Lu and I were together, but I had to go find our friends so I gave her a kiss goodbye and then headed out through the woods toward the water. Soon a vast ocean churned at my feet where the swampy forest met the dark water and far in the distance I could see where I had to go. I dove in and started swimming, trying hard to not think about the alien creatures that swam below and all the water between me and my goal.
Despite the immense distance very soon I was treading water at the base of a gigantic edifice rising up out of the deep water. It was huge and rectangular and it went up and up and up farther than I could see. Carved into the craggy wall was a ladder of sorts and I thought there is no friggin way I am going to be able to climb that with wet bare feet and slippery fingers. Definitely gonna fall. Definitely gonna cut up my hands and feet and probably get hurt. But I latched my hands on anyway and put my feet into the grooves and started up.
Impossibly, easily, within moments I had scaled the huge granite tower and I pulled myself onto the flat square surface at the top. It was a very large space and I could see friends and people I knew lounging and talking in little groups or alone. It seemed like it was thousands of feet tall and off the edge I could see for miles. I could see the forest where I had been with Lu, the path I took through the water to get here. I could see the undulating ocean spread out to the distant horizon and I was shocked by how far up I was and by the immense size of the stone tower I stood upon.
A friend came up to me and said hello and I was happy that I found everyone. This is amazing I said to him and he agreed. But I was unsure what exactly we were all doing there, so I asked him, and even as I phrased the question his inevitable answer popped into my mind.
"Up here?" he asked with a smile. "We're up here so we can jump."
Vertigo hit me in a wave but I stayed on my feet. Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone I knew take a running start and then fling themselves off the top. Even though the fall was long and the water terrifyingly distant below, I knew he wasn't going to die. The jumping was for fun and exhilaration but also because of necessity.
I looked around and saw friends watching me. I took a few steps back then ran forward toward the edge. I pushed off hard with my right foot as my left knee raised and then I was whirling my arms and kicking my feet as I plunged down, down, down towards the murky water below. Even before I hit the surface of the ocean I knew I would be climbing that edifice again, and again jumping off. But first I had to go back and get Lu. She'd want to see everyone that was there up top, but she wasn't going to be happy about how she had to get down. She'd do it though, I knew that. Because that's what you do when this is in your world and everyone's up there and there's no other way back down.
Waking up I wondered if the dream was about our dashed hopes, month after month: no Silas, no new pregnancy, no change from the waiting we have been doing for far far far too long now. Another month, another climb to the top, another plunge into despair.
Or maybe it was broader, about everyday life itself. About surmounting obstacles, finding other people there on their own journeys, and then having to leap again, moving forward, falling fast, despite fear and uncertainty and dark waters below.
But the leap and the plunge were exciting, too. I was terrified but I knew I wasn't going to die or get hurt. Has it reached the point in real life where this pain I feel for losing my son is actually a source of comfort or pleasure? Part of my emotional connection to him is the sickening nausea of his absence. That bottomless-gut sensation on a roller coaster or in turbulence, is that a way I am finding him?
And of course a huge part of it all was the inevitability of the sequence. I had to leave Lu even though I didn't want to, and swim across an ocean that scared the shit out of me. I had to climb the tower even though I didn't think I could actually do it. And once up there to go anywhere else, to get back to her or to move onward, I had to jump. Yet somehow it still seemed like an adventure, like it was something I was doing because I wanted too, even though it was scary every step of the way.
One of the most powerful aspects of the dream, though, was the edifice itself. It did not feel like something that came from my own mind. It was as though my dreaming self had found it, not invented it. And it did not seem to belong to anyone that was up there, either. It felt important, though, like it was a place I needed to know about. That I had to understand why it was there, why people swam out there to climb it only to have to leap from it when it was time to go.
Or maybe, just maybe, that dream was a glimpse into the true journey I am on, and that this world is just the bad dream I have when I rest at night, a nightmare of what should never be.
What are your daily obstacles? How do you surmount them? What are your fears? How do you fight them? How do you connect emotionally with your missing child?