|This is not Daniel. So far as I know, he never tried a cigarette or a lite beer. Someone sent me this picture and it looks so similar to him at five or six except that Daniel had lighter eyes. I decided to include it.|
Last night around three thirty in the morning, I had a strange dream. We were all living in the blue house we had owned when the older children were small. Daniel had never lived there. He had been born in the next much larger home we moved to after this one. In the dream, I came home in the afternoon from work and could not find Daniel. I quickly tried to call everyone including the older children who were in college. I was hoping that someone had picked him up to do something, and I had either not known or had forgotten. I had trouble making these calls because I had a new phone and could not get it to respond the way I wanted, especially in view of the stress of being worried. None of them knew why he would not be at home today. When I called his school they said that he had not reported to school that day. This is also strange because Daniel never attended school. He was homeschooled all of his academic life. I also rarely if ever, worked during the day. I was consumed with worry. I went outside and called for him, as if he had simply been playing outside. I knew something was very wrong, although I still hoped there was some sensible explanation for his absence that I had not considered. In the dream, I believe he was about nine years old. I began to dial the police when I awoke. My heart was pounding and I was in a cold sweat. However, waking from this particular nightmare brought no particular solace. Daniel is still not here with us. Yes, he died suddenly and unexpectedly and was not abducted never to be heard from again. But his beautiful flesh and smile are still not here. He is still absent from Earth in the manner in which we always knew him. I lay awake until four thirty when I decided to start the day.
Perhaps I had this dream because there was an amber alert on my phone yesterday. Perhaps my own psyche is trying to tell me that Daniel's passing from a sudden arrhythmic death is preferable to an unexplained disappearance. Sometimes, I tell myself that in a parallel dimension, there is a Daniel who still lives with us, and is not twelve and a half as he was at his departure from Earth, but who will be twenty years old in May. I just know that I still have empty arms.