Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Denial Ain't Just a River in Egypt

I've had three dreams about my brother since he passed away. 

The first dream some people are trying to take my car.  They are saying if Caleb doesn't show up, they are going to take it away.  Just as they are getting ready to leave, Caleb shows up.  He's smiling.  I say, "Look you guys, he's right there!  See no worries!  I told you he'd be here!"  I woke up.

The next dream I was at a mall, it was empty except for the people I was with.  I don't know who the people were.  At the end of the mall, Caleb came walking around a corner, smiling.  I looked at him stunned.  I knew I should be shocked to see him.  Instantaneously he transformed into someone else.  I knew in my dream I was hallucinating.  I turned to the people I was with and said, "Well, I've had my first hallucination.  I know this is a dream but I actually hallucinated."  I woke up.

The most recent dream, I was in a school auditorium.  I was with my family, like we were waiting for a performance to start.  Caleb showed up smiling and handing each of us a piece of heart shaped chocolate for Valentine's Day.  He had just come from the store where he purchased it.  Then he was sitting next to us and I was looking down the row past my other family at him.  He was just listening to everyone chat as he smiled.  I just stared at him, so happy happy to see him.  I woke up.

I am not thinking about him every second of the day.  I can't, I won't.  I've got stuff to do.  He pops into my thoughts randomly.  I don't always cry when I think about him.  I cried when I saw a friend put a picture of her brother on Facebook as he was celebrating his 30th birthday.  Caleb and this guy hung out when they were kids.  What made me cry was that I would never get to celebrate another one of Caleb's birthdays.  Then I realized, I don't remember the last time I was with Caleb on his birthday.  He didn't want to do anything for his 30th, that bummed out my sister and I, a lot.

I have thought I should write something like my Aunt Rita has been doing.  It's been so wonderful reading her thoughts about Caleb.  Knowing that someone else hasn't stopped thinking about Caleb is comforting.  I have hesitated to write for fear it would be looked at as a way to get attention.  I know the friends and family who know me would say that's ridiculous, but it still crossed my mind.  I haven't wanted to bring anyone else down with my pain and grief.  Everyone is going through rough stuff right now.  But when I've sat down to write, no words have come.  Tonight I feel like my brain is forcing me to write even though my heart doesn't want to, like my brain knows something my heart doesn't.

I had one bad day after I got back from Kansas City, where I couldn't stop crying.  It was strange, I don't recall ever experiencing anything like it.  I just couldn't stop crying.  I wanted to, I wanted to move on, but I literally couldn't stop.  The next day, I was fine.

I have never lost anyone so close to me.  I have never truly experienced the five stages of grief.  Now I can tell you that I have experienced them over and over again.  They come in bursts and each one lasts a different amount of time.  The exception is anger.  I am not angry.  I am not angry at Caleb at all.  And I know it's okay that I'm not angry.  I know he didn't do this to hurt anyone.  I just understand.  I am not saying I know what was in his head at the time he took his life.  I just understand.  He's truly at peace now.  His brain isn't wrestling anymore.  I'm okay with that.  I am disappointed he won't be around for any family gatherings.  I am bummed he won't see Rylee grow up.  I am sad he won't get to meet my new baby.  I am sad because I will never have a picture with both my siblings or my cousins and my siblings at the same time.  I am frustrated for what my parents have had to endure since he left.  I miss him, I love him, but I'm not angry at Caleb.

I have had so many encouraging emails, cards, and conversations come my way.  I always felt like when I said, "So sorry for your loss" to someone when they had lost a loved one, that it was meaningless to them.  Not that they were ungrateful, but how could my pitiful words bring any comfort to them?  I will tell you, now having been on the receiving end of those words, THEY DO MEAN SOMETHING.  THEY DO HELP.  Just reading the comments people have posted on my wall on Facebook was so wonderful.  It really did help!  Thank you!

I just had a conversation with my friend, Shara.  After a little while a thought of mine rose to the service and I realized I was upset about it but hadn't actually said it before.  "God, why would I go through over two years of trying to conceive a baby, for you to bless me with a second pregnancy, and then you take away my brother?"  I felt like I could handle everything but that, I just didn't know it until I was talking to Shara.  I'll sum up what she said to the best of my recollection.  "God knew this was going to happen.  He knew you'd suffer this loss.  He also knew what joy that baby is going to bring when it's born.  Your family needs that joy."  Yea, that covered my heart.  I cried tears of relief.  Okay God, I have faith in your amazing timing.  I have witnessed it and experienced it for as long as I can remember.  I know He has more amazing things to come.

I think a part of what the dreams mean is about the denial stage and how I don't want to leave it.  Yes, I want to move on, I don't want to be sad.  But if you stay in denial, you are telling yourself there's a chance the mess isn't real.  For many days I kept thinking someone was going to call me and tell me it never happened, that Caleb was okay, and this was all a huge mistake.  I know that won't happen, but I think those dreams are my heart's way of saying it didn't happen, ""Look you guys, he's right there!  See no worries!  I told you he'd be here!"

Caleb is not going to show up when I least expect it, well not physically.  He'll keep showing up in my thoughts and dreams.  And then he'll do that less and less.  I won't forget my brother, don't be silly.  I just know that's how life works, I will move on because that's what I'm supposed to do.