I was debating about whether or not to post this vivid dream I had the other night-it has really troubled me and troubles me still. It makes me think and rethink time, loss, grief, myself and what I am making of my life, Shane, wanting Shane here, and missing Shane, wishing time would stop, wishing I could change it. I decided to post it, because maybe it will help those who have never been through a loss this huge to see what it is like. Maybe it's just because for some reason this has been my hardest year of missing Shane, and I need to get this dream off my chest. Maybe it's because I'm just angry he's gone and I'm venting. Dreams like this don't really help-they just make me more angry. But at least he's still alive-just because I can't feel him, he's not in a physical body here, doesn't mean he doesn't live on in the memories we have, the dreams we dream, and the way we live. He is here, he is alive. Who's to say he doesn't know us, doesn't know that I am married to Cody, attending Cornerstone, that we all miss him? I forget this sometimes. My longing for his physical presence gets in the way of-well-much of my thinking and emotions these days. Anyhow, here's my dream:
I had a dream that I could go back in time and prevent the events of August 17, 2001 completely. I frankly don't remember how it started exactly-the first thing I remember is being in one of the Sunday school classrooms at East Side Baptist Church. The year was 1997 and I was nine years old. Dr. Stevens (one of my college professors) was sitting beside me and some red-headed woman I've never seen in real life was teaching the class. In the midst of a boring lesson, I realized firstly how many unnecessarily big words Sunday School teachers use in first grade Sunday School class, and secondly how it was 1997, four years before Shane was to die, and that I had carried that memory with me through time. I started to cry, and at first I didn't understand why, but I understood as I sat longer at the table that I was frustrated and I didn't want Shane to die. I didn't want to think about it and I didn't want it to be real anymore. Then I realized-if I can talk to Shane or Aunt Dana about what will happen, it might never happen.
I had my doubts about it. For some reason, an inkling of doubt carried me through time, and I thought that time is unchangeable and it was impossible to change the events that were bound to happen in four years. But what if? It was worth a try.
When I was bawling there at the Sunday School table, another question I considered was why no one was comforting me. The whole class was just listening to the boring lecture, and not one person looked up to consider that I might be hurt or sad. I wanted someone to put their arms around me and tell me everything was going to be okay, but no one did. I was all alone in my grief, alone in my imagination of what could be and what has (not) been. Meanwhile, Prof. Stevens shrank into a stone wall outside the building and his eyes turned to stone. As he closed his eyes, he said he could not help and for me to have a good life. He was gone until I would meet him a decade later.
I was climbing up huge stairs, the ones with the scary holes in between each step that I have always despised. It was still the past. I wondered about the implications of my decision to change time, if we would all be the same people if Shane stays alive. I knew in my dream what would happen if Shane passed away, but when I thought about what life would be like if Shane were alive, my mind was blank. I wondered about Shane's organ receivers, and if they would survive if I saved Shane. I guessed that they probably wouldn't, and I was sad for them, but strangely I wasn't that sad. Oddly and painfully enough, One Shane alive while the receivers died was, to me, better than the receivers alive and Shane dead. By far. It sounds horrifying and selfish, but these were the things that I thought about when I climbed the endless set of stairs. Trying to avoid thinking about the scary holes in between each step, I felt like I was going to fall at any moment.
I was hugging little Shane, and he was very young. He was a toddler, about two years old. I had traveled back further through time, to about 1990, and though I should have been one or two years old then, I was still a teenager in my dream. I was very urgently telling him how much I loved him, with all my heart, and how I never ever wanted to let him go. I hugged him until the scene changed again.
I was in the Meanwhile Bar drinking a coffee and feeling completely alone in the world.
I was in a room full of bobbleheads. Bobblehead anything you could ever dream of. Cats. Pigs. Political icons. Movie stars. Myself. You name it. I thought this time change thing was strange and that it would never work. Shane had died once, so how could he live again if he had already died? You can't change time no matter how bad you want it or how hard you try, even if you are in 1997. But I had hope. I was anxious to find Dana and talk to her about what was going to happen in 2001. I walked around the bobblehead store, observing the various kinds of heads and tapped some of them, watching how the heads moved back and forth.
I finally found Dana. I brought her a huge book that I was extremely urgent and excited about, filled with information about what Shane would have been if he had lived. I remember thinking it was accurate inside information that we were lucky to have. She flipped through the pages very carefully, and looked as if she were in deep thought. I told Dana about what would happen on August 17, 2001, and tried to help her see that since it is 1997, we can change what happens. She shook her head, her eyes still fixed on the book about Shane. She didn't speak for a long time, concentrating intently on the information before her. Finally, she said it was too late. If she could go back in time, she would heed my advice and do that very thing, but she couldn't. I asked what she meant. Wasn't it 1997? She closed the book and looked at me. "No. It is 2010."
Then I woke up and didn't realize it was a dream for about ten seconds.