Last night I dreamt that it was late evening – totally dark as winter evenings are -- and I was pulling into my parents long driveway. I was surprised to see their Christmas lights -- already up and shining into the night with the same happy familiarity they did during all of my growing up years. Off to the left I thought I caught a glimpse of the Christmas tree glowing through the living-room window. A small spark of excitement struck me as it occurred to me that it might be one of the 16 foot tall ones we had during the years when we were all still living at home. Thinking of what might be inside seemed to immediately transport me there. As I stepped inside the door, I heard familiar Christmas music coming from the record player in “the pit” (as we always called the cozy area with the wood-burning stove and couches just before the kitchen). My parents were there – as strong and happy and able as they’ve ever been. They looked up from whatever they’d been busying with and smiled – ready to welcome me. My younger sister stood in the kitchen. Noticing her, I again had no need to transport myself any physical distance (even one as short as the distance through our entryway, past the pit, and the long dining table to the kitchen). I was simply taken right next to her. We hugged each other tightly and both of us cried and cried. We didn’t need words. We understood each other’s emotions. Here we were. Everything as it ever had been. Every happiest thing still whole and there – none of it faded or part of some distant past. My parents, I knew, were standing behind us – smiling at us and at each other with happiness and some amusement, but mostly joy over their daughter’s reactions. I knew that the minute Megan and I parted, we’d be hugging them and there would be more tears.
And then I woke up.
It’s always interesting to me that dreams illicit real emotion – emotion that doesn’t know to go anywhere just because one has woken to a different reality. Every time I’ve thought of that dream today, I feel that familiar thickness in my throat and I start to cry again.
Only, . . . I can’t explain this perfectly, but it doesn’t just feel like tears of nostalgia – tears of loss over sweet stages now past. It also feels, strangely, like teary impatience. Like anxious expectation of things still to come; of a time when I will finally understand that there never truly were any endings. There were no goodbyes. And that all of this – every good thing and perfect joy is somehow still there. Still real. Still part of me. Still continuing. I think I’m crying over the wait I must still have before I’ll see that nothing is gone at all, and all of this is mine . . . forever.