I don’t know what’s worse, having a nightmare and waking up to find that its true, or having a dream of a wished reality and waking up to find that its not.
I have nightmares of memories that torment me and dreams of a better time; an alternate future where Lilee still exists. I am plagued by what comes when I close my eyes and when I do let exhaustion take over, I wake up often and alone, afraid of going back to sleep. My only reprieve is when I don’t dream at all; those nights when I wake in the morning with only the memory of laying in bed the night before.
But every time I close my eyes there is a revolve of pictures that fill the black and an ebb and flow of words both hopeful and menacing. A mind that moves a million miles a minute. So I stay awake out of fear and sadness in an attempt to control the uncontrollable subconscious.
When I am awake I can control my environment. I can put my self in situations that bring my mind to a happier place, or a place of distraction. But asleep, all bets are off. I go from seeing memories of Lilee running through the backyard or jumping on the trampoline, to watching her have apnea then go limp in my arms.
I have visions of her curled up next to me telling me about whatever is crossing her mind, her eyes wild with excitement, her cheeks and lips rosy with life. Then in a split second it turns to her cold on a bed in a dress, unnaturally stiff with all the colour drained from her. Images I cant erase from my memory, images I’m not sure I would even if I could. It’s a tortured reality I am destined to live. Those things will never be easier to see, they will never have less of an effect on me. I will never stop waking up with a tear soaked pillow but I can only hope that the frequency will adjust with time. That alone is a battle, wishing to stop the images of your child on the last day you saw her, yet being desperate for those images as well. I want to keep seeing her, I want to keep reliving that day. It’s the last day I spent with her. it’s a terrible, scarring day that I wouldn’t give up for anything. It was my right at her mother to be able to see her out of this world. It was the last day she needed me and it will remain with me for the rest of my life, shaping who I will become.
Today is 7 months.
I woke up this morning to Lilee walking in my room, “mom, you awake?” she said in her raspy, high pitched perfect little voice.
“Get your cute butt over here,” I replied, smiling, sitting up in bed.
She ran over to me, pumping her arms emphatically, crawled up onto the basket at the foot of my bed, then flung herself into my arms. We showered each other with kisses and tickles and squeezes. Then she was still, curled up next to me playing with my bracelet, just soaking each other in like we did every morning.
I opened my eyes and realized that my perfect spring morning was a cruel dream and the proverbial rug was ripped out from under me. My heart was re broken, as it often is when my mind runs away with memories and dreams of my sweet little girl.
Days are changing; I’m changing. Yet I feel more and more out of place in this world. But I’ll take it day by day, hoping that tomorrow might be the day I feel like I belong.
With heavy eyes and a heavy heart,