This past Sunday morning I woke up looking for Lydia. When I finally became aware of my surroundings I realized I she came to me in my dream. But, a good dream. One in which I saw her, touched her, told her I loved her and most oddly- to me at least – was how proud I was of her. In fact, I kept repeating my pride over and over again as I showered her cheeks and lips with kisses accompanied by tight hugs.
Lydia was still the same Lydia. She was still special as her drool hit my face and often landed on my shirt. However, I noticed she was a bit bigger in the dream, her height had increased and her face was less little girl like and more mature. After waking up I realized she’d be nine in April so that made sense – if you have to rationalize a dream.
The room in the dream reminded me of a narrow college dorm room and I had her up on a window sill. She was looking down on me with a constant smile and giggle. It was so refreshing to be near her and be able to tell her my feelings. It felt so real.
Behind me and to the left someone was sitting in a chair by a desk. I don’t recall who it was but we were both smiling as I had this opportunity to be with Lydia. I’m not sure what prompted what happened next, but, I asked Lyd if she was tired and she actually verbalized “yes.” Shocked, I looked over at the person at the desk in a chair and commented how I couldn’t believe she actually talked.
I laid Lydia down in the bed right behind me and I put her on her side facing the wall. I stroked her hair, patted her back, adjusted her shirt so it covered the skin on her back and told her I loved her one last time before she drifted off to sleep. I, again, looked over at the person in the chair again as we both were in disbelief she told me she was tired.
With that, I woke up.
I felt so peaceful, relaxed and happy. I think I even woke up with a smile. I was so happy that I actually spent some time with her and was able to touch her and tell her how I felt. It was only my second dream since she died but it was really amazing.
Later, Tom and I were talking about it and I shared it was almost as if she had come to actually visit. He wondered what it meant about me laying her down to sleep and her speaking and actually telling me “yes” when the rest of the “visit” was non-verbal, like she was her entire life.
He thought maybe she was trying to tell me that she really was just tired and couldn’t be here on earth anymore. He suggested, maybe she came to me in a dream to have ME lay her to sleep so I could let go of not being here when she died.
He said “maybe she was telling you it was ok to finally let go.” Thinking of that makes me cry. What he meant is not letting go. How do you really, ever let go of your child that has died? He meant letting go a lot of my guilt and pain I carry. However, that’s a tough one to let go of as well.
I can speculate until the day is long why she was in my dream and what the message is. But, looking back on my week, I think she was trying to offer me comfort. I was smiling with her. Loving her. No tears. No pain. Just love and the idea that I was ok. Truly ok in that moment.
This week as myself and my work team members found out there may be layoffs in our area of expertise, I felt myself wondering what I would do next I was part of this reduction in staff. I lost sleep. Either ate my feelings or hardly ate. It was a roller coaster of thoughts that went through my brain trying to figure out next steps and how I would survive if something happened.
When I told Tom how the women in my department were worried, scared and nervous he said “well, of course, losing your job is the worst thing that can happen to someone.”
As I got into my car to sit with a friend whose husband was in surgery for a broken neck I thought about the statement Tom made. I thought about how wrong he was.
I honestly don’t think Tom was thinking when he said it. But as I drove to the hospital, thankful my friend was not a quadriplegic from the accident, I realized that losing my job was not the worst thing to happen to me. Is it horrible? Scary? Hard? For sure. But not the worst thing.
I’ve lived through and still do the worst thing in the world. Losing your child. I have watched a casket in front of a church knowing my sweet girl lay lifeless inside. I have sat by a casket at graveside knowing she was to be put in the cold, hard ground soon. I now visit a headstone and sob at the thought my daughter is no longer here. I wake everyday and look at her picture and question how I got here. How at 42 years old I already buried a child. I think about how in shock I am with all of that.
THAT is the worst thing in the world.
As I went about my week my friends commented how eerily calm I was about the possibility of being jobless. Maybe I was in shock about that too but I responded with this:
“I’ve been through the worst thing. I have lived and worked hard to have my child with me only to lose her. I wake up everyday and get my kids to school, clean my house, work full-time, I smile, I laugh and yes I cry but I am living and in all accounts doing ok…even after living the worst thing in the world. If I can keep living after that I can and will survive anything. Losing my job is horrific but not the worst thing to happen to me.”
Maybe Lydia came on Sunday morning in my dreams to wrap her arms around me and give me what I needed. The comfort and love of knowing I told her how proud I am of her. That I love her. To feel those days again that were once my everything.
She always seemed to guide me when she was here – to put life in a clear perspective. When I had a shitty day she’d smile and remind me that there are bigger things that matter. When I thought I was struggling she’d get sick and show me that my struggle was minor compared to hers. When she accomplished a milestone after months and even years of trying I saw how I took the small things for granted.
Maybe she was here to do that again. Let me know that I’ve made it through some pretty large hurdles already and the worst thing in the world isn’t getting through a potential job loss. It isn’t making the mistake of putting Grant in kindergarten too soon. Or even Devin at the wrong level of any sport.
My teacher, I guess isn’t here on a daily basis but obviously came to me to guide me this week. I needed to put things in perspective compared to the journey I’ve had already and continue to have with her gone.
I miss her beyond words. I miss holding her hand while I fed her – feeling her rough, dry hands. I miss her sly look she gave out of the corner of her eyes when I annoyed her. I miss seeing her b-line for the bath when she heard the water running. I miss her high pitched “singing” when she was happy. I miss every single bit of her.
I especially miss how she guided me daily and taught me about what was REALLY important. A lifetime in 7 years for sure. I’m not exactly why she came to me in my dream on Sunday. Maybe as Tom said it was to ‘be ok with her gone’, maybe it was to teach me again about perspective, maybe it was so I could actually have a sense of feeling her with me.
Whatever it was…the lesson was learned. The touch was felt. The comfort was there. Through her existence I am stronger and more resilient. And through her loss I continue to find the immense strength I never knew I had. The strength it takes to bury a child and still be ok. I’m glad she was able to remind me of that. Remind me that I can make it through anything, including losing my job…but most of all losing her.