Facebook is telling me to look. “You have memories today,” it says. A notification keeps popping up on my phone, on my computer, on my mind. Look! But I don’t want to look.
I don’t want to remember. It’s too hard. It hurts. I do not want to have the memories today.
I dreamt of him last night. My dream was about Sean but it wasn’t the kind of dream I used to have about him. I used to dream of being his forever mom. I dreamt of giving him love, a home, a safe place to land.
Last night my dream was a nightmare. Sean was already in the house when I came home. He was there with Marcus and they were waiting for me.
“Hi, mom. I’m back,” he said in my dream. “I’m ready to get adopted. Whenever you want.”
He carried a duffle bag full of cash in my dream. I knew he had committed some crime and was charming his way into safety. My heart was racing and I was inexplicably concerned about his proximity to Marcus. Both boys were looking at me.
“Get out.” I said in the dream. “I’m not your mom. I was never your mother.”
I woke in a cold sweat, shaking and crying. My heart pounding in panic and dread. I couldn’t really say why.
I’ve been having these dreams for about a week. Sean has been on my mind one way or another. Sometimes I am remembering the times I thought we were getting close but I was really getting manipulated. Sometimes I am remembering the bruises he left behind on my body. Sometimes I am remembering the bruises he left on my heart.
He contacted me three times since Spring. They were just short Facebook messages but I read them over and over. I dissected each word trying to see what he was after. Because Sean is always after something. In the end, I didn’t reply at all. But I couldn’t delete them. I couldn’t bring myself to block him on social media.
We adopted three out of the four children we started this journey with. Maybe having Marcus home, the “last one,” brings up Sean for me. Perhaps it’s been on my mind because Carl is now the age Sean was when we met the children. I can’t quite tell. Carl has developed some of the mannerisms Sean had at this stage. They are part teenage boys and part brother. It’s possible they are also part trauma.
I’ve been butting heads with Carl more than usual. Yesterday at dinner we had pizza. Sean used to drown his pizza in ranch sauce. This was a practice I found both disgusting and perplexing. He was morbidly obese at the time, which made it that much more dangerous when he was angry. Lately Carl has been gaining a lot of weight. His hormones must be making him hungry. His fuller cheeks make him look so much more like Sean.
We actually had an argument about it at dinner last night. He was sensitive to any form of food talk. I was sensitive to the mistakes I made with Sean. Whatever the reasons, it was a difficult night. As I sit and type now I can see where my triggers lie. In the moment I was completely lost to them.
As I sit here and type this the last fragments of the dream are drifting away from me. I hope I will not have this same nightmare tonight. I hope that someday the fragments of of my feelings for Sean drift away, too.
**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.