I watched her breathing, her grip on my hand lessening some.  Her heart could be felt through her chest by my hand, its beating finally slowing.  Her body twitched as she drifted — it always has — as does the drifting body of the man she adores and calls Daddy. 

I sit a little longer than my practical mind would allow.  She has been needing more attention lately, when it’s time to sleep.  Inquiries about which lights might stay on, if music can be played, if we can stay with her for a little while longer, if she can just sleep with us.  This night it felt like there was something more behind the requests than what might be soothed by “I’ll come check on you in 20 minutes, okay?”.  

On this night I let myself just be with her.  My hand on her chest.  My heart winning over my mind. 

I watched her fear give way as the corners of her eyes softened; I felt her youth within her growing body, her innocence heard in each breath from her strong frame; I saw the fragility in the skin of her callused hands.  The hands that were holding mine to her chest, as if it were the most direct way for me to feel her heart.  

I wanted to tell her that one day it will all make sense, what the nightmares mean and what they really represent.  How the intensity of her love for her sister is on display in the form of the nightmare which threatens to take her sister away.  That to have something so good in life, it only makes sense that it would be our greatest fear endure its loss.  

But that intensity still means love.  

It’s okay, sweet feeler.  

The nightmare means love.   

 © Houseman 2013