Last night I was telling my husband about how my sleep has lately been troubled with “crazy vivid dreams.”
Of course, Mr. Whiskers had to make fun of me. Evidently all of my dreams are “crazy vivid.” Whatevs.
But take this dream, for example. Thursday night I dreamed that I discovered pictures and video of Hudson being delivered via C-Section when perusing the library on my iPhone. When I discover these pictures I am somehow transported there, to the moments captured by my magical little smart phone. And I am screaming to the nurse and to my doctor that they shouldn’t cut the cord, because Hudson’s heart stops when they cut the cord and I don’t want my daughter to die. The nurse cuts the cord anyway, and then performs half-hearted CPR on Hudson while I yell at her and at one point slap her across the face with my sweat and vomit drenched towel.
You can’t make this stuff up, people.
In my dream I felt so powerless, and I woke up and felt even more powerless. What I wouldn’t give to change the course of events on July 11 that led to my daughter being without oxygen for such an extended period, the damage that eventually took her life.
I had another dream that somehow, we hadn’t made the call to have Hudson taken off life support when her heart stopped on July 14. They were able to revive her, and I was at some sort of woodsy brunch place with my mom and she had Hudson sitting in her lap and I thought, “How did they bring her back? We had her cremated.” But she was there with us, smiling and cooing and more adorable and perfect than I could have imagined.
I love to dream about Hudson, but when I wake up I am heartbroken. These are merely dreams. The reality is painful and irreversible. Our daughter didn’t live, and I can’t do anything to change it.
This powerlessness is awful and also liberating. Nobody can change the past – this is not just an affliction of mine. How many of us have one moment in our lives that we would go back and change if we only had the power? I imagine there are many.
I could spend the rest of my life dwelling in the space of July 11-July 14, wishing I could change these days somehow. Or I can accept that these dates – July 11-14 – happened the way that they happened, and I can accept that these days are the defining days of my existence. And I can make them define my life in the best way possible, not the worst.
I have absolutely no power to change the past. I give up. I have no choice.
But I do have the power to choose how I let the past shape my future.
We all do.