Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I had a dream about Nicky last night. It was very short. Dad and I were sitting around a kitchen table (I’m not sure where). We were both crying about Nicky being gone. It was like a camera panned around and Nicky was sitting there also. He was also crying. A voice asked Nicky why he was crying and he said “because I had to come back”. That was it. I don’t know if it is my subconscious trying in some small way to make me feel somehow better because Nicky is not here and I know he loves heaven or if it is God speaking to me through dreams (He often spoke to people through dreams). I choose to believe the latter.
Friday, June 20, 2008
2. Andi and Nicky were laying on a bed and Andi obviously could not see Nick or even know he was there she just laid there sobbing and Nicky just kept saying Mom, Mom I’m right here next to you.
3. We were all out in front of our home and we had a basketball net on the street. It seemed very high in the air. Everyone was making shots. Dad and I sat down on lawn chairs to watch. Then Nicky came over and sat on Dad’s lap (not really sat just kind of laid across him with his back against him like he used to, do you remember?) Now this part is sad but, I think important, Dad pushed a little pump that was attached to Nicky and I asked what it was and he said it was to keep his heart pumping. Nicky wasn’t sad he was excited he then said he liked to watch his family play basketball as much as he liked to play. The dream ended amazingly with him shouting GO Cody GO you can do it.
4. (already posted previously)
I am walking with Cody and Alana down a long cobblestone path toward a huge group of people. They are mostly children I only see boys we go into a strange little glass room where you can get things you need. A man gives me a bag of peanuts (the kind you break open). Nicky meets us there. As we leave we enter a place filled with children. It is open (as in outdoors) but there are moving pictures (for lack of a better word) surrounding us of beautiful waterfalls and mountains and oceans and forests and sunsets etc. Alana and I are in awe. I look down and Nicholas is gone. I start calling his name and running frantically searching for him. I find a woman sitting at a tan counter, dressed in tan .I start screaming that I have lost Nicky. I tell her that Nicky has just died and I‘ve lost him once and now that I’ve found him I can’t lose him again. She calms me down and says “maybe you can’t see him right now but no one ever gets lost here.” Then suddenly Nicholas, Cody, Alana and I are walking down another cobblestone path into a beautiful green field. The field is loaded with horses, giraffes and geese. Nicholas has a goose walking next to him stride for stride. We find 2 benches in the field that are set up back to back. Nicholas sits on one and Alana and I sit on the other one with Cody standing in front of us. We are back-to-back with Nicholas. Nick reaches over and grabs a handful of peanuts, as he does the shells fall off automatically. A giraffe bends down and takes the peanuts from Nicky’s hands. We watch in awe. At the end of the path is a very old dirty man and woman watching us. They turn and look down a very run down street which leads to a slum. They talk about how dirty and degenerated it is out there and how they do not want to go back.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Dreams of Nick
In the Hospital
Shortly after his death
We were in a hospital, but it was a private room. Nick was laying on the bed perpendicular to the wall and he had no machines hooked up to him. He was laying there with only a hospital sheet on like he had just recently passed. I walked over to the bed and sat with one leg on the bed and the other on the ground supporting my weight and I just sat there staring at him.
All of a sudden he sat up and smiled his “Nick” smile at me. I shouted out and grabbed him as tight as I could. I pressed his cheek against my chest and stroked the back of his hair. It was very much his hair. It was like straw and thick and lay down perfectly against the back of his head. I laid my face on the top of his head and just held him.
The doctors and nurses started running around grabbing charts and monitors and calling down the hall to others. There was a lot of hustle and bustle as they filled the once emptied room to begin monitoring what was happening.
But I knew all along that it was a dream. I put my hands on the sides of his face and looked into his face and said, “Why can’t this be real?” and again I shouted, “Why can’t this be real?!” Nick just looked at me, smiled, and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “I don’t know.”
All the doctors and nurses stopped what they were doing immediately and filed quietly out of the hospital room. It’s like they were trying to perpetuate the fantasy and as soon as I admitted that I knew it was a dream, they all acted liked forlorn high schoolers who just got sent to the principal’s office because of a prank gone bad.
I sat there holding him and stroking him for about another minute or so before I woke up.
At the house on Washtenaw
Shortly before his birthday in 2008
We were having his birthday party at Juanita and Elio Passaglia’s old house on Washtenaw. We had tons of kids and family over playing in the backyard. I’m not sure what game they were playing, but Nick did not like that the game was not being played fair and he in particular was getting the raw end of the deal. So, I held open the screen to the porch door and said, “Come on in by me and take a break” and ducked his head to walk in under my arm.
I gave him something to eat and he sat down to eat at a table that was set up in the living room like Nana and Papa often did whenever they had Thanksgiving when I was a kid. He sat at the head of the table and began eating something that I had served him – I think it was birthday cake.
I continued to wash the dishes so we would have enough plates and silverware for desert and tried to act casual. I say that because inside I was all flustered and very, very excited to have him near. I knew that it was odd for him to be with me, but I’m not sure I knew he was supposed to be dead. I wanted to run over and crush him with hugs and kisses, but I felt that I had to hold back for some reason. I don’t know if I was afraid to scare him off or what my reasoning was. Maybe it was a lingering memory of the fact that Nick had grown into a stage of disliking hugs and kisses right during the last few months. I usually had to fight him for a goodnight kiss! But for whatever reason, I stayed at the sink.
I asked him, “So, how come you were able to come by today?” and he replied because my father brought me here. “So, I pressed him further and said, “Can you visit more often?” and he shrugged, “If my father lets me.” And that was the end of the conversation.
It seemed funny to me that he kept saying, “my father”. Did he mean Tony or God? Was it a revelation or wishful thinking?
Getting ready for school
Sometime after his birthday
This dream was weird because it seemed like it must have been running already before I fell asleep and I joined in the middle. Apparently, some time right before I joined the “dream-already-in-progress”, Nick had risen from the dead and found his way home. It must have been a weekend because all of the family had collected at the house and, though there was no official party, we were all very happy and talking and laughing and full of joyful disbelief.
When I had finally joined in, it was Monday morning and we were all having a quite unorganized and rushed breakfast together. I was running around trying to get the boys ready for school before Steve Pluth came by to pick them up to drive them. People were everywhere and there was lots of noise in the kitchen of dishes being washed and others finishing up. There were too many bodies for the square footage and everyone seemed to want to be in the front hallway to see Nicky leave for the day! We were laughing and making jokes about what the kids and teachers at school were going to say when they saw him walk into the building.
Then Steve pulled up and honked his horn and I instantly said, “Wait! What if he doesn’t have enough room in the truck for you? He wasn’t expecting you, you know!” Everyone smiled and then told Nick just to run out and see what Steve did. Then we all watched out the window.
Steve stared as wide eyed as he could while he watched Nick walk every single step from the front door to his truck. He stared at him a little more before he look at me and simply said, “What?!” I shrugged my shoulders and said, “He’s back!” Finally a smile crept across Steve’s face and he said, “Oh…OK…I guess, hop in!” And all the kids were laughing and talking and asking Nick a million and one questions as they pulled out the driveway.
Rash before bed
Mid-Late May 2008
The kids were upstairs getting ready for bed and Tony was in the kitchen cleaning up from dinner. I went up to see if they were actually getting dressed or just goofing off and I noticed that Nick had a rash on his elbow and a sore on his stomach. I asked him if he was Ok and if it hurt; he said he didn’t even know it was there until I pointed it out.
I went to the top of the stairs where I could see Tony drying dishes in the kitchen and asked him to come up and have a look at Nick. He came and I asked, “Should I call the doctor or something?” and he said, “yea, sure. Call him in the morning, describe what it is and see if there’s a cream or something that can take it away.” But then I asked, “But will he believe me? Should I tell him it’s for Nick or should I just…I mean, is this real or just the best dream ever?”
Then Tony did a very interesting thing. He stared me right in the eye and looked for a second or two directly at me to make sure that I was looking at him and listening closely. Then he said very emphatically, “This is real. This is what is real.” It was his intensity that struck me and stayed with me until I woke up. It was like nothing else mattered except that I understood what reality was. I needed to know that our family as a complete unit is what’s real and this life we’re living on the outside is the mirage. He was so direct and intense that his voice and expression still effect me today.
At the Cemetery
June 5, 2008
This dream was the most fun for me because it was the most like everyday life and it included all three of the kids.
It was a beautiful, blue skied, 78 degree summer day. We were driving to the house at the cemetery to talk to Jack who owns and maintains Lockport Cemetery. I guess we should have been sad because apparently my father passed away and I was tying up some lose ends about the funeral. Apparently, my mom was mad that I had originally thought that he would be presented without his toupee and she wanted that changed. But it wasn’t until I was only a few feet from the cemetery house that I realized that Jack would have nothing to do with that and that I would need to go to the funeral home instead.
I had already parked, though, by the time I realized that I had to go to a different location. By that time, the boys had already rocketed out of the car and began chasing each other around. I guess Cody poked or hit or tagged Nick and therefore Nick was hot on his trail. They laughed and squealed and zigzagged between the head stones just barely eluding each other’s grasp.
I kept yelling for them to get in the car but they had already run so far I wasn’t sure they could hear me. So, I buckled Selah back up (she unbuckled herself to try to chase the boys) and then backed all the way up the hill with the side door still open. I swung around into the entryway of the south gate of the cemetery and saw that Nick was already high-tailing it back to the car. I guess he had succeeded in tagging Cody and now he was on the run! As he jumped in the car he said, “Cool driving mom!” I guess driving backwards at 10 miles an hour with the side door open seemed sort of “James Bond-ish” and I impressed him.
They both flew into the car with Cody still trying to tag Nick back while Nick yelled, “it doesn’t count we’re in the car” with a smile on his face and teasing in his voice because he knew that would drive Cody nuts! And it did, “yes it does!” he hollered back. “Get your seat belts on! We have to go!” I hollered back at both of them. Nick plopped down in the very back seat with a big smile and Cody slumped into the single seat next to Selah. Then I started driving home – forward, of course!
It was just such a nice dream to watch them running. Even when I was yelling for them to knock it off and get in the car, I wasn’t doing it very emphatically because I enjoyed seeing them run so much. They were giggling and racing and huffing and puffing. I even heard Cody’s high pitched laugh that comes straight from his toes that I don’t hear in real life anymore. I certainly miss the Cody who was of “Nick-n-Cody” as well as I miss Nick. He’s a different kid now – he doesn’t laugh, he gets frustrated and disappointed, acts very immature and angry. He has good days, actually a lot of amazingly good days, but he’s not been himself and I wonder if he ever will be again. I’ll know if it happens though. I’ll know when I hear that real, sincere, uncontrollable laugh that only Nick was able to draw out of him. It was nice to hear it even if it was only a dream.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
As you will come to know, I am the photographer in the family - at least the one who most likes to take pictures. I stopped having studio pictures taken of my children long long ago because my own pictures are not so much a picture as a story of a time and place. Looking at them is like reading a journal and I can remember the day so much better. I remember what prompted me to take the picture, how I set it up, who teased me for taking too long - I can actually hear voices when I look at the picture years later. Each picture has its own temperature and sound. But now that I have so many pictures to look at, I also find I recorded not just bodies growing but personalities emerging. The pictures create patterns and foretell likes and dislikes. Some people are always photographed sitting and observing. Others are constantly in motion and have to be restrained momentarily for the picture. Some are always dress fashionably, others merrrily disheveled. Some always laughing, others smiling politely for the picture. These days I find myself searching for the "sound" of Nicky in his pictures. Surprisingly, I don't hear what I expected - the sound of a happy, active, sports-minded little boy. The sound is softer, gentler somehow. Maybe I'm listening more to him than to the "Nick 'n Cody" combination. I hear his heart more than his actions. I see the twinge of self-conscious impatience in his smile but also the confident, protective big brother. I see a smile that deepens when a family member is in the picture or when the backdrop is a clear blue sky.
But now that you are here I need to record that I also see such love for you, growing and deepening before you were even known. I see Nicky sitting on the grass near a beautiful beach that would beckon any normal little eight-year old. But while the other children romp, Nicky is captivated by a baby girl sitting opposite him. He offers tastes of his snacks - she leans in to accepts them like a little bird and he beams with delight. Months later, another photo of a visit to Aunt Sunny's to meet her new daughter. Cody is holding the baby but Nicky is leaning in, stroking her tiny cheek, beaming again. Other pictures taken by other people begin to capture my attention. Little Celia at church, daughters of other relatives, always creating that unique smile on Nick. Total involvement, complete love.
Then you came. Before you were even here, he waited in eager anticipation. Months before he knew you, he celebrated your birthday. The day you arrived at the airport, I photographed his back while he waited at the gate - hour after hour, not even wanting to leave to get a drink. Then you are there and he has his very own little sister. Tomorrow we celebrate his birthday without him as he celebrated yours without you. But I'll see him there with you, beaming his biggest smile ever - the one no one could capture of him alone - because he never felt like that alone. That smile only burst out when his head touched yours for that last picture. I pray today that that picture always reminds you of the love of a little boy - a love big enough to pull you from the other side of the world to join his family.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
had another dream .It was very short (or what I can remember of it was) Nicky was wearing a football jersey blue with orange numbers (I believe the number was 12) I think it was an Illini jersey just because he was on the field and talking to an injured Illini player who was on a stretcher saying “You’re gonna be OK You did a great job out there!” That was it. He was older though. He looked about 14 or 15 His hair was parted down the middle and it sort of looked like Sunshine’s hair after he cut it in Remember the Titans It was so amazing though it really looked like Nicky would look at that age.
Yesterday, I drove by the apartment where Andi and Tony lived briefly when Nicky was a baby. I was reminded of a story Andi told me about a memorable evening there. She had entered the living room one night to find Tony sitting quietly in the darkened room with Nicky on his lap. The only light came from passing cars approaching the busy intersection nearby. Completely quiet, completely still...little Nicky, head against his daddy's chest, gazing in wonder at the moving lights. Perfect contentment, perfect safety in his father's tender embrace. I remember the love and future promise in Andi's eyes as she told the story. She couldn't have known at the time how much of Nicky's personality was emerging in that little scene. How often he would seek out that same special contentment snuggled up with the father he loved so much. Andi told the story so well I can see them there. It's a picture I will hold in my broken heart when I think of Nicky, still being held tenderly in his Father's protective arms.Jane
Trial by Jury at the Morice's HouseBack when Andi was taking census for the town of Lockport, she had asked Briana and I to stop by one afternoon to keep and eye on the boys. Justin was over and they were out playing. Kayla Neetz was over too, and I was letting Dixie out for potty-time. Then I went around front and asked the boys where the girls went. They had no idea. Apparently they were walking just a few houses away in front of one of Briana's friend's homes around the corner, but since I was never officially informed, and had no way of leaving to look for them, my imagination just ran wild, especially cause I was responsible for Kayla.Then, they come back and the boys were waiting for them. We discussed what should be done and decided on a mock trial in the living room. Kayla was judge, the boys were the jury, but soon had to turn into court officers because Briana would not keep quiet and they found her in contempt and led her to the corner where they roughed her up a bit. She still wouldn't stop talking, so the jury decided the verdict of NO MALL FOR BRIANA, then changed their minds and decided to give her grace. It was so funny, as poor Kayla and Dixie were just silently watching the boys in action reprimand their faithful friend. But all in good fun, and wonderful memories.