The night time is hard.
The daylight fades and things become hidden in darkness.
Not quite as real, especially to little ones.
Carys has been pretending that Chad is just at work for a little over a week now.
Usually at dinner time, her fantasy begins.
When the girls are sleeping and I”m all alone in this quiet house, it hits me hard too.
Last night, Cailyn woke up sobbing.
She was crying so hard that she couldn’t catch her breath.
By the time I calmed her weeping down enough to understand her frantic language, I knew what had happened to my sweet girl.
Cailyn had a dream about Chad last night.
A very vivid, very real dream.
If you believe in seeing angels or our loved ones reaching out to us after they’ve gone to Heaven, then maybe you’ll view this experience the same way as I do.
If you don’t believe in that, then maybe you’ll think it’s just my daughter’s overactive imagination playing tricks on her.
She says she woke up and looked around, and noticed a man standing in her doorway.
She looked at him for a while.
He didn’t move.
He didn’t talk.
He just stood there, observing.
She said she knew it was Chad – and she knew he wasn’t supposed to be there.
“He is ‘upposed to be in Heaven. Why was he in my room?”
It confused her.
It shocked her.
And it scared her, immensely.
She ended up in my bed with me last night, talking and hugging.
I assured her that, if it was Daddy, he was just saying hello.
And he would never scare her. He wouldn’t mean to, at least.
She was adamant that it was Chad.
Today, we talked about it some more.
I was hoping she could tell me more once she had calmed down.
But she had no new information.
The story she told me was exactly the same as it was last night.
The thing that struck me most about her story was that Chad used to do that; stand in the girls doorways at night and watch them sleep for a few minutes. He started doing that when they were babies; checking in to make sure they didn’t need a blanket or that they weren’t half-hanging off the bed, in danger of falling to the floor. Carys, bless her heart, fell out of bed frequently for a while when she was about three years old. It just became his habit to check on them.
As his disease progressed, he still checked in on them although it wasn’t every night.
Sometimes, he would sit on the edge of their beds and rest his hand on their leg or their back.
Sometimes he would just sit on their beds, trying to say things to them, to tell them how much he loved them.
When it became harder for him because he couldn’t stand very long on his right leg, he would stand in the doorway to brace himself in case he fell.
Cailyn didn’t know that he used to that.
I never told her.
I never told Carys, either.
The fact that she saw him standing there, which was so common for him to do, made me feel comforted.
She was scared. But I was not. I am not.
She asked me what to do if it happened again tonight, and I simply told her to say hello to him.
And if she couldn’t get the words out, to call me. I would help her through it.
I’m hoping she doesn’t get scared again, but I can definitely understand why she would be frightened.
I spoke with the counselor about Carys’ current situation with pretending that Chad is at work.
We’re going to keep an eye over it over the next few weeks and see what happens.
Carys feels comforted thinking that Chad is somewhere else other than where he is; which I can understand.
We just don’t want her to develop an alternate reality.
So, I talk her through it when she brings it up.
Yesterday, she wanted to pretend he was in an accident and in the hospital.
“His truck was waaaaay broken, Mommy. He can’t drive it anymore.”
I let her lead the conversation.
And I, gently, reassured her that Daddy was not at the hospital and he was not in a wreck.
He was dead. He was not coming home.
And she does not like that word; dead.
I am very careful not to say anything other than that particular word, even though it’s hard to say and, I’m sure, hard for her to hear. She has to hear it. Unfortunately.
She tries to use other words to describe where Chad is: gone, in Heaven, not here, in the better place, sleeping good.
She will, sometimes, say it. But she tries not to.
She is doing extremely well in school.
She is making great grades.
She’s sleeping well, eating well.
She just misses her Dad.
And I completely understand.
We all do.