“But, Mom…I don’t want to go to sleep” I shouted! Slowly I raised my head to meet her gaze and saw her eyes were brimming with tears. Although I was pulsing with energy and had no desire to sleep, my Catholic guilt kicked in and I could not bare to further exhaust my mother. I hung my head, turned my feet and shuffled down the long lonely hallway to my bedroom.
Ever so lightly, I pushed my bedroom door, causing it to swing open and reveal my haven – four eggshell walls with one hanging mirror and two large windows. A tall, wooden chest of drawers and small bookshelf held most of my worldly possessions – including my favorite teddy bear, teeny tiny animal figurines and rock collection. A soft powder blue comforter with small white and yellow flowers draped across my Queen size bed. It was much too large for a girl my age, but I was ever so grateful my Aunt gifted it to me when she moved. Since my family didn’t have much money, it was quite the luxury item.
Already dressed for bed and teeth brushed, I plopped down on my mattress, laid back and relaxed. Fluffing the pillow underneath my head, I stared at the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling and braced myself for what I knew would be hours before I’d be able to drift into dreamland.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
My warm brown eyes turned to the doorway where my beautiful mother stood. She walked over to my bed, leaned down and gave me a gentle kiss on the forehead. “Good night, sweet angel” she whispered and floated out of the room, closing the door behind her and extinguishing the light. “Good night, Mom!” I said loudly and wondered if she heard me.
Just then, a cool gentle breeze swept through the open window, caressing my face and bringing me back to the present moment. Falling asleep was never an easy task for me. I would much rather have been sitting on the couch, falling asleep to the glow of the TV than try and attempt this. My mind was active; I knew this to be true. No other children seemed to speak about this problem, so I assumed it was something only I dealt with. I hoped that I was not the only one, but I dared not risk embarrassing myself by asking a schoolmate.
My inner dialogue was intense and draining. I often tried to quiet my mind, but was unable.
Thoughts to myself: It must be so much easier as an adult! No one tells you what to do. No one questions your every move. No one discounts the value of your opinion. Being a kid is hard! I don’t feel like a young, naive child like the adults view me. While my parents claim to understand me, I know that they don’t really understand me. I know this because when I asked them if I could fly to Grandpa’s funeral in order to say goodbye, they firmly said “No”. I mean, I know that our family isn’t rich and that we cannot afford to send everyone, but I want to go. I need to go and say goodbye to him. I cried, and begged, and pleaded. But since I am a young girl that just barely learned to tie her shoes, they do not understand why it is necessary for me.
(And so begins the rambling dialogue in my mind)
My mind: WHY? Why is this? Why won’t they listen to me? Hello! Is anyone listening? God? An angel? Future self? A ghost? Someone please answer. I am so lost…
Whispers in the Night: Yes, I hear you, my darling. You have to forgive your parents, for they are just doing their best to care for you and your family.
My Mind: But if they really wanted to care for me and do what is best, wouldn’t they allow me to go and say goodbye? I shunned my grandfather the last time I saw him. My parents told me he was sick, so I refused to hug him. It was only later I learned I could not catch his illness. They promised me I could hug him the next time I saw him and that it would be okay. And now he is dead. Shouldn’t they understand that I need to tell him I’m sorry and say goodbye?
Whispers in the Night: I know that is how you would like them to react. They are your parents and you have been taught that they are there to take care of you and do what is best for you. My dear, you need to realize they were children just like you once. They make mistakes. They are not perfect. They do love you and you should not fault them for not understanding how important this is to you.
My Mind: But I am just so angry and hurt.
Whispers in the Night: That is part of the grieving process. It is completely natural to be hurting. Your parents, sister and the rest of your family are hurting too. Trust me, your grandfather knows you love him.
My Mind: Does he?
Whispers in the Night: Yes.
My Mind: Are you sure he knows?
Whispers in the Night: Yes, I am sure.
Thoughts to myself: Oh this is so infuriating! Who is this voice that is answering me? Okay, okay, so maybe my parents do make mistakes. But, hello! This is one of those mistakes! I swear I will not be this way as an adult. I will listen to my child and know that their opinion and the words they speak have value. When I am an adult, I will remember how smart I was as a child and just how angry it made me when people spoke down to me for being “just a kid”. Humph! How can they overlook my aching heart and ignore my well spoken plea? I wonder why they don’t understand me.
My Mind: Hello? Are you still there? Why don’t my parents know that I am smart?
Whispers in the Night: They know you are smart. They know you are kind. They just do not remember what it is like to be a child. They forget how confusing of a time it is and they are too wrapped up in their daily routines to take the time and remember.
My Mind: Oh. So what should I do?
Whispers in the Night: You should understand that your parents are human and make mistakes. You should forgive them, love them, and not hold every little thing you do not like against them. You should send a prayer to your grandfather and tell him goodbye; this will help you heal your heart. You may not see him or hear his voice, but know that he loves you.
My Mind: But can’t you help me find a way to convince them I need to go?
Whispers in the Night: I am sorry my dear, I cannot. You need to accept that you will not attend the funeral, and that it is okay you are not present. You can say goodbye from the privacy of your room and he will hear you just the same.
My Mind: Are you sure?
Whispers in the Night: Yes, I am sure.
My Mind: Thank you for helping me to understand. Are you God? Are you an Angel? Who are you?
Whispers in the Night: Sweet girl, it doesn’t matter who or what I am. I am here to help guide you. I will always be here for you.
My Mind: But how will I find you?
Whispers in the Night: You will find me the same way that you did tonight. Just quiet your mind, focus your question and ask. Then be silent and I will whisper to you. I am here now, and will always be here with you. Now go to sleep, my darling.
My Mind: Ok, I will try.
Thoughts to myself: I feel so much better! I cannot wait to be an adult. I wonder when I will find out who guided me tonight. I bet I will know when I am an adult. I think it was God. Well, maybe God’s voice sounded a little too much like my own. Mom always talks about guardian angels, maybe it was an angel? Dad loves science fiction, so maybe it was future me giving young me advice? That’d be cool! Wow, I sure can’t wait to be an adult so I can figure it all out. Adults have it so easy.