While working my usual childcare morning on Thursday, I sat and watched two sisters embraced each other. Ages near 2 and 4 years old, beautiful little girls with the brightest blonde curls I have ever seen. The older wrapped her arms around the younger, occasionally brushing her small, dimpled fingers through her baby sisters hair. As she sang a sweet, soft song, the younger sister looked up at her big sister and smiled so big that her little, blue eyes squeezed tight.
My eyes filled with tears. My mind quickly flashed back to a summer afternoon, sometime in the early 90s. Catie was laying on the bottom of the bunk bed under a pastel blanket. The sun was peaking through the mini blinds in the window to my left. I clearly remember its soft warm glow. We were pretending that I was the mommy and Catie was the baby. I tucked her in with a stuffed animal and a blanket, and kissed her cheek. She let out a large belly laugh. I became irritated with her as she was not cooperating. She was a baby! She was supposed to be tucked in and then she was to fall asleep. Not laugh!! I was stern with her, "Catie!! Stop. You're my baby!! stop laughing." Her dark brown eyes, stubbornly looked over at me with the same mischievous look she often gave even recently last year before her passing. I tried to ignore her silliness and continue playing "house." I started to sing. She clinched her little, pink lips together and her cheeks puffed out. She was trying to hold in her laughing. I remember taking my chubby little hand and trying to gently rub her forehead, pushing her thick, dark brown bangs back. That is when she erupted with a hysterical laugh. I dont remember what happened after that, but I clearly remember her laugh.
I continued to watch these sisters sing and laugh with each other. I felt a sense worry and panic. I don't want them to be where I am right now. I prayed that their friendship and sisterhood would never be separated. That they would grow old together.
Later that night I was driving home from visiting my older sister in Sacramento when, not paying attention, I got off on the Leisure Town Rd. exit. I try to avoid it, I mostly try to avoid that entire area if possible. Catie died in the Kaiser hospital that is directly across from the exit. Obviously you can't avoid it forever, but if I can, I do. I pulled off the freeway and stopped at the red light. I looked straight ahead to the empty hospital parking lot, lit by yellow lights. I instantly felt the pain that I felt the night my family walked out of the hospital without Catie. Knowing her body was upstairs in her bed, never to be with us again. Her empty wheel chair was in the car that my dad had to drive home. It was an impossible feeling to describe that night and I can't describe it when I feel it today. I just know it sucks. I continued driving home and went to bed, hopeful that the next day would be less emotional.
The next morning, while cleaning I found a journal that my Nana had kept of me. It started the day my mom went into labor with me, and continued until she gave it to me in 2007. I read through it and was reminded of many memories with my family. 90% of the entries had something to do with Catie and me. Things about the way I cared for Catie. The excitement of meeting her when she was born. The heartache I shared with nana about wanting Catie to be healthy. The entire journal was written about me and my life, but my life was about me and Catie. Thats just how it was.. Her entries reminded me of that. Of the close sisterhood that the two of us shared.
So maybe this day wouldn't be too much easier emotionally after all.
Now it was Saturday. I woke up to a text that my cousin sent early in the morning. She was worried about me and wanted to check on my emotional state. Offered to come visit and take me to lunch, maybe call and see if I wanted to talk. I told her that interestingly enough, the last two days had been very very hard. She text me back explaining that she had a feeling it was that way. That morning she had woken up after having a dream in which Nana and Catie came to her, very happy and holding hands. She said they looked wonderful. She was overjoyed to have this dream because she hadn't dreamed of either of them since their passing and she misses them so greatly. She said it was a wonderful dream, but then the two of them became sad. They started showing her that I was upset. That I wasn't doing well and needed to be checked on. And so she did. She woke up and checked on me.
Now I don't always read too far into dreams and their meanings, but this was incredible. One "of those" moments that are unexplained but absolutely amazing. I saw my cousin today and we talked about it more. She's amazing and one of my closest and most cherished relationships. It makes perfect sense that she would be the one to receive this dream. I'm so happy for her that she was able to see Nana and Catie. I'm also so very happy that after a rough couple of days I can see that not only do I have an amazing family to get through hard times with, I know God uses these moments to remind me that He hasn't gone anywhere.