I awoke suddenly again. Trembling, crying, covered in sweat I stared into the a.m. darkness. Nightmares. Nightmares of a loss so close and real that I couldn’t shake the feelings for days.
I hugged my children tighter than my usual grip when the sun came up. And one girl, the one from my dream, wiggled free, giggling when I wouldn’t let go.
Last night around 3 am, the Butterfly (9) stood by the side of my bed with tears in her eyes. “Nightmares,” she whispered. We went downstairs and I snuggled her on the couch as she struggled to tell me details. “There was a lot of dying. You were dying. The cats were dying.”
Eventually, I calmed her down. I assured her we were all fine. It was just a dream. Finally, she drifted off to sleep again.
She hasn’t spoken much about the shooting in Newtown. She knows about her teacher’s child. All she said was “Can I see her?” And later “I’m sorry for her. She must be so sad.”
Weeks have gone by since the tragedy. It’s fading from the news. It’s fading from conversations I overhear around town. It’s fading to the shadows, but the pain remains. And fear lingers.
I try to look ahead to the newness of the year. And most days I have hope.
I try to find a way to not jump out of my skin when I hear a loud noise in a crowd, but I do anyway.
I try not to calculate the safest place to sit in a movie theater, but I find a spot close to the wall, blocked in by people bigger than me. Can I get under the seat if I have to? Where are the exits?
I try not to think about how “easy it would be for someone to walk into this place with a gun” every where I go.
Yet I do.
I long for a different world for my children. And for yours.
That too may be only a dream.