I have always kept a dream journal.
When I was 16 years old, I had a very vivid dream about my deceased grandfather. He had recently passed away and in the dream I realized he was buried in the back of our home and with a big, black umbrella. For a young 16 year old girl, I wanted to discover what the umbrella represented. A close friend of our family was a psychiatrist and he suggested that I keep a dream diary. He said it would help me ‘unlock’ my fears, challenges, hopes and dreams. Each night I kept a notebook near my bed and over a period of time, I was able to wake up, remember the dream and jot down a few words so that in the morning I could recollect the dream in its entirety. It took many years of practice, but at one time, I was able to recollect about a dozen dreams a night.
After David’s death, I began to have dreams of David at various stages in his life. The first and most vivid dream, was 2 weeks after his death while we were away celebrating Sarah’s 11th birthday in London. We had been contemplating a move there for a job opportunity for Joe and for us to get away from the acute painful reminders, living in a small town. This one night, I woke up suddenly from a very vivid dream and I realized I had an epiphany. I dreamt David called me on the telephone. His voice was urgent and he had an important message to convey to me. I interrupted him several times asking how he was, asking if he was well, that I missed and loved him. He again, interrupted my conversation and said, “Mom I have a very important message to tell you”. I paused and listened. He continued, “Mom… Sarah is going to be OK”. He hung up the phone. The dream was over. I woke up my husband and cried. I was convinced that David had conveyed his last message to me. His relationship with Sarah was very close although they were 6 years apart in age. To Sarah, a precocious 10 year old, David was her hero and best friend. I was very concerned for Sarah after David’s death. How was she going to adjust to being an only child? How would she adjust to a new school, mid-year, and in a new country? Would she be able to make new friends easily, considering the recent loss of her brother or would she be a recluse? These were all issues that plagued me. But in that instant, hearing David’s words in my dream, I knew Sarah would be OK.
Fast forward 16 years, Sarah has grown into an incredible, responsible, humorous, loving young woman who has integrated David’s wit, cautious, conservative nature into her own. The void of losing her brother, is immense. I have no doubt she ponders what her life would be if he survived (I do too). The fact is though, David was right, Sarah is OK—better than OK.