Sunday, August 12, 2012


For as long as I can remember, I've always had a lot of control over my dreams. When I was a kid I actually liked going to bed because it felt like I could just watch TV all night long. I would dream about whatever I wanted to and if I ever did have a bad dream, I always easily woke myself up by simply opening my eyes. As I've gotten older, both the frequency of my dreaming and my control over my dreams has decreased, although I think that I probably still retain more than the average person.

This is why it came as a surprise to me that after Ryann died, I didn't dream about her. I assumed that she would fill my dreams. I wanted her to - and also dreaded it. I was desperate to see her, to pretend she was still here, at the same time I knew that it would be excruciating. But I didn't dream about her. I tried to, but I couldn't. I dreamed of all kinds of things, but Ryann never made an appearance. I was so frustrated, so mad. I knew that I still had a perfect memory of her in my mind, but I was afraid that it was fading without ever being fully seen.

About nine months after she died, I finally saw her. I dreamed that I woke up in my bed with Jared beside me. Our room was sunny and cool. The baby monitor was sitting next to me on the bookshelf and I could hear her. She was awake and happy in her crib. Babbling and reading and sounding exactly like she used to after a good night's sleep. Exactly how I had forgotten how she had sounded. I got up and walked down the hallway, listened at her door. I opened her door and saw her room in its perfect, cool, morning light. She was standing in her crib, waiting for me. As soon as she saw me she grinned one of her wide, open-mouthed, gap-toothed grins and started bobbing up and down in anticipation. And I woke up. Still standing in the doorway. Just out of reach.

But it was a good dream. I woke up crying, but happy. I carried her with me all day. I felt as though I really had seen her. It was a reprieve from her absence.

I hoped that the dream would somehow break the dam and I would be able to dream of her regularly from then on. But it didn't. It was another couple months before I had another dream.

This time I dreamt myself back to her funeral. Everything was exactly as it had been at her actual funeral except for instead of her little cherrywood box holding her ashes, there was a tiny open casket with her laying inside. She looked perfect. More perfect than she had actually looked when we saw her at the funeral home. No bruises. Rosy cheeks. Silky hair. And in the middle of the service she opened her eyes and grinned. Again it was that impish wide, toothy grin of hers. She laid there for five minutes or so - us looking at her, her grinning at us. And then she started to get tired. I could feel that she was going. I tried to will her to stay, but her eyes started to flutter. She smiled at me, then closed her eyes. And was gone. And the funeral continued.

Last week I had my third dream. It started out as a dream about my baby cousin, Sierra. She has Down's Syndrome, and in my dream was a sweet beautiful two-year-old. There was a group of people who were trying to kidnap her in order to experiment on her. Jared and I were chasing them and something happened so that I caught up to them far ahead of Jared. I grabbed Sierra and was ready to leave when they showed me they also had Mei, my baby niece. I grabbed her in my other arm. And then they showed me Ryann. They had her. She was happy and healthy and had no idea she was in harms way. And I wanted so badly to grab her and save her, but my arms were already full. In order to save her I would have to give up either Mei or Sierra. And I couldn't. I tried my hardest to smile and say hi to Ryann before they took her. To keep from scaring her. To let her feel safe. And then they took her. And she was gone.

As awful as this most recent dream was, when I felt myself starting to wake up I tried to keep dreaming for as long as possible. Even the glimpse of Ryann being taken from me was better than waking to a world in which she is no longer alive. Eventually I woke up. Crying. And desperately wishing I was still sleeping.

Jared hasn't yet dreamt of Ryann. When he sees me crying after dreaming about her, he comforts me. He understands how hard it is to lose her again. And how wonderful to have seen her. To talk to her.

I assume that the reason it took so long to dream about her and the reason why it happens so rarely is a self-preservation mechanism. I hope that someday my mind trusts me enough to let me dream of her more often. I hope that someday I can not only see her, but hold her. Touch her. And I have to believe that even if that never happens in my dreams, it will happen eventually. And at that point there will be no sadness crashing in to end it all.

The grin that I miss so much.
Ryann running back to me after Children's Story.


  1. This is such a beautiful post and just made me sob for your heartache. *hugs*

  2. I imagined myself and Mara in this post and pretty much lost it. Your strength astounds me and I pray that you hold your sweet girl soon and VERY soon!

  3. Tears fill my eyes as I read about your moments you shared with ryann. Thank you for writing and sharing. You are an amazing person, and an amazing mom. Clifton will be a lucky little guy to have you and Jared as parents. And he will be so happy to meet his big sister someday in Heaven.

  4. Love from far away. Thank you for so bravely sharing your journey.

  5. Thank you for being willing to share such personal feelings. I have always felt "sympathy" for you, but now that I have a son of my own, it may be turning more to "empathy," even though I don't know how you truly feel, obviously. But I can now imagine the things you are feeling, and this post made me cry at the mere thought of experiencing what you are going through. Thanks for letting us go through this journey with you!!

  6. This made me cry...Holding you and Jared up in my prayers!