I’m up to my heart strings in the Journal again. A few years ago I had to put it aside, put away my desire to share the writings, the profound experience of childhood cancer and Nicholas’ dying, because I couldn’t move on. I was reliving the suffering of his last year, and helpless to save him.
The dreams have begun again. I dream every night in Technicolor, but mostly nonsense that in the morning I can shake from my brain, and don’t give a second thought. Ahhhh, but after a night with sweet Nicholas my head is a collage of remembering bits of this and that; an abstract Piccasso painting, that leaves my heart aching and my fist wrapped around a wet wad of tissue.
The night before last, the dream was of a frail Nick with a tired smile, and in the morning I sat with my yearning heart, grateful for his bitter sweet visit. But I have not been idle these passing years. I want more sweet than bitter and to no longer be a captive of my grief, so I tell my self — No more dreams of that sick boy.
Last night he kept falling off the horse I had put him on. When the horse jumped a log, and for the sixth or seventh time I watch him fall, and my dreaming self thinks, — that can’t be good for the child.
At some point, I realize I am also riding a horse, and if he were riding with me he would not be crashing to the ground. Maybe this is why he got/has cancer, (the tense a problem because I’m dreaming, but half of me doesn’t realize it) because I’m a bad mother for not taking better care of him.
My dreaming self exclaims – I said I would dream only of a well child!
Suddenly I see him, my mind’s eye a big screen TV and it is full with an image of the back of Nick’s head, with all of his hair, the brown-gold tints glinting with light. His profile hovers above me as he slowly turns. I sense my burden lift, as if a wind is scattering the clouds from a stormy sky – eagerness builds to see his face – and I feel his joy before I see the wide smile.
His beautiful face fills my vision, an endless black behind him, as in a starless night, but he is lit from within, his eyes bright with delight. Long enough he stays this way for my mind to imprint this healthy Nick, like a shutter lens, and then he is gone.
I’m instantly awake and lying in the darkness replaying his expression over and over again, the edges of the picture already fading, but I feel replete, content, as if he has just left my arms from a satisfying hug, a warm blanket after catching a chill.
That same excited face, as in the early spring when the evening light lingered, and I called him in from play, he would beg for just a little more time, and I let him stay outdoors a few minutes longer.
This morning, he could be with me only a second, a different Nick than I remember, with eyes that have seen something I have yet to know, come from some place where the light never ends, to leave with me, the feeling that I was/am the best mother in the whole world.
Dear Susan O,
Without your listening to me, helping me put this into words, I may not have thought to write it. Thankyou.
PS. The fabulous shoes in the Headinmyhands header are Susan O’s. She bought them when the two of us visited Las Vegas in October 2011.