Sloan has been sending signs lately. His wind chime in the back garden has been rhythmically chiming as if intentional, with little to no breeze. Deers have visited daily on the hillside behind the house, frolicking about as the kids watch from the windows. A robin perched on the fence for quite some time staring at me intently. A rainbow right outside the house on a mostly dry day, as I lay in bed recovering from surgery. And yesterday, even with temps above freezing, snow fell for a brief period of time, quickly blanketing everything before it was gone. All of these things seem mundane and not all that unusual by themselves, but for some reason, when each of them has happened, I’ve felt this overwhelming presence of calm, as if something or someone wiped clean my slate of emotion and anxiety. I knew in each of those moments, Sloan was there.
Then, last night, he appeared in a dream for the first time in years. In the weeks and months just after he died, I used to see him in my dreams often. Usually they were frightening, replaying some form of the trauma of his death, our goodbyes, his sudden absence.
This dream was different.
It was daylight, the sun was creeping in through the half open blinds, leaving beams of light across the bed where I sat. Phoenix and Valorie tinkered with toys near me. Justin brought Sloan into the room and placed him beside my legs. He was exactly as he’d been the day before he died, 7 months old, 4 teeth, dark fuzzy hair, a body far bigger than his age. It struck me because in this dream, his younger sisters were just beside him, at their current ages.
He wore a sweatshirt and leggings that in reality only fit him as a newborn, but somehow in the dream adorned his 7 month old frame. Laying on his tummy, he looked up at me and showed his toothy grin, one eyebrow raised. I picked him up, spun him around, and laid him on the floor. I sat in front of him and began trying to teach him to crawl. The strangeness of this detail is something I was cognitive of as I dreamed it, as he was not only crawling before he died, but he was cruising furniture.
I then woke up. I’d only been asleep an hour, and felt as if I’d slept for days.