Aimee is with me.
It takes me a moment to recognize this fact, and then a second later I realize that she's not supposed to be there. She is dead.
And then it hits me: it's my fault.
I start to cry, I put my hand on her arm, near her hand which is resting on her knee. I begin saying over and over, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry." I want to look into her face, to catch her eye, but I can't. I need to keep my eye on the narrow road. And she won't turn towards me. She is silent, stone-faced. She does not tell me it's ok, or that it's not my fault. She does not blame me, not does she release me from my guilt. She says nothing, her facial expression, at least the sliver of it I can see, moves not at all. No warmth, no love, no nothing. And I feel like my conviction of fault is confirmed.
I wake up.
Sometimes when I dream I carry the emotions into the waking moments immediately following the dream. This time, I didn't. I woke up relieved that it had been a dream, and secure in the feeling I'd had since Aimee's death that there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. There's no way I could know how that day was going to go.
|The Atlantic Ocean off of Key Largo. As I waited|
for news on Aimee, I stared at this from the deck
of our vacation rental.
But that dream tapped into something. And that something was that I KNOW Aimee's death isn't my fault, but that doesn't always mean I don't FEEL, subconsciously, like it was my fault. I mean, I'm a fairly traditional guy, and part of that means I feel it is my job to protect my family. Nothing bad is supposed to happen to my girls on my watch, right?
The night Aimee and I got married, I told her dad Terry that I would take care of her. I meant it, and he knew it. But a small part of me can't help but feel like I failed.