Yesterday marked 8 weeks since this nightmare began. Last night, tired from little sleep and feeling the crushing weight of the reality of my life, I went to sleep early. I slept long and hard and in my sleep I had a dream.
I was in my mother's bedroom talking to one of my girls. Behind her on the bed was Camille. She was just a little older than she was when she died-- maybe the age she would have been about now. She was beautiful. She was so alive. She was so aware. I couldn't take my eyes off of her.
She was talking but I don't remember what she was saying. In my dream, I knew she had died. My other daughter to whom I was speaking was unaware of her presence. My conversation with the other daughter continued, but I can't tell you which daughter it was or what we talked about because my entire focus was on my sweet, living, beautiful baby girl behind her. How I wanted to go to her- to hold her and squeeze her and feel her wiggle in my arms again. But, even in the dream, I knew I couldn't.
I worried that she would disappear, but then I was told, I am not sure by whom, that she would always be there. She would always be that real, that much a part of our home. We just wouldn't be able to touch her or talk directly with her. But she would be talking, watching, and living in her own way right along with us. It was a powerful feeling.
We were interrupted by a doctor, but not just any doctor. It was the Chief Medical Officer at the hospital where Camille was born and where, 14 months later and one floor higher, she died. In real life, he had come to visit us the Sunday morning before Camille died. I had never met him before, but he knew my father and he was recently made our Stake President (a church leader over about 8-12 congregations).
Back in the dream, Dr./President Jones came in to tell me the autopsy results were something I should see. I followed him into the living room and he showed me Camille's skeleton. He showed me a hole in one of the bones on her leg. (In real life my sister in law Nikki's dad recently found out he has a form of cancer that causes holes in your bones.)
I asked the Dr./Pres. Jones in my dream if that was evidence of cancer. He said it was. He told me she had very early signs of a very aggressive and painful cancer, nothing we would have been able to detect yet, but that would have been fatal. He told me her drowning was really a blessing because it saved her from feeling so much pain.
The next thing I remember was waking to Lauren tugging on my ear and telling me she wanted me to go downstairs with her to turn on Little Bear and give her a "jelly sandwich." (This kid is addicted to Uncrustables).
As soon as I got Lauren set up, I came to write this. It is so fresh in my mind and I don't want to forget it. I know Camille probably didn't have early signs of cancer in real life, but the message of the dream was real. If it hadn't been this, it would have been something else and maybe something more painful.
And though I don't get to see Camille here in our home, lighting up the background to every conversation, I got her message. She is always near -- smiling, talking, watching, living.