i dreamed that my son died.
we were at youth camp and it was near the beach. i was walking back to the camp from somewhere along a highway and it suddenly hit me that dutch was dead. i didn't see it. i didn't know how exactly. i just knew that he had died. i can't explain the feeling that came over me, but i walked in a daze of sorts back to our house that we share with my in-laws. i determined along the way that i needed a body to mourn; i couldn't grieve without a body. it became essential that i find a body to bring back home with me. through my tears i saw a dead octopus laying on the side of the road and i gently picked it up and carried it, as i would my son's lifeless body, back to the house.
i wanted desperately to find zach and grieve with him, but he was nowhere. i walked in the back door of the house and fell on my knees holding the octopus and crying. i knew how insane it was to substitute this odd creature for my son, but i needed something tangible, something to hold. kari came over and told me over and over 'its okay to grieve'. at some point i decided that my 'son' needed some clothes to wear before he was buried so i went upstairs to his closet to pick something out. i was hit with another wave of complete and utter... how to describe it... desperate sadness. with each little shirt i took down from the hanger, i was hit with memories of my sweet boy and the realization that he was gone. gone. the last thing i remember before i woke up was laying in a heap on the floor of his closet, my heart broken, my mind wondering how this could have happened, and knowing that i would never be the same again.
it was so real that i had a difficult time determining if it was in fact a dream or if i was living the nightmare - even after i awoke. i cried, hard, for most of the night. i couldn't bring myself to close my eyes or go back to sleep; i couldn't go back there. if that was my reality, i didn't want to live.
in the quiet hours spent after waking, amidst sobs, i asked god what this dream meant. it HAD to have meaning, i needed it to have meaning. it did.
he showed me that though i say with my mouth that i have committed my children to him, i had not in my heart released them to his will, regardless of what it may be. i've stood before the church and said with my mouth that i dedicate my children to God, but when it comes down to it, when it REALLY comes down to it; i still hold my children in a very closed hand. he was asking me to open my hand, give them fully and freely to him, trusting that His will is good and perfect even if i can't understand it.
in the months since this dream, i've had to evaluate and re-evaluate if my hand is open or closed. i'd like to say that it's always open, but that would be a lie. i have to choose every morning to open my hand, cherish each and every day with my children, and trust that if this is to be my last day with them that i was blessed to be the protector and mother to these precious souls for as long as i did.