke up. More importantly, I woke up happy.
I’ve thought about this dream all day.
I noted the happy home next to turbulent waters. Apparently, they can coexist.
I remembered that once I found my patience during the delays, I was surprised with the greatest gift I could imagine.
I noticed that I did not forget my departed daughter, not even in a filthy, busy airport.
I recalled that in The Dream, I wondered if my friend knew about Alice’s rebirth, and had facilitated the trip to surprise me. I noticed that, in the dream, I did not waste any time looking for the answer. I simply enjoyed the surprise.
I realized that I did not recall the details of my happy dream-life. I can’t recall the details of the house, the name of the town, where I was headed, where I vacationed, or who was there. What I do recall is the love and peace I felt in all of those places. The details don’t matter to peace and love, it seems. Where I vacationed was not important, apparently. That I went on vacation at all, that I chose to spend uninterrupted time with those I love, is what I remembered. I remember how it felt, not what we did.
I remembered that I felt a perfect love in The Dream. My love for her did not die. You see, I feared the love would lessen over time, so it was a relief to find that it didn’t. I knew exactly how to love her when I saw her. And I knew how to love Grace, and I knew how to love my friends, and I even knew how to love the person that was insensitive to my joy.
I noticed that in the dream, I calmly walked away from negativity and toward enjoyment of the miracle.
I recalled that no one at the reunion was as excited about Alice’s rebirth as I was, and that in the dream, this didn’t bother me in the slightest. Their lack of joy did not kill my joy.
I thought about how everyone in the dream had a different visible reaction to Alice’s rebirth. Of course. Everyone had a different visible reaction to her death; why would they not all respond differently to her rebirth? I tend to think that everyone was experiencing all of the emotions that were being individually projected, but that the over-riding emotion was different for each person. If we all share varying amounts of the same emotions, I wondered why we aren’t more compassionate when those around us experience uncomfortable emotions. Or, maybe, I was personally experiencing all the various reactions simultaneously, and my dream-self neatly assigned one emotion to one particular dream-person in order to facilitate understanding. (Thanks!) The shock, the joy, the questioning, were all mine. Perhaps the onslaught of various emotions that occur in the wake of a tragedy are simply too much, therefore, we sort through them one at a time, starting with that day’s over-riding emotion. I say “that day’s” rather than “that year’s” etc, because I know that the over-riding emotion of one day is often not the same as it was the previous day. In any event, I noticed that although the people in the airport reacted differently to the news, no one judged anyone else.
Lastly, I noticed that in the end, I found my way home. I marveled that I sang – without fear – on my way there. Until recently, I did not sing in front of people in real life. I like knowing that I sang freely in The Dream.
Overall, it was a better dream than I could have ever imagined. I hope that I can live my life on Earth as I did in The Dream.
And I hope you will all experience The Dream of your own.
Photo by Jon Armstrong.