The days since my cathartic emotional outburst last week have been busy and I have logged many Delta SkyMiles, seen dear friends and had many work meetings. It has been days filled with being “on” and placing industry at the forefront as Julia was in the care of my parents in Tallahassee. But nights…the nights are filled with dreams vivid and intense. All of the sorrows and heartfelt hopes locked in the secret room of retrospect animate my slumber and fill it with the deepest desires that I have. Those thoughts that I cannot bring myself to voice in the daylight are brought to life behind fluttering eyelashes and they comfort and console me.
What is it about dreams? They allow us to see things we can view no longer and hear the voices that are sadly quiet. In the past few days I wrestled angels reminiscent of Jacob wresting the Angel in the Book of Genesis; I have time traveled and in traveling to the past I knew how to change the course of what happened in our life. In my dream we were a carefree young family and has blissful ignorance of the fragility of life. As I woke in my hotel room and realized that indeed it was 2014 and not the circa-2012 that I had dreamed about I looked out the window to view the most beautiful heavenly sunrise, soft pink and orange through rippling white clouds. It looked so celestial that I could feel my heart swelling inside of me. I felt as though I was glimpsing Heaven in a way I do not often see. The light was breathtaking to behold from my 10th Floor window and though I could not change where I was waking up, I was content.
Last night I spoke with Wesley in my dreams. Those are the dreams I most ardently wish for; to see Wesley and feel him near me. He called my cell phone and upon my answering Wesley said, “Hello, love.” It was his voice, deep and lilting and I heard it. Heard the cadence and rhythm. We talked of how much we loved each other and I fervently said how much I missed him. I asked Wesley how long he could talk to me and he spoke no more. I looked as the seconds on the phone increased as the phone line appeared active but I could hear him no longer. I helplessly looked at the phone pleading for him to answer, but he could not. Just like in life, he cannot speak to me every time I call his name but the line is open; he can hear me. I have to listen in a different way, and there he will be.
In dreams I’m calm and at peace for the most part. The anxiety that is so a part of my daily life is gone and I’m calm. I’m buoyant in my naivety and even though it is merely in the wee small hours of the morning, I’m centered. I’m reminded of the lilting voice of Cinderella surrounded by helpful avian and rodent companions that “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes When You’re Fast Asleep…” I feel that melody and lyrics are especially apropos as she sings about a grieving heart and the virtue of believing that wishes come true. I think they do. I wish hope against hope for impossible things. I want Wesley to come back through my front door at the end of the work day, I want to see him walking up the sidewalk with his brown corduroy jacket over him arm, briefcase in hand before it rests on the bench in our foyer. I can see it in my minds-eye clearly but it will not happen and in my rational mind I know it. But my heart yearns to find a way to make it so. In dreams Wesley is as real as he ever was and so I look forward and pray for dreams to connect us again, if only for one night.
Today I’m wanting to write about something that I feel is often a dark secret of grief, kept buried deep and not often talked about. Or at least in my case, which my grief. I’m angry and am doubting . Like a dark snake coiled and tense around my hurt heart my resentment and feeling of injustice hisses and strikes at the familiar feelings of hope and joy. Moments of affirmation and gratitude are swatted down by the serpents long tail as it sibilates craftily, “This is unfair, you know? You are not enough for Julia. Do not hear the soft call of calm and grace, because those…those are illusions” I have descended into a relationship with the doubt that permeates too many aspects of my life. In my professional work I force myself to focus and be brave. I smile and say how well Julia and I are doing to colleagues and laugh about Julia’s ambitious Science Fair project plans. All truths and blessings said with a cheerful face. A brave and composed determination well honed over the past year and a half and I’m genuinely content. I’m hungry and aggressive and my mind is in the game professionally and it feels almost normal. But as I drive home I start cracking; the eggshell facade crumbling and when I’m home I’m less than I want to be. I find stress in normalcy and find obligation in folly. I look at little with joy and am snappish and ill tempered. I cry or I yell or I frantically do chores finding busy hands a momentary calm to an internal storm. I fall restless into bed and begin the day again.
Last night I questioned if God is listening to my calls for help. Loudly and tearfully I literally screamed my bilious and ragged uncertainty. In that moment I felt utterly alone and like all I place my faith in was crumbling around me. Like The Wise Builder in the Book of Matthew I have always felt that my faith was built on solid ground and I was wise with foundation firm and deep. To question that my belief in God’s love and care is so unsteadily crafted and that in the times of the winds howling and the rain pelting the windows of my soul, I do not feel his comfort is troubling to me. I have thought of it most of today because my faith is paramount to me and provides much of the comfort I find in my days and years. To know Wesley is at peace and watchful in Heaven is balm to my heart but as I said, my heart currently is occupied by doubting.
Mine is too often a life with all the physical signs of living; breath and pulse, but not a life being lived. And in my existing in half-life, the shadowlands of grief too often place Julia in shade. A girl whose childhood is in peril of losing her father to death and I fear losing the fullness of her mother as well to sorrow. Too long I have let my heart be ruled by sadness and my fear that finding joy is a disservice to the memory of Wesley. I staunchly stand and will the world to not turn, angrily resent the passage of time that relentlessly elapses and fight realities that are hard to face. But the energy I expend in anger and the force it takes to stay stock still is not focused on my daughter. It is not focused on making the existence I have a life. It is not honoring Wesley and that is unacceptable to me. I do not like where I am standing because the sand is too shifting to stand my ground.
Tonight Julia and I are at home. We ordered Papa John’s pizza and are watching “The Magic School Bus” videos on Netflix. We are just being together and enjoying life. Enjoying today. Because today there is joy and life and love. Today Wesley lives through the blonde child with the long lean legs and curious mind. Today the snake around my heart is quiet and still. I pray one day he may be gone forever. For now I take solace in the serpent’s slumber.