It’s been nearly three years since my oldest daughter, Makenzie died in a car accident. Since then, our family has been on a journey marked by recovery, struggle, joy, sadness, questions and pain. Pain – there’s been plenty of that. But what has been lacking in our movement forward are dreams. In my vulnerability, I pray for dreams about her. Last night, God gave me one. Here’s what I remember:
Our family was at a party – no, a carnival. There were kiddie rides, food booths and street performers and the smell of cotton candy permeated the cool, late afternoon air. In the dream, I knew that she died, that she was allowed a few hours with us and that at the close of the carnival, she would be heading back to heaven. We walked together, once again, as a family. We talked, played some games and ate hotdogs smothered in mustard.
Makenzie’s snorty laugh rang in my ears as she skipped and told jokes with my son Nathan and my younger daughter Maddie. I took her hand and we strolled together past a juggler. She was fascinated by the performer’s finesse. I remember sitting down with her on a bench and asking her questions. “What is heaven like?” “What do you remember at and immediately after the accident?” “Does Jesus play guitar?” (I don’t know why I asked that but I did). She simply smiled and snuggled deep into my chest as she used to.
My last vivid memory of the dream was our family, once again, walking through the carnival toward the exit that led to an open field. Makenzie grabbed Maddie’s hand and the two of them skipped ahead, made a circle and jumped around like two tea-party little girls playing “Ring around the Rosie.”
It was beautiful. It was lovingly simple and complete. Yet, the dream seared. I didn’t want her to go back. I woke up this morning with the feeling of desperation that I haven’t felt since June, July and August of 2009.
So there it is, oh ye interpreters of dreams. A look into my sad madness and a walk through the carnival of my dream.