I have a recurring dream. It’s the kind that seems so vivid you tell yourself in your dream that it’s only a dream, but then you don’t wake up and you begin to think (in your dream) that it’s real. This is a dream about Jordan and hope and being a dad.
In my dream, it is Jordan’s wedding day and I am not very happy. I grumble that Jordan needs special care. I assume the boy hasn’t thought any of this marriage thing through and that my daughter is going to get hurt. I suspect his motives. Sometimes Jeanette agrees with me. At other times she counsels me to try and let Jordan live her life.
“That’s what we’ve always wanted,” she says.
I can picture the room. It’s darker than I would expect for a wedding reception. People are at tables laughing and carrying on. I overhear some of them.
“She looks so beautiful,” I hear one say.
“I never thought I’d see this day,” another opines.
“Her family is so strong.”
“Every time I think about what she’s been through, I just get so happy that she’s well … and look at her!”
And I do. I look across the room and see her standing arched over a table of doting admirers. Her now-husband is at her side. She is radiant–a commanding presence that fills the room. She’s a grown woman in this dream, but I still see my little girl. I see that wide smile and those brilliant eyes. I can still see her cheekiness mixed in with a newfound maturity. There’s something quite lovely about the way she stands next to her groom. There’s something that gives me comfort … and I tell myself to stop liking it.
Sometimes, in my dream this part mixes up. I remember one night I dreamt that I sat at a table next to my mother. She tells me how proud she is of me and how well my girl turned out. I deflect and ask her if she thinks the groom will be able to provide well for Jordan. I get that smirky look from my mom that tells me I’m being too ornery.
Sometimes, in this part of my dream, I leave the party and walk around in a place I don’t recognize. There are halls and halls and I walk around them by myself admiring artwork and wandering for no good reason. I can still hear the muffled sound of the party. Then Luc is walking with me and we chat about nothing.
What happens next is always the same. I am in the room and the music is going and I ask Jordan to dance. We walk out onto the dance floor and a soulful ballad plays. I say soulful because there’s a hammond organ and a piano playing. Yes. A hammond organ. My dream is very specific.
I take Jordan’s hand and I look across at her. I can tell that she is so happy. I tell her how proud I am of her. She smiles back at me and we dance. Her feet work perfectly. In fact, it is only my feet that get in the way. Jordan dances gracefully as though nothing ever happened to her legs. I tell her I think it’s so hard to believe that she was once so sick. I tell her that all I ever wanted was for her to live a normal life. That’s when she cocks her head, stares me straight in the eyes and says, “my life has been so much better than normal.”
In my dream, my eyes are a little wet when she rests her head on my shoulder the way she did when she was such a little thing. We sway to the music until a hand pats me on the shoulder. It is her groom. He asks if he can take over and we exchange niceties. I walk over to Jeanette and resume dancing with her, staring over at the bride and groom. Jordan looks so peaceful; so ready to start a whole new life.
I love it when I have this dream. I sometimes wish for it when I’m falling asleep. Like every story connected to Jordan, it doesn’t have an end. The first time I remember waking from this dream, I couldn’t get the image of Jordan’s smile out of my head for the entire day. It was a great mental image to carry me along. It was accompanied by a warm sense of peace.
I felt a sliver of that peace today after my visit with her at CHLA. She’s slowly coming back to us. Her conversations are more coherent, though she still drifts off into silence now and again. Her smile is more genuine and less the comic book artifice that made Jeanette and I so uncomfortable days ago. The medical team has warned us to prepare for a long haul. There are no easy answers in sight and we’ve been told to expect that Jordan won’t be going home any time soon. We’ve also been advised to expect more bad days. But today I left the hospital feeling less dark; filled with a subversive little emotion called hope.