The walk was Saturday. It was...well-attended. Over 80 walkers signed up. I'm not sure all of them made it (I know a couple didn't), but most did. The weather looked gloomy and threatened rain, but turned warm and muggy instead. I drove down early with Emma and a couple of her friends so that I'd be there for shirtless team members.
That sounds bad...
|ABOARD is not ABOARD! It's Aboard's Autism Connection of PA|
I was afraid people would get lost, so I sent this out. "The Beach is that way!"
|I have two pics that both ALMOST capture the whole team. I posted the other one on Facebook.|
I talked to Emma that night. She said she had a rough day. I didn't notice it. I was so busy caught up in the organization of it all, handing out shirts and handshakes, that I didn't see if she was visibly upset. But she told me that she'd been sad. She said, "Mommy really loved the Walk and it was hard doing it without her there." And I almost said, "But she was honey, in our hearts," but I know that's not what she meant, and I know it wouldn't have made her feel better, and maybe would have made her feel worse, so I just squeezed her and told her that when I'd seen her she'd looked good and that I was sorry for not noticing and how proud mommy would have been at her and Lily and at all the money we raised for the charity, and if it didn't cheer her, at least it got her thinking about something more positive.
I hosted guests for much of the rest of the weekend, close friends who hadn't yet said goodbye to Leslie or seen the kids and me yet. There were some tears, for sure. Emma seemed a bit out of it, but assured me she was fine.
That night I dreamed of Leslie. It was the first time I'd dreamed of her since she passed. I have been sort of living in fear of dreams. You know how sometimes you have one of those dreams where you're really really angry with your spouse because they did something completely meaningless that only happens in dreams...like...painted the dog or something. Anyway, the emotion is so strong and the feeling so real that you wake and you're still pissed. Or, maybe it's the other way, that you dream something so great that when you wake up you're really sad to learn that the dream wasn't reality.
Ever since her death I've been dreading having dreams about Leslie where she's still alive, and the dream being so real and convincing that I'll wake up and get gut punched by the reality of her passing.
It was a really short dream. I forget all my dreams now, as if I never had them in the first place. I don't remember when that started, maybe in my thirties. When I woke, I knew I'd forget, and I thought about writing it down but didn't (it was like 4:30 in the morning). Leslie was alive. She was healthy and looked beautiful. Her hair was long and thick like it was before chemo. Sidebar: She used to complain about her beautiful hair all the time. It was too thick. It took too long to get ready. It was too hot. You never see hairstyles for women with really thick hair. And on and on. But she knew she had great hair. She was younger...maybe 35. She was happy and smiling and we talked a little about nothing (that's why I decided not to try to write it down). Like she was really alive. Just a married couple chatting about nothing. It was beautiful and fleeting.
I woke up happy, which surprised me. I think maybe even in the dream I realized it was only a dream. So I woke happy, like I'd had a chance to tap into a particularly rich and vivid viewing of Leslie and see her smile again and hear her laugh again. Like somehow this new experience with Leslie was almost like having her back alive again. New words, new smiles, new laughs. And then I got sad because as the dream started to fade away a bit the reality started to seep back in. I went back to sleep but didn't dream about her again.
It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was even sort of...nice. I'm not afraid to dream about Leslie anymore.