While in England, in high gear with three little ones and their parents, I continued to re-read my blog posts from last year at this time. Each night on my living room mattress I allowed myself a few minutes of quiet time to travel back to those difficult days, hoping in some way to participate again in Nate’s life. Last fall our whole family was pacing together toward the sad conclusion, and reading the details was hard. Nevertheless, going over each date’s entry felt like visiting with him, despite the distressing nature of the posts.
And because he was the last one on my mind as I drifted into sleep, it was inevitable I’d eventually dream about him.
The dream I had last week was emotionally stressful, the kind that caused a pounding heart and made me wonder whether or not it was really happening. In the dream, I was part of a crowd of people milling about in a room full of conversation and laughter. Both of Katy’s parents were there, which made me wish Nate was there, too.
And then suddenly he was!
Busy greeting friends with his familiar handshake, he didn’t see me in the crowd. I frantically pushed my way through the mob to get to him, and when I finally planted myself directly in front of him, he smiled and responded with a hug. It felt warm and familiar, although something strange was also going on. Others in the room seemed to have as much claim on him as I did, to the point that I was bumped to the side and eventually swept up in the crowd while it swirled around him.
Stumbling backwards, I lost sight of Nate and suffered a terrible sense of emptiness while my eyes darted back and forth, craving more contact with him. Eventually I spotted him again, but he was heading for the door, so I ran after him shouting, “Nate! Wait up! Please!”
He turned and smiled at me, not an excited or eager smile but the same peaceful expression he’d shown me before. I ran over and threw my arms around him, holding on with all my strength, determined not to let go this time. As he hugged me back, I felt an intense warmth flow through me, almost like an electric blanket, and was aware it was something unusual, maybe even supernatural.
But then he let go. When I continued to cling tightly, he didn’t re-hug but patted me on the back instead, like a parent pats a child who’s been hurt and is crying. Although he didn’t speak in the dream, somehow I got his clear message, “It’ll be OK. You’ll see.” But just like a wounded child not yet ready to receive comfort, I continued to be upset, breaking into tears.
(… to be continued)
“He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from [her] but has listened to [her] cry for help.” (Psalm 22:24)