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I wake up in a cold sweat. Ugh, I did it again. She came back to me, and all I could do was be mad.

I never got to say goodbye. I think that’s why I keep having these dreams. My subconscious is rationalizing everything by trying to convince me she faked it. Which is understandable. The tiniest part of me is kind of still expecting her to walk through the door at any moment.

I think maybe instead of trying to make my subconscious stop feeling like it was all faked, maybe I should embrace that thought process and run with it. Not to lie to myself but to create an illusion of what I would feel like if she really did come back.

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Here’s how I think that would go . . . 

She’d come walking through the front door. I’d be shocked at first, understandably. Like in all my dreams, I’d yell. I’d scream and unleash mortal hell on her for the way my life was after she left. I’d call her selfish and tell her how awful of a person she was, because who wouldn’t? I’d be furious at her audacity to even come home in the first place.

I’d tell her to leave again because I had finally begun to learn how to do life without her.

I’d push her away and put up every wall and defense I could. To even describe my anger is impossible. Even now, I can feel the pain of the screams in the back of my throat. Whether that’s because I feel like I need to or because in my dreams, I already have, I’m not sure.

But, after all my rage and wrath had been exhausted, I’d collapse into her arms and cry. I’d cry until it wasn’t physically possible for my body and eyes to cry anymore. I’d hold on to her, terrified that if I let go, she’d leave again. I’d take in the familiar scent of her sweet perfume and the deodorant she always smelled of.

I’d relish in the comfort of her hug, not taking for granted that it may be the last time I would ever get to again.

She’d gently lay her cheek on the top of my head with her arms wrapped tightly around me, her taking in the moment the same way: aware that one day the hugs would be harder to come by if she stayed.

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After some time, we’d pull away, her hands on my arms at my sides. She’d tell me in a broken voice how sorry she was through tears. That it was something she had to do for her own sake. She’d tell me how much she loved me and missed me.

She’d wipe away my tears and snot and pull me back in for another short hug, to really reinforce how sorry she was. Like that last little squeeze would mash all my broken pieces back together again. I’d cry some more until my eyes were dry and heavy and I felt my head pounding from the onset of dehydration.

We’d let go, and after that, it all dissipates. The scenario ends there.

For whatever reason, I can’t imagine beyond that moment. Because it’s been six years, and I wouldn’t know how to do life with her back in it anymore.

RELATED: When a Parent Dies, Part of Your Heart Will Always Be Broken

I miss her more than anything, but sometimes, I think that learning how to manage without her is one of the most challenging yet strengthening things I’ve ever had to do. This is how I can live my life without genuinely wishing her back in it. That moment is the closure I never physically got. She made her choice, and despite the pain it’s caused me, I can still love her through it. She’s happier where she is, and I can’t want her back. It would hurt both of us in the long run. I think these dreams give me the opportunity to feel all these heavy emotions out loud without ever having to truly live through it. When I wake up, it all goes away.


Jenna Thomas

Jenna Thomas is an 18 year old Dental Assisting student. To cope with the loss of her mother at 13, she writes.

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