Since Grace entered Carmel, I’ve had five dreams about her being home. Each one felt so very real. In the dreams, I would suddenly realize she was there. Once she was in the front passenger seat of our van. Then in our house. I would question her, not thinking it was true. Sometimes the other kids would be with us, everyone laughing and talking. I would go to her and touch her hair and cradle her face in my hands, crying, asking, why are you home? are you okay? are you sick? you’re home? you’re home! I’d wake up thinking she was home. For about 10 seconds. I would quickly realize that she wasn’t home. The last dream I had was during Lent. We knew she was struggling. We were understanding more of the sacrifice she was making and the spiritual attacks she was surely enduring. We prayed and sacrificed for her, in what felt like insignificant ways. Time went on including the long Lent. We were anxious for a letter. I had another dream, much more intense than the others. We were all walking and skipping and talking, through a nursing home, through a school, through a park. Dreams are so weird. Grace was with us and she was so, so happy. I was so confused and did the same things as in the previous dreams. Stroke her hair, cradle her face. She was so very happy. I woke up sobbing, loud, big sobs. My oldest came running. I think I had been holding all of the struggles, the not knowings, the questions, the everything so deep and tight inside me. It all came pouring out in those few minutes. I know dreams are not reality, but I was shaken in a way I hadn’t been before.
Lent is over and we receive an anticipated letter. We also receive a message from a Deacon very close to her. All is well with her! She would tell us all about it at our visit, about the big, intense things that happened, the graces she received that lightened her suffering and her questioning. And she did tell us! I wrote about that visit. A month later, back home, we got another sweet letter full of talk about future things, our next visit, and beyond. She sounded so happy and content.
We were not at all then in the least expecting what would happen next. I’m writing this while sitting in an airplane on my way to Carmel to bring my girl, my strong, brave, holy, beautiful girl, home. You’ll be reading this days after she is home, I think. We’ll need some time. You may be as shocked as I. Please know that she is good. Very good. Very peaceful. I, on the other hand, am a huge, messy mix of strange emotions. In a few short hours, I will be cradling her face in my hands. Like really doing it. I am praying to be brave and strong like her. I have so many more things I hope to share, but for now please keep us all in your prayers.
To be continued…