Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Life Unfinished

Jonathan Frederick Barch
July 18, 1988 – Dec. 20, 2004
Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!

For then the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

~ Matthew Arnold
Just before waking one morning recently, I had the most vivid and real dream, where the people (sometimes pets) in my dream are there, visiting me through my dream.

I should clarify: the people who visit me are no longer with us. Over the years, through my dreams, I have visited with Nama, my father’s mother, who died 1987; my father, who died in 2001; my friend Lynn Smithson, who died in 2003; and my nephew, Jonathan, who was 16 when he died in a car crash on Dec. 20, 2004.

This particular morning, it was Jonathan who came to visit. He has been in my dreams many times before, but always off in the shadows, at the edges. Not there, yet there.

That morning, though, he was there. Standing in front of me. Head full of dark curly hair. Striking blue eyes. Whole, healthy, smiling. I got to talk to him. I told him how much I loved hanging out with him when he was a little kid, watching him play at the beach at Grandma's Airstream. I told him how I wished I’d seen him more often as he got older. How I wished I’d seen him play hockey and lacrosse.

I told him how much I missed him, and how I wish so, so much, every day, that he were still here with us. In my dream that time, I got to do something I almost never get to do in my dreams with people who come to see me. I gave Jonathan a hug – a tight, never-let-you-go kind of hug that I could feel in my dream. He hugged me back. I know I must have smiled in my sleep.

Just as I was telling Jonathan again how much I love him and miss him, I could hear my son’s voice whispering to me in my sleep … waking me from the sweetest dream I’ve ever had.

On this, what would have been your 22nd birthday, I remember this dream again, Jonathan, and smile. Thank you.


  1. Beautiful tribute to a very handsome young man. I am sorry he is gone. I am honored that you shared him with us in this way. I wish for a dream like that with my son.
    and you remind me to enjoy all that is here now
    Happy Birthday Jonathon!

  2. What a great dream, Karen! Happy 22nd Birthday, Jonathan! You continue to touch lives.....

    Kathy (Thomas) Keiffer

  3. Thank you. It's one of the most incredible dreams I've had, and left me with such a sense of peace for weeks.

    Mary Ellen, I hope your son comes to see you soon in your dreams.

  4. What a beautiful written recount of a blessing that doesn't come that often. Thank you so much for sharing this in such a nice way.
    Mary Liz Moody

  5. Thank you for sharing this. Not a night has gone by in the 18 years since Kathy passed away that she isn't in my dreams...its very weird....every single night for the past 18 years and as if time has stood still and I am taken back to my childhood with her.

  6. Lynne, I was thinking about Kathy this morning. <3