I had a terrible, confusing dream last night in which I was missing one of my children and forced to live on without them. I cannot shake the horrible feeling that dream left behind--the ghost of my worst fears coming to life in a middle of the night theatrical show for one.
As a result, each of my children have been getting the best of me today. Endless patience. Endless hugs. So much silly staring at them (when they are home or not hiding from me). And of course, I let my teenager borrow my AirPods (she lost hers. and will definitely lose mine.) for her run.
My over-loving is helping shake the empty feeling of the dream from last night, a little bit. It will be days before I feel recovered.
Bad dreams feel like micro-traumas and like their full-size cousin, they leave you changed a little.
Before I go any further into this discussion, I want to let you know that I don't believe dreams are premonitions. I have had dreams that are definitely visitations--like my father and my grandmother coming to me after they had passed. For the most part, I really believe dreams are the way we try to work through things that have been bothering us in our conscious hours. The things we tuck away for so long, in a tiny, cluttered, dark corner of our brain that suddenly burst loose--and demand our attention, despite our best efforts to avoid those things all together.
For me, missing one of my children is a deep, deep fear fueled by very real traumas. My girls were both very early preemies and Lily had a brain tumor. We've had Lily's two shunt failures. And what happened to my brother has rocked my sense of order in the world. I've felt hunted many times in my life--especially when I was pregnant with Chloe and facing preeclampsia again. It's a horrible, real feeling. And in the case of my pregnancy, it was actually what was happening--preeclampsia hunted me and got me. I was sick and my infant daughter was born 9 weeks early.
My deepest fear will always be not having my children close.
This week my social feed has been sprinkled with stories of families I know facing new challenges in their childhood cancer journeys. There has been relapse and disease progression. Families that I know and follow and love--oh, how I truly love these beautiful families who continue to be beautiful even in the face of the ugliness of cancer. It is hard to watch people you love suffer and for me, there is a very immature, dark part of me that is easily led to make their struggle a prediction or a sign of what's to come for me. It is not that I am borrowing trouble; but it is indeed that I am allowing an event unrelated to my own child nurture and grow a latent fear inside my own mind.
And that's where the bad dreams comes in--my brain is desperate to express this fear; but too afraid to do so when I am awake. In fact, this fear is so deep, that I almost did not write this blog today. But, I decided in January this would be an authentic, truthful place for myself--a place where my writing reflected exactly where I was.
So here I am--scared for my friends and scared for my children. But, even more, I am so full of love and gratitude for my children and for our friends. We are so beyond blessed to have so many to love and so many people who love us.
The love is what always makes the bad dreams fade away.