My dream faded away, as I woke up. I heard Lillian’s voice getting louder and louder in the background.
“Mommy?” She said again, and I opened my eyes. My beautiful little girl was standing next to my bed with her favorite bunny.
My heart melted, and I reached my arms up, as she climbed into the bed next to us. I snuggled into her, smelling her and feeling so especially grateful to have her right now. I looked over at the clock and saw that it was only 6 a.m. She never gets up this early, but I knew she must not be able to sleep very well either.
“Mommy, I miss Joey so much,” she said against the darkness. The morning sun had not begun to rise yet to welcome the new day.
“I know sweet girl. I do too.” It was so hard to explain death to a seven-year-old.
“Daddy says that all I have to do is think of him or pray for him, and he will come to me,” she said, and I could hear it in her voice that this made her feel better, so I didn’t dare question it.
“Yes baby, Daddy’s right. Joey will always be with you and he is always going to be right here, watching you grow,” I responded, trying to convince myself the same. She grabbed my hand to hold it and heard her begin to cry.
“I’m just so sad Mommy. I didn’t get to hold him or show him all my toys,” she said through her tears, and it felt like the pieces to my broken heart just got stomped on. I didn’t know what to say or do and fought my tears.
“No, you didn’t, but he can see all of your toys sweetie, even if you can’t see him.” Jason’s voice broke in behind us and saved me once again.
Lillian climbed over me and snuggled with her daddy. I didn’t blame her. Jason’s strong arms felt safe and secure during this horrible time. Within minutes she fell asleep right in our bed and for the next five months, that is where she slept. She was afraid to be alone and even more scared one of us would die too.
“How did I get so lucky to find you Jason?” I whispered.
“Luck is not the word to describe us darling. Fate is. Did you forget already?” He turned to look over his shoulder at me, smiling.
“Never,” I replied.
He turned onto his back, so he could hold both of us and he whispered, “my wild Irish rose.” I felt butterflies in the pit of my stomach, which was a familiar feeling, since the day I met him. The love we had felt new every single day. I sat up and looked down at him, kissing him. I stared deeper at his face, etched with all of our memories together.
I thought about the dream I just had of my first day of college, which was one of my favorite days in Boston. There were also good memories there, with Jason, in the city we love. When we first moved to Connecticut, we loved to sit and recall the beautiful moments of our time there. I realized it had been so long since I thought about all those wonderful experiences in Boston. Jason’s words from earlier that night came to me again: Let go, Lindsay. Let the memories come. My first day of college was a nice place to start, but there was a lot of about Boston that I pushed myself to forget, both good and bad. I breathed in a long deep breath and let it out slowly.
In the stillness of the morning, more scenes of Boston started to come. I thought about all the friends I have there, that got me through college. The earliest memories of my love story with Jason and the challenge of being away from my mom with severe PTSD. What I experienced in the past couple weeks with re-emerging symptoms and the flashbacks, were terrorizing, but perhaps it was time to start facing it all.
There was so much I needed to remember and while I was not ready to face that one terrible night yet, I wanted to recall my college days. Joseph’s death was the beginning of reaching into my soul to see the past thirteen years differently. Within my grief, the light was continuing to grow brighter with these realizations. My journey back to joy was unfolding and while I fully didn’t know how to heal yet, I wanted to try. It wasn’t going to be easy, with a lot of ups and downs and so I began, starting with Boston.
“I’m ready now,” I whispered out-loud.
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