About a week after Julianna died, I saw her in a dream. It wasn’t anything profound or tender….the girl was shopping.
In the dream, we were visiting relatives in South Korea. I was at my aunt’s house and Julianna dropped in. She was seven, maybe eight years old and was dressed in jeans and sneakers. She was clearly busy — she looked stylish, but was ready to move. Sunglasses were perched on top of her head and some cute cross bodies were slung over her left hip. She didn’t say a word, but I understood somehow that she wanted to show me her new bags – weren’t they great ?! She appeared for just a moment and was gone – presumably to do some more shopping.
I have dreamed almost every night since she left us – dreams with all kinds of weird plots and random people – but nothing more with Julianna . And I have wanted it so badly, to see Julianna again in a dream, in a sign., something, (And not a subtle little something, please – something big and undeniable. )
Let’s face it: dreams and signs aren’t enough. I want her. I want Julianna back. I want to kiss her forehead and bring her new toys and see her eyes light up with delight. I want to be astonished by her insight and double over with laughter when she says something outrageous. (Did you know that she once threatened to fire one of her nurses for working on chart notes while “Brave” was on? Watching the movie together was important. Paperwork, not so much. Once again, she was right on.)
It doesn’t seem like too much to ask for, does it? Such a reasonable request, a mother wanting her daughter, but I’m living in a world where nothing makes sense, a world that is less bright and not nearly as fun as the one I inhabited with her. There have been moments of joy (what would I do without Alex?), but always under a heavy blanket of sadness. They say it will be different one day, but right now, it’s hard to even care.
If she were here, she’d give me a good talking-to. She would fix me with those beautiful eyes and say “But Mom! You have to try. You have to be happy!” (And she is the only one who could say those words to me – truly).
I would say, “Yes, but I miss you so much. So, so much…”
She already gave me part of the answer, years before I would need it: I don’t have to worry because God is taking care of her.
So maybe the big sign has already happened. I know she’s OK, and I know I will see her again. With all of my heart and soul and mind, I know this.
But I was right too. I miss her. So, so much.
Nine months today, my sweet child. I will try to be happy — for you and for Alex, I will try.
J: When you die, will I come to get you?
M: I don’t really know how it works, Julianna. But I think you will be the first person I see when I get to heaven. And I’ll be so happy.
J: Do you want me to stand in front of the house, and in front of all the people so you can see me first?
M: Yes. I’ll be so happy to see you.
J: Will you run to me?
M: Yes. And I think you will run to me too.
J: I’ll run fast! (then she shook her head back and forth to show me how fast she will run).
M: Yes, I think you will run so fast.