I don’t know if I want to remember this dream, but I feel compelled to write it down – so perhaps there is something in it worth remembering. It is the first time that I have dreamed of James in the physical sense. I’ve been wanting to see his face in my dreams so badly. I don’t remember his face clearly, but I remember that there was a baby that I recognized as James, and he had oxygen tubing and tape on his cheeks. It was little baby James – not the big, chunky boy that he became at the end.
We were in “our” house – only, as in the way of dreams – it wasn’t the house we live in now. It was a house that I had never seen before. I was practicing using our shotgun. Someone broke in – or maybe 2 someones, it’s hard to remember. The sequence of events in the dream is hazy, but Jim wound up shooting one of the intruders in the head at point blank range. James had been hurt prior to this, I think. He had been put in a laundry basket. We found the basket, and Jim said, “he’s dead.” I looked at him closely and then pointed to his face. “No. See? He’s breathing just a tiny bit,” I argued.
The dream then transitioned to 2 more people breaking into the house. We were trying to get James to the hospital. One person, we shot. The other person trapped us in a pitch dark room, and we were trying to defend ourselves. I knew that we couldn’t get out, and we were doomed. And then I woke up, physically ill with the violence and sorrow of the dream.
It breaks my heart that this was the first dream that I had of James. Why couldn’t it have been a peaceful dream? Instead, it was rife with violence and symbolic hurts. My brain is trying to make sense of his death, but obviously, I am also trying to make sense of my uncle’s loss.
My mother told me some details about the accident that I will not share here because of their graphic nature. Suffice to say that it was a horrifying wreck. I’ve been consumed over the past 48 hours with the fear that my uncle suffered, that he was scared. I hope not. I hope it was instant, like they told us.
Statements become trite because they are true. Life is short. It can end in a split second. A split second of inattention by a driver, the drift of a truck’s tires across the yellow line, the momentary terror before the darkness. It ended in a flash. 63 years of life over. A grandfather, brother, son, uncle, friend, teacher … gone.
I wish I could say that I seized the day today – that I held my daughters closer to me, that I hugged a stranger, that I paid for someone else’s meal when we went out to dinner. But really – I stayed in bed till past 2pm. My temper was incredibly short. I snapped at my girls. I didn’t make dinner. We ate out instead. My kids probably haven’t had a vegetable in 3 days. They’ve probably watched TV for a cumulative 24 hours. This isn’t the way that I parent normally but right now, it’s enough that they’re fed and safe.
I had a 15 minute breakdown while the girls waited in the car to go to the park. I sat at our kitchen table and just wept and moaned. I didn’t call my grandparents as I intended to do. I didn’t work on the ‘thank you’ video that needs to be done for James’s Cuddle Cot. I ignored the folders that need to be finished for the conference in April.
I could go on and on with the litany of ways that I failed today, but instead, I am going to try and sleep. I am sure it will be unsuccessful, but I have to do something right today. Send me wishes for happy dreams where I hold my son tight and tell him that I love him one more time.