I woke up from the dream with tears in my eyes. How long will this continue? My heart felt as if it were being torn apart, and awakening did nothing to reduce my pain. All I wanted was to get back into the dream. Back into the life. Back to the days, in any way possible… those days where fear was strong, but the brokenness hadn’t yet come.
She was in school, and in foster care, the dark haired, brown eyed, beautiful child I loved since I was told she would be mine. She might have been about five or six years old, and when she first saw me watching her, she didn’t recognize me. It hurt, but she had been young, and I knew it would take time.
Medicated, and calm – and they thought I would fight them on it, but it worked for her, and I was pleased. Why were you taken away, my little one? She was there, in the school, in the gym, on the playground, and I was observing. I was supposed to be there. Nervous. What if she didn’t want me there?
I had always wanted her, this happy, funny, social child. She was the one I had dreamed of since I was a young child. The reason my parents went out and bought me the second cabbage patch kid in the early 80’s, and put the first away for later. I was very specific. She had to be this child. The one with brown eyes, and brown hair – when everyone I knew were partial to blond hair and blue eyes… but not me. This was my dream child.
And then there was her birthday. The pregnancy didn’t last long, and struggled to hold from the beginning. But as had been true before, I dreamed of this child from the moment of conception. Her name? Heaven. Her due date? The same week this child was being born. But she was taken from me, and this child was given to me, and the dreams matched, and the pain eased.
For a short time, that felt long in the dream world, we came to know each other again. This child who wouldn’t go to anyone else for months after she was given to me. We talked, we played, we slid on a large tube slide, and little by little, I healed. As I slept, my daughter was being prepared to return home, but then I woke – and cried, for this baby of mine that I have wanted my entire life, was being torn from me again.
She was happy with me in the dream, but she doesn’t know me now. She has grown from the preschooler I held in my arms, in the arms of another, and she has forgotten me. She wouldn’t know me, and I wouldn’t know how to talk to her, and there is nothing to say she would ever come home again.
So I awaken to a reality that always brings me pain. Crying for a child that I will always love, and never know again. But I do not ask that the dreams be taken from me, for in them is my only release. Though when being awake causes so much pain, and sleeping brings healing that does not hold, I often ask why I must wake up again.
I live through the days, just to get to the nights, when maybe… maybe if I am very lucky, my children will visit.