Several months ago I had a dream that stuck with me. I enjoy walks/hikes and this is how this dream started off. I was walking along a trail on a beautiful sunny day and remarking to myself how perfect this hike was when I abruptly came upon a cliff. So abruptly that I simply stepped right off it without even seeing it. I landed in a raging river and while sputtering back to the surface I'm thinking to myself "How did I not see it? I don't normally walk off cliffs... this can't be happening." While I'm trying to keep myself afloat and staring at the tall cliff I just walked off, I hear a voice behind me saying "Hey, come, follow me this way". I turn to see someone afloat in a tube in the same raging river but smiling while waving me on, "The end of the river is this way, you'll be OK." Still numb and unable to think, I just start to swim my way along side her and begin to notice that the water doesn't seem as raging and I'm able to swim smoother. Getting over the shock, I look ahead and I see that there are others swimming in the same river towards the river's end, which in the distance looks so much more calmer. My goal becomes, 'get to the end of the river.' As I swim I start to feel stronger and I look back at the cliff I had walked off and to my surprise I see someone walking off it like I did, and some more already in the water behind me. I holler back to them to "Come, this way, you'll be OK!"
As I'm swimming along and gathering with others swimming and floating along the way I notice that there is a couple at the shore edge being helped out of the water. My first thought was "hey, how come they get to get out earlier", but quickly
change my thought to "its better to stay in the river" as I see and hear their cries. Yes, stay in the river and swim to the end, that is best place to be.
I woke up shortly after that. That was where we were in our journey of childhood cancer with our middle child. We had walked off a cliff we didn't see, floundered a bit as we asked "why, why our son, why our son with special needs, why our family, why us, why me." We found our way among others on a similar journey ahead of us that were more than willing to be supportive and encouraging. And yes, the reality of those who left the journey early to start a different journey of loss and grief.
Now we are further down the river. The waters are calmer and the sky sunnier. The river is still going on. How long is it, I don't really know... but I like swimming too and we are together.