Before the disease rose from its ancient grave like some sort of zombie, immune to the drugs that doctors had once fought it with, as it shambled toward our unsuspecting towns, determined to catch its prey young.
It’s only 4:30 a.m. This is not my usual time to rise, make coffee, allow the cats back in the house, and check my email. But here I am. Two hours early for the start of the day.
A nightmare woke me up and I couldn’t get back to sleep and now I have far more sympathy for my boys, who come to me sometimes in the dark of night to moan to me about nightmares. “It was so real,” they whisper. “I could feel it happening. I can stay in your bed, right?”
And then they twist the covers around their bodies and they breath in my face and they make the bed too hot, and still they can’t get back to sleep. “I can still feel it happening,” they whisper.
And now I’ve been reminded about that vulnerability we are prone to in our sleep, where anything can happen. My own nightmare will sound familiar. It’s fairly standard for a mom. I was driving, two of my kids were buckled, sleeping, in the back seats, there was a flood, somehow I steered the car toward a pond that had grown in unexpected ways, the car started to float, I started to scream at my boys to wake up, I reached for one boy and felt the sucking sensation of submersion. And the whole time I was thinking that even if I did get the boys out of the car, there was still the swimming to accomplish, since, as happens in dreams, the shore had receded away from our tragedy and left us stranded, me and two weak swimmers.
Oh, remembering now, the whole thing started, the reason we were driving, because someone’s grandmother committed suicide.
You can see, can’t you, why I’m awake?
I can still feel it happening.