“I had too much to dream last night ~ too much to dream. I’m not ready to face the light ~ I had too much to dream last night.”
I’ve always thought that ‘The Electric Prunes’ is a strange name for a band, or just about anything else, for that matter. Still, they did have this wonderful song way back in the day, that perfectly describes my feelings when I woke up this morning.
That’s how I started this post over two months ago, back on December 6 ~ the day after I had a really remarkable dream. I’ve been staring at it almost daily since that time, but I just couldn’t seem to make myself move beyond those first two sentences. The thing is, this is about a dream that I had that was both upsetting and uplifting. In the end, to me at least, uplifting best describes it, but I wondered how and if I could write about it in such a way as to convey that feeling. There are those who will say that this dream was just the result of an over-active imagination of a sad, pathetic and distraught woman clinging to the memory of her amazing children so tragically lost to her in this life. There are those who will say, “Well, she’s finally gone over the edge.” But, there are those who will understand and believe that this experience was real in every way. You see, I’m pretty sure that we have an everlasting connection to our loved ones both in this life and beyond. I’ve had many experiences since the loss of my children that more than confirm that belief for me. This was just one of those … So, here goes ~
Have you ever had a dream that was so real, so vivid, so overwhelming, that you really weren’t ready to face the light the next morning … a dream in which you could talk, taste, feel everything and everyone around you … a dream that filled you with every emotion you can imagine ~ fear, joy, sadness, love, hate. That was the dream I had several months ago, and it is still as real to me this moment as it was when I was wrapped in it. This is what happened in my dream.
I was in my car on a beautiful, sunny summer day in Atlanta. I was driving down Mt. Vernon road heading home from my office. It was early afternoon. Suddenly, I saw Jeffrey crawling along the side of the road. I stopped the car and seemed to fly out of it to his side. He had all of his beautiful red hair, and he looked healthy, except that he had been viciously attacked by someone or something, and he was trying desperately to get home. I was terrified and horrified, but he just got into the car and smiled. He was missing both feet. His left arm was gone from his elbow down. Sick with fear, I looked at him and said, “Oh Jeffrey, what happened.” With those amazing aquamarine eyes and a smile on his face, he said, “I was attacked, Mom, but don’t worry. I’m okay.” We drove a while, and it seemed as though we were on a country road somewhere. The colors were so bright … the blue of the sky that matched Jeffrey’s blue polo shirt, the green of the grass and the trees, the bright yellow sun shining on the blacktop of the road. I remember thinking that this was an odd route to get to the hospital and that I had to hurry to get him there, yet somehow I was confident that I was going the right way. Sure enough, in a matter of seconds, we found ourselves in the Emergency Room at Emory Hospital. Jeffrey was on a table and several Doctors were treating him ~ cleaning him up and stitching his wounds. One of the Doctors looked at me and said, “Okay, Mrs. Horne. We’ve done all that we can do for him. You can take him home now.” I said, “But, Doctor, he has no feet, and he has no arm” to which the Doctor replied, “I know, and I’m sorry, but there’s nothing else we can do.”
Jeffrey, hopped down off the table and, though he had no feet, walked with me to the car. He was walking slightly in front of me, so it was easy to see that he had on flip-flops. He had no feet, but he had on his favorite flip-flops. He turned to me and said, “Hurry up, Mom. We have to meet my friends at the California Pizza Kitchen.” He was walking quickly across the bridge to the hospital parking lot, and I was thinking “how can he walk? He has no feet, and he has on flip-flops.” It just didn’t seem to bother him at all.
When we arrived at the California Pizza Kitchen, it was crowded with his friends. I knew some of them, but others, I didn’t. I sat down with a group of boys from Jeff’s and Brian’s high school. One of them asked, “Mrs. Horne, where’s Brian?” Before I could answer, Jeff said, “Oh you know how Brian is ~ he’s everywhere!” Jeffrey was talking and laughing and going from table to table to visit with his friends. Then he came over to the table where I was sitting and took a seat. His friends were kidding him about the Jeff Gordon NASCAR cap he was wearing. The pizza came and everyone was eating, but I felt overwhelmed with a great sadness. It was a sadness mixed with fear and sympathy/empathy for my child. I wondered how he felt being with his friends when he had no feet and only one arm. I wondered how he was feeling inside, but he just kept talking and enjoying himself. I found myself looking down at the floor. I remember thinking how hard it was to look at Jeffrey, and I wondered, again, if his friends felt that way. Suddenly, Jeffrey turned to me and said, “It’s okay, Mom. You don’t have to be afraid to look at me. I’m alright, and I’m having the time of my life!!!” I remember looking up to see him standing beside my chair. His feet and his arm were no longer gone. His full head of gorgeous red hair (pre-buzz) seemed to glow. He was tall and strong and whole and well and smiling brilliantly at me.
I woke up with a start to a voice saying “It’s time to wake up now.” I had fallen asleep in my recliner in the den in front of the television. The sun was just coming up. I looked around the darkened room to see who was telling me to wake up. There was no one there. Mr. Horne was snoring away in the master bedroom, and Camilla (Jeff’s English Bulldog) and Sally (Brian’s little Westie) were both sound asleep. Still, I know that I heard that voice, distinctly and clearly. It was not a part of the dream. You see, it, like the dream, was real. All morning, I thought about “the dream” and how truly amazing it was in every way. I thought about how wonderful it was to share that time with Jeffrey even though, in my “dream”, he was terribly injured. And I thought about how, when he was so ill with Leukemia, he behaved much like he did in my “dream”. In spite of the horror, he managed to have “the time of his life” those last few months.
Here’s the thing … in this life, Jeffrey was, indeed, attacked by a monster called Leukemia, and it robbed him of his health and his very life. But he never let it get him down. He never gave up, and he continued to live life to the fullest until the day he died. His strength, courage, spirit, good humor and faith inspire me to continue to wage war on this monster called Leukemia. Leukemia was the enemy of both Jeffrey and Brian. Now it is mine, and like Jeffrey, I will never give up in the fight ~ not until I draw my last breath. Both of our boys handed me a torch, and I want to use it to light yours. To make Leukemia YOUR enemy, too.
Will you join me in the fight for a cure for Leukemia? There are nearly 1 million living with Leukemia and blood cancers today, and every four minutes of every day there’s a new diagnosis. There are no known causes for Leukemia or known ways to prevent it. That’s why research is so critical. Jeffrey’s Voice funds research that will lead to a cure, and that is our only mission. Together, we can win this fight.
Together, we can find a cure for Leukemia and Blood Cancers. Will you help??? Please share these stories, and help us reach the day when no more are lost, when all remissions are permanent, and when finally there is a cure for all.