A million dreams...

I called my mom this morning.  I had an idea I’ve been thinking about for a long time and wanted her involvement.  I proposed to her my idea and she immediately loved it.  I felt it would be a way for her and I to continue Sam’s legacy and a way to give back to others.  Sam was always so generous and I believe this would be a wonderful way to honor him.  I also knew I couldn’t do it without mom. 



For the past several months, I’ve been inundated with my writing, reliving memories, sorting through thousands of pictures.  I’ve had to track people down and try to get accurate dates.  I’ve looked at picture after picture of Sam and I.  As a request from me, mom did too.  She had to sort through hundreds of baby photos of us all the way up through our adult lives.  How difficult this must have been for her.  I know it was for me.  As I sorted these pictures, it was as if Sam had never even left us.  All these childhood memories came alive again.

Feeling fatigued, both physically and emotionally, I needed rest.  This process has been taxing on me and I needed some reprieve.  Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite movie is “The Greatest Showman.”  I love his rags to riches story of how he risked everything to fulfill a dream for himself and ultimately, his family.  He wanted to change their future just as much as he wanted to change his.  I love this!  I love this story of HOPE!  

I love stories of triumph when the world seems to be against you.  I’ve seen this movie over and over.  Mom has too.  Many nights when we talk, I’ll say, “What are you doing?” And she’ll say, “Watching “The Greatest Showman”.”  I smile because we both love this movie for the same reasons.  

I think when you have gone through tremendous life altering events that sought to destroy you, you can appreciate the stories, whether fictional or not, that inspire.  They are moments of magic that can make you believe anything is possible, just like the song "A Million Dreams" from the movie.

Today, as part of my Sunday rest, I decided to watch “The Greatest Showman” with commentary.  It was amazing how the world that seemed so real to the viewer, was actually models that were created to make the sets…miniature versions to trick the eye into believing they were large scale, elaborate sets.

Without ever seeing the commentary, I would have never believed that the sets were small, little models.  I also would have never know that the character of Tom Thumb, was actually on his knees the entire movie and not an actual little person.  Oh how the eyes can trick the brain.  What I also learned is that Zendaya learned to do all her own stunts, flying through the air with grace and beauty.  There is a scene during "Rewrite the Stars", where she literally looks like she is floating through the air. What you don't see is all the takes it took, of her literally getting the air knocked out of her over and over for her to get the scene right.

I can relate.  I can relate to the air getting knocked out of me time and time again, not just in writing a book, but in life in general.  You fall and you fall and you fall, and you keep getting back up again.  You keep dreaming, you keep hoping, you keep moving forward.

My brain was a part of this magical world as I slowly drifted off the sleep. There was that moment where I was not quite asleep, yet also aware of what is happening around me.  A thought popped in my half-asleep brain of “I haven’t heard from Sam in a while, I need to call him.”  Then, as quickly as that thought occurred, my eyes popped open, and I remembered, Sam is dead.

He is dead to this world, yet so alive in the next, probably more alive than we could ever imagine.  6 1/2 years later and I still have times of disbelief that he is gone from us.  I’ve been sorting through all these photos and my eyes have tricked my brain into believing for a split second that I needed to call him because, he is alive.  My brain wanted to believe that I could call him.

I remember having so many moments like this in the years following his death.  While it doesn’t happen as often, it still goes to show that there is no end to grief. I had grief the moment I awoke out of that half slumbered state only to realize all over again that Sam in dead.  It. never. ends.

So, where do I go from here?  I think we allow ourselves those moments, those small millisecond moments where we believe our loved one is alive (and they are, just somewhere else). You see, I don’t think I am doing myself a disservice by re-visiting those memories as I look at pictures of Sam and I, closing my eyes to feel present in that moment.  I actually feel it is a gift to our hearts.  It is moments of relief from the grief, if only to experience the grief again, and again, and again.

We should allow ourselves to “dream with our eyes wide open” (Come Alive, 2017).  It’s in the dreaming that I allow Sam to live until we are together again.  As my mom and I join together in this new venture, we’ll be stepping out of darkness and shining the light for others, paving a way for them to make a difference, too.  We have no idea what we are doing and I'm sure we may fall down a few times.  That's okay.  We'll get back up again.

I looked down at my phone and received a text from my mom tonight.  It read, "I'm watching "The Greatest Showman"...again."  I smiled.  I did too, mom, I did too. 

Dare to dream.

Pasek, B., & Paul, J. (2017). Come Alive [Recorded by H.  Jackman, Zendaya, Settle, & D. Everidge].





Renee Nickell