Two Dreams

by Todd Nigro
Living a Nightmare

I was in a deep sleep. The setting of the dream was at McDonald’s, one of Ellie’s favorite places. She was playing on the playground and there were other kids there as well. I was just watching and I heard a cry. I knew it was Ellie and I looked up. My senses alerted and fear swept over me as I stood up and began running to the playground equipment. Then, she emerged and ran to me with tears flowing down her face. She could barely speak as she jumped into my arms. She was hurt and before she stopped sobbing, I woke up. It wasn’t exactly a nightmare, but I didn’t like the dream because I was very scared. As I opened my eyes and looked up in the dark, I realized that I was living a nightmare. I didn’t want to wake up, no matter what I was dreaming about. It was a surreal moment to me when reality was worse than any nightmare I can remember.

Ellie’s Hug Dream

I was talking with Kristen one night about how much I missed Ellie’s hugs. She always came running to me when I came home and wrapped her arms around me and just squeezed for a few moments. She knew how to hug me and I loved it. At night, when I was putting her to sleep, I would lay next to her. She always wanted me to read a book to her, followed by some snuggling, and then I would usually try to leave as I usually had something else to do. She would give me the cutest little kisses. They were little pecks, but I could tell she was trying to express her love with her kiss. It was just precious. One of my tricks to exit each night was to get the stuffed horse, that I always jokingly called “Donkey”, to lie down next to Ellie. It was a big horse and she would always smile and just say “Daaaaad, it’s a horse!” I would wrap the horse’s legs around her and the last leg I would kind of clamp down on her tightly. She loved that. Then, she always wanted me to be nearby in the office while she went to sleep.

This morning the dogs woke us up around 5am and by the time I got dressed to take them out, Kristen was already outside with them. We went back to bed. I fell back asleep and had the most amazing dream.

We were getting out of the van and Ellie had just closed the automatic door. I don’t know why but I thought she was opening it and I sternly said, “Ellie!” Then, I realized that there was nothing wrong and just both looked at each other. I put my arms out and she understood that I was sorry. In that instant, she forgave me for whatever thought I had and just came to me. I knelt and she gave me the hug that she always did. Then, somehow I lost my balance and fell over backward. We were hugging and she just fell on top of me. She began to give me her little kisses on my neck and said “Daddy, I love you” over and over between kisses. It was the best dream I’ve ever had. When I woke up, I just cried and cried. Not from sadness so much, but because I had just been a gift that was so precious to me. It reminded me of Ellie’s wonderful gift of forgiveness and love. Thank you, God and Ellie, that hug will be with me forever.
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