29 Apr

Have you ever had a dream that you wake from completely devastated, but so happy that you’ve awoken from your worst nightmare? A dream that sits way too close to reality for comfort?

I’ve had a few of them, but three of those dreams stand out profoundly. These are three that I will probably never forget. All of them involve my Oli.

The first one was the recurring dream that I told you about in the very first blog that I wrote for my story. The dream that I was going blind. You can read it HERE. I’ve never had that dream again since Oli was born.

The second dream/nightmare happened after Oli had her first big seizure and we almost lost her. I must have had some kind of post-traumatic stress. I dreamed that she died that afternoon.

A van pulled up to my childhood home with my daughter’s body lying inside it. I met the driver of the van at the end of the driveway. I already knew that she was gone. The driver dipped his head in the sun, casting a dark shadow across his sorrow filled eyes. Then he walked around to the back and opened the hatch. When he turned around again he had a little bundle wrapped in a brown blanket in his arms. I couldn’t see any part of her. Except for her feet. They were lying across his forearm. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from her feet. She was holding them in a certain sweet way, so delicate and petite, crossed at the ankles. He handed her to me and I carried her wrapped in the blanket over to the shade of a tree and laid her quiet body beneath it. And then I just sat there. I sat there staring at her beautiful little feet. My heart broke into a million little pieces. How could she be gone?

I woke up from that dream gasping for breath, feeling the happiness and life being squeezed right out of me. I ran to the other room and sat on Oli’s bed. I sat there and stared at her chest, rising and falling with life. I rubbed her feet beneath the blankets until they wiggled and pulled away from my hand. I sat with her until that image of her lifeless form left my mind. But, it hasn’t left it completely. I still see those little feet lying motionless in the grass. I still vividly remember that dream.

It terrifies me.

The third dream I had last night.

I had a dream that I wasn’t her mother. I was her nanny and I was moving. I was moving very very far away from her and I wasn’t going to be able to see her again. It was so strange because in my dream I was looking at Oli through someone else’s eyes. Not my own. I saw her as other people must see her. She wasn’t my child, but I felt fiercely protective of her and completely torn apart at the thought of not watching her grow up.

She was sitting in a chair as I was saying good bye. Her curly hair was blowing in a breeze coming in through an open window. Her lips quivered in sadness. Her little eyes were filled with tears. She knew I was leaving.

I said, “Oh Oli. How am I ever going to live without you? I don’t want to go away. I want to stay with you forever. How am I going to survive?”

She wrapped her arms around my neck and nuzzled her face into the crook of my collarbone. Just like always. And then we said good bye. I cried and sobbed and screamed her name.

“Oli! Oli! No! Please! I can’t leave her! Don’t make me leave her!” The anguish washed a red tide over my heart and wiped all happiness away.

And then I woke up.

I woke up and my Oli was still sleeping safely in her bed. I hadn’t been taken from her. I was still her mother.

I don’t know what these dreams mean? I don’t know if other moms have these types of nightmares? Are other special needs moms terrified of losing their children? Do we all notice a visible line between life and death and are distinctly aware of keeping our children walking on this side? Do we all hover and protect, trying to keep them from falling off the edge only to have them flail beyond our control off of the cliff in our dreams?
I’ve never had dreams like these that involved my other children. They’ve never died or been taken away from me.

With Oli… I have. I still do.

I’m probably just terrified of losing her. Sometimes her life seems so fragile compared to everyone else’s. She seems so much more breakable. I imagine a lifetime of loving her and laughing with her, but I know that there is no guarantee. There is no guarantee with anyone, but with her it just seems so much more real.

Sometimes I just can’t seem to help being petrified that I’m going to lose her. I don’t want to lose her.


  1. donofalltrades April 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    Dreams sure can be mystifying, can’t they? Strangely, I don’t know that I’ve ever had a dream that included one of my kids, and my oldest is almost 10. I don’t dream that often anymore it seems, and maybe that’s a good thing.

    • mommyhasissues April 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      I don’t know why I dream such horrible things. It doesn’t happen too terribly often. Thankfully.

  2. tric April 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    This is awful. I had a trauma in my life many years ago. In adulthood it haunted me in my nightmares. To this day those nightmares were worse than the original trauma. For me talking about them eventually got rid of them. I might still have one but very occasionally.I really feel for you. Not to be able to look forward to sleep is very difficult. All I can say is it did pass for me, I hope it does for you too.

    • mommyhasissues April 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

      Thank you. I don’t have them very often, but it’s awful when I do.

  3. My Dance in the Rain May 5, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    You are definitely not alone! My nightmares began while I was pregnant with Sophie, I had several of them where she was still born. Had she not been born the day she was she would not have survived, her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck 5 times and it had begun to detach from the placenta a malformation they believe that stemmed from my body trying to miscarry her.

    • mommyhasissues May 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

      Oh my gosh!!! I remember you mentioning that you had dreams about her before she was born. 5 times!!! How terrifying!

  4. Shell May 29, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    Tonight, I had a dream that my boys was riding on a back of a truck to go save a turtle across the street. I said it was a bad idea to go over there. I ran to get them. When I got there, my mom was there too. I saved my two boys but she fell off this big cliff. It appeared out of nowhere. I was screaming for my mother. What does this mean?

    • mommyhasissues May 29, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      I don’t know, but those are the worst dreams. Maybe you’re just afraid of losing your mom.

  5. Jami July 20, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Yes! I have had these terrible nightmares about all three of my children as well. Mainly they occurred just shortly after each one of them was born so I just attributed it to the change in hormone levels (pregnant vs not being pregnant anymore). With my youngest, who has a host of “issues” including congenital brain damage causing severe motor delays, they were the most scary and surreal as his real life was just so tumultuous that these awful dreams hit to close to home. I guess maybe because his little life was so fragile that losing him was a possibility making the nightmares all that more realistic. Luckily now they are few and far between as yours are now. I feel like since my reality was so out of my control in the beginning my subconscious was as well causing these nightmares to occur. Who knows really? All I so know is that they were/are so frightening I couldn’t even explain them well enough when I was awake because it was just too hard. Good luck and I hope we continue with only restful, dreamless sleep or at the very least, happy dreams that wake us feeling hopeful.
    PS- Oli is very lucky to have you as her mother!

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