We've spent some time here on Smiling Heart talking about optimism and hope for the future, which makes me very glad. Many friends in high school called me 'Pollyanna' for my propensity to be a 'good girl,' and my knack of always (to the chagrin of my oh-so-sophisticated twin), ALWAYS seeing the good in any situation. I could be very annoying that way. I am a hopeless, unapologetic optimist.
Today, though, I was reminded of how very precious, how very fragile our lives really are. The truth is, the future is not guaranteed to any of us.
It's not as if I didn't know that already. I've had several jarring examples of that principle in my own life, as many of us have had. One day, I'll share some of those stories with you. For now, I'll only say this to those of you who have experienced it, too...I know what you go through, and I know about the dreams.
The child in this photo is my darling 4 year old granddaughter, Cecilia Rose (we call her CiCi). You can't see them here, but her eyes are a beautiful clear shade of blue...so blue her daddy calls her 'Blueberry Eyes." She is, of course, the most beautiful little girl in the world...at least to me. But this photo of her is the most precious to me of all the hundreds taken since her birth. It's all innocence. Sweetness. Barbie Dolls and Disney princesses. A little girl in all her pinkest glory. But it's more than that. In this photograph, I can see her dreaming.
She dreams the dream of any little girl...of being 'grown up,' of going on adventures, and of finding her one true love, usually a prince. Personally, I hope she dreams more frequently about the adventures and less about the prince, but I digress. She has the sweet, sweet dreams of youth, undefiled by years of experiences. I love to know she's dreaming these things.
As those years accumulate, her dreams will change. That change is inevitable, and an expected part of the growth process. But when our lives are shaken to the core by devastating, unalterable events, our dreams become achingly, impossibly real. Our entire being longs to return to a time before, when we knew (or so we thought) what to expect...when we knew the sun would rise the next day. When we knew our loved one would come home that night. Our dreams express that longing by creating vivid and intensely real images rising up to both delight us and torment us.
After a sudden loss, each day is a challenge to endure, a struggle just to maintain one's equilibrium, but most of us manage to do it. We have children to tend to, jobs to do, or parents to care for. We get by. Each night, though, brings with it the frightening inability to control our inner environment. We are the benefactors and the victims of our dreams, a fact we don’t often talk about.
As Linda said in her previous post, "Everyone wants to love and be loved...as simple as that."
That desire doesn't end with the passing of a loved one. We still want to know that we're loved. In fact, that desire to know we are, or were, loved permeates our dreams and persists for a very long time. For some, it lasts a lifetime.
From the little girl hoping to find her prince, to the father mourning the loss of his son, to the wife grieving for her lost husband, our dreams say everything we need to know; we all want to love and be loved...as simple as that.
Enya's haunting rendition of the ancient traditional tale,"Marble Halls," expresses the yearning within our dreams for the affirmation of a deep and abiding love...that no matter what material wealth we have, no matter what status in life we attain, we all need to know that we are still loved;
"...but I also dreamt,
which pleased me most,
that you loved me still the same...
That you loved me,
You loved me,
Still the same...
That you loved me
You loved me,
Still the same."
This post is dedicated to those who have suffered the sudden loss of a loved one.