I used to wake up remembering having had vivid dreams in color. I can even remember a couple of dreams from my youth. I once had a dream about the cartoon characters from Mad Magazine chasing me around my house. I hid under the kitchen table and I looked over and the red-headed one with freckles was sitting next to me and it scared the bejeebers out of me. That was the only time I wet my bed since before I was two.
I had another dream a number of years ago. Chris, Austin and I were walking along a river and I was holding their hands because it was dark. The next thing I knew, one of them was missing and I couldn’t find him. I can’t remember which. As I’m frantically looking for him, someone grabs my hand and I startle awake. It turns out I had grabbed my own hand.
When Chris disappeared, I stopped remembering my dreams. I’ve only remember two or three since that time. But I’m sure I’ve been having nightmares because I wake up and my bedding is all twisted up and my body, especially my back hurts. Actually hurts.
This is not unexpected, I guess. This has been traumatic for many reasons… Chris being lost, not knowing how he ended up in the river and having no acceptable explanation, believing Chris had been physically hurt in the water because of where he went in, and of course, Chris’s death.
I have now received the autopsy report and I will just say that his beautiful body was broken, most likely I would think, by the concrete aprons at the bottom of the falls. This was not so surprising, I guess, but hard to read.
There was one dream I had recently where I actually laughed. I don’t really remember why, but I do know that laughing now feels to me like a foreign language I’m supposed to learn.<br>But I am sharing this post because of one dram I had in particular, and because Chris documented his daily dreams for quite awhile.
A few mornings ago, I was dreaming that Chris was in a hospital in a coma for some reason. He’d been there about 10 days but I hadn’t visited him and I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t gone to see him. I woke up confused and then remembered Chris wasn’t in the hospital. He had died.<br>If you read my posts, I’m sure it’s quite obvious I am struggling with all of this. And though I am so incredibly sad, I somehow have to hold on to some kind of hope because that’s the only way I can hold on to my loving memories of Chris.
As a pastor you might think I turn to the Bible for comfort. It’s not exactly where I conscientiously turn. I have verses and songs and stories that run through my head. I believe God knows my sorrow and cries with me and with Austin and with all those who grieve this tremendous loss. And I have many around me who share their prayers and where they turn to in Scripture to find comfort.
Right now, where I actively turn is to Chris’s writings. He seems to have a pretty clear-eyed view of the world, the beautiful and the ugly, and there is still so much hope and light in what he writes.
So when I had this last dream, I read through many of Chris’s dreams in his journal. He dreamt about so many of his friends, his family, girls.
Here are a couple of his dreams that are so Chris they make me grin in the little spaces of my heart where there is still some space to do so.
And finally, here is one more, a dream Chris had about heaven.
I don’t know what heaven might be like, really, but I do believe his body has been made whole and that he is frolicking with the saints and resting in Jesus’ loving arms. And somehow I still believe that Jesus holds me in his loving arms, too, and that he’ll have to be holding me for a very long time.