The first balloon ever released...

The first balloon ever released...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

She's still her big sister

Three nights ago I had a dream about McKenna. I don't have many dreams of her, I have only had 4 all together since she has passed. I can't really remember the beginning of the dream, it wasn't until I picked her up that everything becomes clear. I was holding her close and squeezing her tight, it felt so good to have her in my arms again. She had her legs wrapped around my waist and her head tucked under my chin the way she always did. I remember feeling so happy and then a thought came into my mind "How did I get her back? Did I have to exchange one child in return for her life?" I quickly pushed the idea out of my head, I just wanted to enjoy the moment of having her again.

I then heard her giggle and say "Aww Zoe" I looked up and she was pointing down the street. I stared trying to see what she was pointing at and that's when I saw Zoe. She was about half a block away from me crawling towards a very busy street. My heart leapt out of my chest and I began sprinting towards her with McKenna in my arms. I was screaming Zoe's name trying to get her to stop and look at me but she paid no attention. I kept yelling louder and louder, even McKenna was trying to yell her name to get her to look our way. I was worried I wouldn't be able to catch her in time, she was so far away.

Was I about to loose another child to another horrible accident? Then I heard a voice say to me, "If you put McKenna down, you will be able to run faster." I responded out loud and said "NO, NEVER AGAIN, I WILL NEVER PUT HER DOWN!" After I made this decision McKenna all of a sudden became as light as a feather and I could run faster then ever before. I ran toward Zoe and right as she was going to put her little hand into the traffic street I grabbed her and picked her up.

I could feel my heart pounding, the adrenaline rush now leaving my whole body, I felt so tired and wanted to put the kids down but then realized I was holding both my girls again. All the fatigue left me and was replaced with pure joy. Overwhelmed with peace, I dropped to my knees and began covering them in kisses as I cried and held them close. McKenna looked at Zoe with pride, she truly adored her. Then she looked up at me and I melted, I could see that she had missed us just as much as we had missed her and that she loved us all so much.

I woke up feeling complete for the first time since her death, I felt lighter, like the elephant that has been sitting on me for months was finally removed but I quickly realized she was gone and it was just a dream. I cried as I laid there in the dark at 4am and tried to relish what it felt like holding my little 2 year old again but the moment was already fleeting. I knew I would not go back to sleep after a dream like that so I got up and decided to go ahead and start my day.

Fast-forward to yesterday, I had just finished my last final and was in a very good mood. Zach and Zoe had been out of town all week for a funeral and I was going to surprise everyone by picking them up from the airport while Dominic was at day care. I bought a new blouse and got all dressed up to see my husband. I had missed him and Zoe and couldn't wait to spend the day together now that I was officially on break. I got to the airport and Zoe was so happy to see me, she kept grabbing my face and kissing me, holding my hand, talking to me in her little baby talk. It was adorable! We drove home and Zach and I were exchanging stories of all the things we had missed out on in the last week, Zoe was now peacefully asleep in the back.

As we were driving down the freeway we saw a cop turn his lights on to pull a car over. "Uh oh, someone is getting a ticket." I said. We watched as the cop continued to follow the car for about 5 minutes but the car would not pull over. "Is he refusing to pull over or can he just not get over?" I asked my husband. Their were a lot of cars and on this highway you can only pull over if you go all the way to the right, there is no space on the left. Then 3 constables flew by us and surrounded the car. The car was still refusing to get over and the chase was on. I stayed in my lane and tried to be careful as other drivers wanted to "watch the show" by speeding up and keeping up with the chase. I yelled at Zach "Look at these idiots, they are going to get someone hurt". I then told him a story I saw on the news last week how right here in Houston 5 people were killed due to a high pursuit chase.

We came over a hill and all of sudden traffic came to a dead stop. I slammed my breaks but it was clear that I was going to smash into the car in front of me, on the left was the median wall and on my right was an open lane so I turned my wheel slightly to the right. It had just finished raining at this time so the car began to hydroplane. It felt like the whole car was about to flip, I tried to tweak the wheel ever so lightly the other way to keep us balanced. I could here my dad and my grandfathers lectures in my head about how people get to excited, turn the wheel too hard and that's how they get into accidents but it was too late.

Even with just making the smallest pull on the wheel we lost total control of the car, we flew across 3 lanes of traffic, it felt like slow motion when I heard Zach say calmly to me "Shannon..." and I responded "I know, I have no control of the car" "Ok" he said back. Now time sped back up, the car was now facing the opposite direction of traffic, I could see we were about to smash into the median wall on the passenger side "ZOE!" I panicked, NO WE ARE WE GOING TO HIT ZOE'S SIDE! I reached back to hold her car seat, and we crashed into the wall. I looked up and saw the entire freeway at a complete halt staring at our car.

Zach looked at me "Are you ok?" "Yes, are you?" "Yes" "Check Zoe" we looked in the back and she was still asleep as if nothing had ever happened. Zach hopped out of the car to see the damage. It actually didn't look that bad but I know enough about cars to know that it was. We had hit the front passenger side corner of the car which shifted the entire frame of it. I looked on the other side of the highway and saw that the constables had successfully gotten the car to pull over and now had their guns drawn and were approaching the criminals car.

"ZACH!" I pointed, "Get in the car" he yelled. He jumped in the driver seat, another officer was there and even though she saw our car facing the opposite direction she yelled at us to leave. I felt like that was an appropriate answer. I didn't want to get shot, nor did I want any of my family to get shot so we left. We were both still in adrenaline mode at this time and were pretty shook up. "Did that really just happen? Did we really just get in a wreck because of a high pursuit chase on the freeway? How did that happen so fast!". We drove straight to the mechanic shop where we were told that if we filed a claim to the police department they would pay for the damages. After hours of talking to constables, dispatchers, police officers, and insurance companies we soon realized that this was not true and apparently if we wanted to file a claim we should have "stayed at the scene".

I was so infuriated that I was getting screwed over. I started to throw a tantrum to my husband about how unfair life is. "Why can't we ever just get a break! Why do bad things have to happen over and over again! I'm exhausted! I just want a break! Can we just have a small break? Haven't we earned that? Haven't we been through enough? We lost a child and now we have lost our only car because once again some FREAK ACCIDENT!" I spent the rest of the night pouting as family came over and tried to make sure we were ok. I stayed angry all the way until bedtime. My husband left to go get me some pain reliever since I was hurting from head to toe on the entire right side of my body. I laid in bed scheming on how I was going to force someone to pay for these charges when a small voice whispered to me "At least Zoe is safe".

I paused all of my bitterness for a moment and my thoughts were pushed back to the dream. Wasn't it in the dream that McKenna was the one who said "Zoe" which is what brought me to notice she was in danger. Wasn't it in the same dream that Zoe was about to crawl into a very busy street and get into an accident and because of McKenna's warning she was safe. My body froze, it could not be a coincidence! Had I been given a warning and I just didn't recognize it? No, there was nothing I could have done to avoid that situation. It was not a warning, it was a message. A message from McKenna, she was there to protect Zoe, she was still her big sister, she was still very much entwined in our lives, concerned for our safety, and she wanted us to know that she is still here. She is still apart of our lives, she is still proud to be Zoe's big sister and my daughter. She wanted us to know that just because she is gone, did not mean that we are apart. I have never had an experience like this before but I know without a doubt that it was a message from my baby girl letting us know she has always been and will always be close by.

My heart ached as I felt ashamed of my anger, how I had not stopped for a moment to be grateful that we were all safe, that Zoe was alive and completely unharmed. I could have lost another child, that accident could have been way worse, we could have flipped, or been shot, or hit by another car but none of that happened. Outside of being soar we were absolutely fine and it had taken me all day to recognize that. Nothing happened because McKenna was there to protect her little sister, I am shocked that the Lord aloud me to realize McKenna's presence. I struggle so often with feeling like she is no longer with us and is too happy in heaven to see us hurting down here, but it's not true. She misses us just as much as we miss her and I know that she is looking forward to being with us again just as bad as we are. I am so grateful for that message of hope, even though we lost a car, it doesn't matter. I still have both my daughters, I can't hold one but she is still here with me telling me in every way she knows how that she still loves me and we will be together soon. I think that dream had many meanings but I am glad that I was able to understand one of them.

She will always be her big sister.

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  1. I just typed a big post and it disappeared. D'oh! I'll try again...

    I am glad you found some comfort in a crappy situation. I hope the mess with your car can be straightened out, and that your soreness abates soon!

    What an incredible blessing to know that McKenna is truly Zoe's guardian angel! I KNOW she misses you as much as you miss her!

    About a month after my maternal grandma passed away, I had a dream about her. Even though she was almost 90 when she died, she was young (mid-30's?) in the dream. I knew it was her, though. She gave me a big hug, and told me she really missed me! I was surprised to realize she misses us as much as we miss her! It makes sense, of course, but I guess I thought she'd forget about the family she left behind. I knew she'd be glad to see her parents, sisters, and son once again, and I guess I figured that because she'd be so caught up with them she'd forget us. It was really comforting to know that she's still thinking of me and missing me.

  2. This made me cry ...

  3. These letters are timeless and priceless. NOTHING will change the things you have so dearly written. McKenna is watching over and I would guess she is whispering in her siblings much she loves them. Love came so easy for her.