I dreamed of my sweet boy, and for once, it wasn’t a terribly sad dream.
My dream started in space. I was with 2 other people. We were holding hands in a circle, on some grand mission to the stars. Our ship was going to explode at any moment, and we knew it. I sensed the confluence of time. I knew that we were alive, but we were also already dead. I tried to reassure my crewmates of this – that we were ok, because we’d already died. One of the other women was terrified that death was imminent. But I was calm. I knew in my heart that all time is one in the universe and that we’d been born, lived, and died already. I wasn’t scared. I wondered what would happen after death. Would I cease to exist forever? Would I move to some other plane of existence?
And then the ship exploded. My spirit rocketed through the cosmos. It wasn’t my body – only my consciousness – traveling at light speed. And then I opened my eyes, and I was somewhere, in a big house, surrounded by snow covered mountain peaks. The sky was black and lit with jeweled stars. The moon was huge and bathed the mountains in white light. I was alive, but where was I?
In the blink of an eye, it was day, and I was stumbling into a bedroom where my husband slept. I sat beside him on the bed, and he awoke. I looked at the clock; it was 1pm. I leapt from the bed shouting – “The baby hasn’t woken us up.” I felt a sick dread in my heart, a clammy hand squeezing the vital force out of me. I knew that James had died in his sleep, and we had somehow missed it.
We ran to another room, and there he was, sleeping in a bed. It wasn’t a crib or cosleeper. It was an adult sized bed – like he was always in when we stayed in the PICU. We sat with him on the bed, so relieved. He was alive. He was ok.
And then I woke up. There was no moment of realization that it was a dream. There was no split second where I thought it was real, and he was still here with us. I knew from the moment the dream ended and the second before I opened my eyes that he was gone still, that he is gone for all time.
Which is worse? The sweetness of a dream where my son lives – having a moment on waking where I forget that he has died? And then the agony of remembering that he is gone? Or is it better that I just always know?
I have been spiraling into a dark hole for the past few days. Today, I lost my mind with rage. I lashed out terribly at a person that I loved. There is a tight, coiled scream within me that needs to find expression. I am angry. I am so, so angry – full of rage that my son died. My son – that I loved more than words could ever capture – his body rots in the ground behind my house.
Today, I lay on my bed, and I thought of ways to get that scream out – to release the anger in a physical way. It occurred to me that I should cut myself. Nothing major. I am not suicidal. It just seemed fitting, to take a blade and slowly, slowly make small slices in my forearms. It’s as if I believed that the fury, the dark rage, could slowly ooze out of my body through this conduit.
I didn’t do it. I’m far too practical. I know that I have to go to work. I might need to do surgery, which would require me scrubbing my arms with a stiff, bristly brush and sponge. It would be hard to cover self wounds in that situation. It would also not accomplish what I hope it would. I know that. And I know that self destructive behaviors don’t accomplish anything. Even in grief, I remain tethered to earth, to society, to expectations, to responsibilities. As hard as it is, I keep getting up, going to work, doing the things that are expected of me.
I will continue to do these things until hopefully, one day, I can remember my sweet boy and laugh or smile without that horrible, horrible knifing pain in my heart.