My birthday greetings start coming in the day before my birthday. My Facebook friend in Guam is the first to wish me a happy birthday online. Tywana tells me she will be the first one to wish me a “real” happy birthday (on the actual day).
I sleep well on my birthday eve, but I wake up around 4 o’clock and it feels like I might not be able to get back to sleep then I hear Shayna say to me “Happy Birthday, Daddy. I’m the first one to wish you happy birthday.” (in typical Shayna fashion). I eventually drift back into sleep and I find myself in a hotel room with Tywana, Kayla, and Shayna. The three of them are watching TV. Shayna is sitting on the floor and I’m in a chair behind her. I’m rubbing her shoulders and enjoying the time with the three of them. I notice one of her braids has come loose and I pretend I’m re-braiding it (which I can’t do). I jokingly tell her it’s done. She, distracted with the TV, reaches back, feels it and just goes back to watching TV. Then, I start massaging her shoulders up near her neck. Shayna couldn’t stand to be touched on the front of her neck, but the back was OK. I start nuzzling her neck, tickling her. I’m enjoying being with her so much. Then, I recall that something’s weird. Shayna’s not supposed to be here. Shayna’s dead. Why do we think she’s dead? She’s right here. She’s never been anywhere but right here. But, I seem to vaguely recall us mourning her being gone. Weird, I think.
Then, I wake up. Back in my bed. No Shayna. Normally, this is the time when I start crying at the realization the dream was just a dream and this reality is what I have to live in. Today is different though. I’m grateful for the dream visit. I try to hold onto the feeling I had, reliving the dream, etching it into my brain and into my heart. I thank Shayna for coming through on my birthday with my first “Happy Birthday” and the dream. And I look forward to the day when this waking moment feels like the dream.