Excerpted from The Unthinkable: Life, Loss and a Mother’s Mission to Ban Illegal Guns, available on Amazon.
Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life without
them is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
— Langston Hughes
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge –
myth is more potent than history – dreams are more
powerful than facts – hope always triumphs over
experience – laughter is the cure for grief – love is
stronger than death.
— Robert Fulghum
Dreams reflect the essence of the innermost thoughts and feelings of the human soul. In some cases they seem to seem to involuntarily express deepened feelings after the death of a loved one. Sigmund Freud wrote, “Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.” Dreams may be vivid while they are occurring but the fact that they can sometimes be remembered in equally minute detail is astounding. Such was the case for David and Alvin who exchanged the following emails about their respective dreams three years after Susie’s death and forwarded them to me. They considered the craziness of their experience, but were intensely moved by what seemed so real.
Dear Alvin: I don’t remember if I told you about this,
but I wanted to write it down. I was at Daniel’s Bar
Mitzvah (tho, this boy didn’t look like Daniel). Lois and I
were sitting a few rows back from the front which had
high-backed seats, so you couldn’t see the backs of
heads. When he was called to the bima, there was a
lot of noise from up front, as if he were looking for
something he had to bring up with him. Finally, he
emerged and went to the bima, with a tray of what
looked like cakes and other desserts. He apologized
for the delay and said it was because his mom couldn’t
find what he needed, or words to that effect. At this very
point, Susie who was sitting in the front row, stood up.
She turned around to face us all, and gave that silent
smile/laugh of hers as if to say, “he’s right!” The look
on her face was so definitely her look. The next minute
she reappeared at the end of the row to the front and
left of where we were sitting. This time she turned to
face me directly, and her full face had a glow around it,
almost a halo effect, different from everyone else. While
looking at me, she mouthed the words, “Are you OK?”
directly to me. I knew at that moment that she was not
really there and that I wasn’t OK because of that, and then
I woke up.
To which Alvin replied:
David: Thanks for telling me. I have been visited
too! I don’t think I’ve shared my dream about
Susie before. I was in my house in my bedroom. My
sister was there and someone else I didn’t know. The
TV was on and reported a story that triggered an event
between Susie and me on our last Mexico vacation and
I started laughing. I hear her laughter coming from the
other side of the bed and of course, I can’t believe it.
I’m shaking. It’s Susie smiling lovingly at me. We
look at each other and I jump on top of her, wrap my
arms around her and kiss her and won’t let go. There’s
no one else in the room. It too, was so real. I wake up in
the middle of the night, realizing it was a dream, but I
still feel it happened. Yes, Susie is always with us, and
forever in our hearts, souls and thoughts.
I recently closed out of my support group after 3
and 1/4 years and told my fellow members what
helped me most was staying here long enough not
only to help myself but my fellow member….and
most importantly…finding a new way to love Susie
that’s more powerful than ever.
Perhaps Alvin and David were visited by Susie. Perhaps not. We have no real way of confirming it. However, what we do know is that their dreams were indicative of the loss, of loving, caring relationships and how that loss has made a lasting impact on their lives not to mention all those lives she touched.