Sleep is supposed to release you from your worries, your worst fears. Yet as much as I wanted and needed sleep, I doubted it would ease me. My 12-year-old daughter, June, had just emerged from a coma. Now the doctors were telling my husband and me that she’d need a series of brain surgeries if she were to survive.
Lying in bed, wrung out after another long day sitting at her bedside in the hospital, my mind replayed the horrific accident. One moment, June was riding on the back of our farm tractor with her daddy, squealing as dirt clumps flew. The next, she laid unconscious, after the tractor hit something and threw her forcibly to the ground. I felt unbearably guilty that I hadn’t foreseen the danger; and terrified that my little girl wouldn’t recover.
Somehow, sleep finally came. I found myself in a lucid dream. There was June, running up the sidewalk toward me on a sunny day. On her head, she wore a striking white hat with an elastic, flowered rim. “Don’t worry, Mom,” she said, flashing the most beautiful smile. “Everything’s going to be okay.”
I seldom remember dreams, but this one stayed with me. In the weeks that followed, I clung to it like a life preserver as June went through one surgery, then another.
At last the doctor said she was well enough to return home. Her head was still swollen and bandaged where the surgeons had made their incisions. “Just have her wear a hat,” he said. “It will hide and protect the dressing on her head.”
“Thanks, Doctor,” I said.
I searched the house to find a hat for June, but because of the swelling, none fit. That afternoon a friend dropped by. “I have a gift for you,” she said to June.
She reached into her bag… and pulled out a hat. June eagerly tried it on. It fit perfectly.
Of course it did. It was a white hat with an elastic, flowered rim. The exact hat June had worn in my dream. A sure sign that everything would be okay.