I hate those nights where sleep is no where to be seen, at least not deep sleep anyway. The point between midnight and twilight where dreams come and go, and you feel like you're awake but you cant control the path you take through the unknown. Last night was one of those nights.
2am woke me with a cold sweat and the horror of death on my mind. I couldn't stop thinking about what I saw and the ending that I couldn't change.
I often have these dreams of drowning, but lately they've evolved and included my children. It always seems to be the same concept. We're trapped in a car and cant get out, or I can get out but I can't save my children. Last night in my dream my older son fell into a rushing river and I dove in to save him even though I'm not a strong swimmer. The dream never really ended with either of us drowning, but I still had that feeling of complete despair and hopelessness.
The only way I could let it go was to get it off my chest and write it down. So if you're not to squeamish, continue to read about what I saw in my dream. I added a good ending though, the way I would have wanted it to end in my head.
The fear of drowning
I watched him, my son, playing with a ball in the yard. He was laughing with a huge grin on his face. I laughed along with him. His foot contacted with the ball, a great kick for a four year old. The ball flew up in the air and then bounced on the ground. I watched the red ball for what seemed like minutes as it took its trip toward the cliff, when it was only seconds. There was no time to react, but I tried.
The ball disappeared over the edge, then so did my son. His blond hair the last thing I saw before I sprang from my seat.
I screamed for him, even though I knew he had either landed on the rocks below or in the raging water of the river. There was no stopping me, not even my own need to preserve my own life. I jumped.
Air rushed up around me as I dropped from the cliff and into the freezing cold waters below. My whole body was immersed in the cold liquid. I kicked and clawed my way to the surface, panicking because I wasn’t a good swimmer. But those thoughts quickly left my mind when I laid eyes on my son, struggling to stay afloat only ten feet away.
Swim, I told myself. Swim to save your son. Closer and closer inch by painful inch I pushed my body to move. I reached my hand toward my boy and begged him to take it, but he slipped under the water in a flash.
I dove, searching for his body, for something to pull to the surface. There was only a single thought in my mind and I said it over and over again to myself. Save him. The murky water hindered me from seeing anything. He wasn’t there, he wasn’t anywhere. Then my hand brushed something warm, something solid. Human flesh and it grasped my arm back.
I pulled with all my might and held my boy to my body as we ascended toward the surface. Our faces broke through the water as we gasped for air. We were together. He was in my arms and I would never let him go, but the elation I felt quickly melted away because I knew we were still in danger.
The rapids rushed around us, attempting to pull us under. I wouldn’t let it. My will to save my son was too strong. It would have to try harder than that. The cold was the next force to try and take us. It seeped into my bones and locked up my joints.
I flipped to my back and placed my son on my chest to keep him from the water as much as possible. My legs kicked as hard as they could, pushing us toward the shore. The weak sobs of my terrified son only fueled my need to escape this watery grave more.
I don’t know how long we were in the water, or how far we had traveled down river, but when I felt the bump of a rock on my back I began to cry with joy. My son, who was weak, lay on my chest, cold but alive. He smiled weakly up at me. I pulled him from the water and held him in my arms to warm him. His lips were blue and I’m sure mine were too.
The time passed quickly, as we sat there on the bank watching the river rush past, angry that it didn’t claim us. There were people shouting nearby and soon a blanket was around my shoulders. Before I stood to leave this forsaken place a rock flew from my hands into the white rush. “Not today river, not today.”