I had a dream about Leah last night. It’s been a while since that has happened. In the dream, I knew at some level that she was no longer with me in physical form, so it gave me great comfort to be with her in the dream. She was slightly older than when she left and was wearing clothes that I didn’t recognize. Anyone who knew Leah knows that she was very fashion conscious and wore her clothes like no one else could. Our communication was not by words, but rather, by thoughts. I asked her who was buying her clothes now that I wasn’t. She pointed to herself. I asked her if she’d like to go shopping with me, if she needed new clothes for school. She smiled and said yes. I sat from afar and watched her for a while. There was a sense that she was reaching out through the dimensions to me and I savored the time.

When I woke up, I sat on the porch with my coffee thinking about the dream. This one had the quality of a connection with her. She connected with a known shared activity, clothes and shopping. Her presence had the characteristic of an alternate reality, things not quite the way they were when she was here physically. I know this is the very description of dreams, and yet, there was a knowingness that we were both visiting a place where we could relate at least in that moment. Plus, she gave me a smile, her smile, one that lit up her whole face. My memory of that smile does not do it justice, I could not have imagined her smile in the way I experienced it in our dream.

As I continued to be with the dream, I allowed myself to miss her, and I wondered what my life would have been like if she was still here, if she didn’t die 16+ years ago. If, instead of mourning her loss, I would have been celebrating her life all these years. I wondered where she would be living, where we would be living, and how the four of us would be different then we are today.

I was wistful. I missed her. I allowed myself to feel the longing in my heart for my daughter, for what might have been but she’s still not here. That’s the part my head can’t wrap itself around; she’s still not here. No amount of wishing her back will change that.

I look at my life now, and I know that I am living the life I was meant to live, honoring the message I received right after she died, that said, “Losing her is too high a price to pay to not live the life you were meant to live.” Getting here was not easy, staying here is sometimes still not easy, and yet, here I am and there she is.

I’m grateful for the times we can connect in that liminal space that l don’t fully understand. It’s another part of the unknown that unfolds as I travel the spiral of my grief initiation. Bringing all of the journey to my heart, to hold, to allow, to be with whatever shows up along the way. It’s in my heart that the alchemy happens, the place where I receive blessings and grace that allow me to continue to live on the other side of the veil from my daughter; blessings and grace that give me the courage to bring her light into the world through my story. I continue to bow the to the mystery.