My friend died last year. It was sudden, unexpected, and we were all in complete shock. My friend, my lifelong friend. She was supposed to continue sharing her Facebook memories of our college years over and over, every time they popped up. And every time we’d laugh and say, “oh my god I remember that!” and “I miss you!” and “those were the best times!” We were going to do that forever. But forever came way too quickly. Forever ended abruptly on October 23rd. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t get to say “goodbye” or “I’ll miss you.” It wasn’t fair, and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it.
We’re not supposed to write about religion here so I won’t. All I will say about my religion is this: I don’t have one. (Does science count? If so, then maybe science. I guess. Whatever.) But I’ve never lost a friend like this before. I needed something. Something to hold on to, to give me assurance and peace and…SOMETHING. Just give me something. I had to know she was ok. Wherever she was. She had to give me a sign.
So I came up with an idea.
There are a million songs that remind me of her, but I picked a specific one, a somewhat obscure song that you wouldn’t normally hear on the radio. It was a song from one of her dance recitals when she was young that she played for me on VHS many (many) times. She loved that dance and that song. I thought to myself, “please Steff, if you’re ok, play _____ for me.” And then I waited. And waited. It didn’t happen. Then, I realized, I just thought that in my mind, I never said it out loud. That’s what I did wrong! So as stupid as I felt, while I was driving one day, radio on softly in the background, I said out loud, “Steff, if you can hear me, please play _____ for me, so I know you’re here and ok” and guess what! The very next song played on the radio was that song! My jaw dropped and I froze. She’s here, she hears me, everything is ok. Can you believe it?!
Well, you shouldn’t. Because it didn’t happen.
I never heard the song. I guess my love for her just wasn’t strong enough that she magically teleported through the radio waves and played that song for me.
But then something did happen.
I had a dream. In my dream I had the opportunity to go back in time. I wasn’t aware what year it was and for some reason I wasn’t allowed to ask anyone (dreams are so weird), but I knew Seinfeld was the biggest hit on TV and people had flip cell phones and when I went into a store all the clothes looked like they were from the late 90’s. I thought wow, this is cool. Then I realized, oh my god, if it’s the late 90s that means Steff is still here. So I found her. I saw her. She had her long hair; she hadn’t cut it yet. She was trying to focus on me but having a hard time, then for one second her eyes were able to focus, and she said “I miss you.” Then she had to go. And that was it.
I woke up so shaken up that I had to share it with someone. It was the most realistic, vivid dream I’ve ever had. So I told my eleven-year-old. “Seriously Jackie, it was so crazy.” And, in typical pre-teen fashion, he glanced at me, didn’t say a word, then looked away. I didn’t even care. It felt good to get it out of my head and say it out loud. Somehow it felt more real that way. So that was it.
Then something else happened…
I am in a group chat with some of her friends, but I didn’t even tell them. Then one day her friend Stephanie messaged us, “I dreamt about Steff last night…We were so happy to see each other…So happy.” That time my jaw actually did drop. It happened to someone else! Then on her Facebook page her friend Stacey posted, “…I dreamt of you last night…I couldn’t believe or understand how I was seeing you.” It was happening to other people! I felt like that somehow validated my experience in some way.
I don’t know what to think about it, and I’m not going to try to analyze or figure it out. I don’t consider this to be some kind of magical epiphany or awakening or change my thoughts on religion but I would like to think there was a little more to it then random thoughts. I feel like she gave us a gift. And for that, I’m very thankful.
Thanks Steff. I miss you too.