Just a dream?

A few minutes ago, I was falling into sleep when a flashback assaulted me. The visceral screaming of my mother. I am a teenager. Im at her bedroom door. This was a pain I was naive to until this moment. Whatever it was, I was certain there was no coming back. My mother would never be the same. I’m very familiar with the scene. 

What followed was the echo of my own wailing. A flash of a vision of myself crumbled to the floor. Desperation flooding my senses as I shield the life in my belly from the fury of fists. 

Then, a scene of myself clinging to my knees and Im rocking …crying…wailing while my own small children wonder about their mothers prognosis. Twenty something, three children and devastated by a failed marriage. 

Yet another scene flashes. A few months back…my husband and I are discussing with my son and father how we are going to move forward as co-parents as we “work on ourselves” and “take a break”. I lash out at my husband, my father lashes out a me. I feel the abandonment is imminent. I try to flee. My Dad physically restrains me. Husband walks out while Im at my father’s hands. My daughter pulls him off of me. I walk outside. I watch my husband leave. I watch my son climb into the car with my Dad. They both leave as well. I return inside and crumble. That visceral cry rises. Again. 

I hate myself for allowing my children to be witnesses to this suffering. How do I forgive myself for scarring them for life?

I was broken … so convinced I was over. 

Yet here I am. 

Sitting on the cold pavement on my patio trying to ground myself in this present time and place. Im demanding my brain be convicted by logic and leave the past there. 

It’s not happening. Not now. Not again. 

It’s just a dream, Stephanie. 

You are not alone. 

Go back to bed. 

Touch me there. 

Touch me. 

Touch me in the space between,

each rib cage where I believe 

my soul resides,

I’d like to know that you can feel her.

Touch me on the nape of my neck,
where I carry the weight of the world,
and let me know if you might
be willing to share some of this heaviness.
Touch me in the invisible places
that I hold my hurt
my secrets
my stories
and remind me to pay attention
to them—the last thing they need is neglect.
Touch me in the moonlight
where I often hide,
but long to know that someone still sees me.
Touch me in the sunlight,
where hiding is not an option
and all my imperfections are illuminated,
and show me you don’t mind
them one bit.
Touch me in the place that moves me,
which will in turn move you,
so we can move together
in a way that only two people
who have touched each other can.
Touch me with your words
or with your heart
or with your fingertips,
touch me there
or here
or even right over here,
I’m really not too picky.
I’d just like for you to touch me,
and gently remind me
that I am real. ~emily bartran