In the seven years since Hannah went Home, I can easily count the number of dreams I've had about her on just a few fingers ... and they haven't all been good.
This was a good one.
I'm not going to share a lot of the details, because I really can't. The dream was very clear when I first woke up, but became rather muddled as the day went by. I finally sat down and wrote out a few of the details before it left me completely.
The basic gist of the dream was that after all these years of believing Hannah had died of cancer, we suddenly discovered that she had not actually died. She had been in some sort of terrible car accident and had been critically injured. For the last seven years, she had been living with another family who was providing her with some sort of specialized care.
This family lived locally, so Brad and I raced to their house and miracle of miracles, there she was! She was sitting up in bed and was absolutely radiant. She could not walk, but otherwise seemed completely healthy. We talked for what seemed like hours (though I can't remember a bit of our conversation!) and then it was time for us to go. We hugged her goodbye and I could feel the texture of her long, thick, curly hair in the dream. This was remarkable because the last time I hugged her here on earth she had only a little baby-fine hair growing back after discontinuing her chemotherapy treatments. Then it was time to leave.
But our departure wasn't sad!
It was clear that the couple who was caring for her loved her and were giving her excellent care. They were very warm and welcoming to us and said as we left, "You can come back to see her anytime you want to."
I replied incredulously, "I can come anytime I want? Can I come back tomorrow?"
They laughed and said, "Yes! You can come back tomorrow and the next day and the next day ... Anytime you want!"
Oh, the joy that filled my soul as I began to grasp that I would be able to see Hannah anytime I wanted to! I can't even describe it. It didn't even matter to me that Hannah wasn't coming home with us ... it was enough just to know that I could see her anytime I wanted to.
That joy was still there when I woke up, tempered just a little by the realization that it was just a dream. The very thought of being able to see Hannah anytime I want to causes joy to swell in my chest even as I write this post.
The feeling of awe stuck with me throughout that day. It made me think about what our lives might be like in Heaven, where I finally really will be able to see Hannah anytime I want.
I have another daughter here on earth, who is married and lives in the same town as we do. Since Bethany no longer lives in our home, I don't see her every day, but I literally can see her any time I want. Even if we lived across the country from each other, I could still see her any time I wanted to ... I could hop on a plane and be there in a few hours, or thanks to modern technology, we can FaceTime or Skype.
Maybe that's how it will be in Heaven, too. Hannah will have her own place, and Bethany and her husband will have their own place, and we can all see each other anytime we want. Not that I think we're just going to be sitting around the pool sipping sweet tea together at our respective mansions all the time ... Oh, no. I believe we'll be worshiping, working, and serving God side-by-side with the multitudes.
But ... I also believe I'll be able to see my girls anytime I want. And my joy will indeed be complete.
If you have experienced the loss of a child, and would like to get connected to a faith-based ministry which serves bereaved parents, click here for more information about While We're Waiting.