By Kara Markovich
Early one morning, months ago, I had the most vivid dream. Never before has a dream felt so real. There is a strong likelihood it may never happen again.
I dreamt of my father.
He was with me and as real as I often long for him to be. Along with my mom, we found ourselves on the ground floor of a mall, several floors layered above us. We were visiting Oscar’s art teacher who was showing her work in a gallery on the top floor of the same building. My father looked horrible. The same horrible I remember when he was alive and felt his worst; greyish skin, tired eyes, labored breathing and able to walk only short distances.
His congestive heart failure was winning.
In my dream, I felt the sadness fill me. I worried for him just as I did when he was alive. We began to move slowly through the mall, passing booths of local, handmade art and stopping at one to admire the carved animals. I could see the energy in my father change. His skin began to radiate a colorful glow and his eyes sparkled. He was smiling. His love for handmade art became the catalyst to this sudden burst of energy. He was his old self again.
As we reached the elevator, my father appeared vibrant and healthy. Despite this, I directed he and my mother towards the elevator. He looked at me and said,
“No, I am taking the stairs.”
I insisted we take the elevator. I argued he was in no condition to walk up flights of stairs.
“Just listen to me, it would be easier,” I would say.
He looked at me again, adamant and determined and said,
“Kara, I am taking the stairs.”
Then I woke up.
And headed to my twenty week ultrasound.
I recalled the dream later that afternoon while sitting with my fear after learning that one of our twins, Baby B, would be born with a heart defect and a 50/50 chance it would be caused by a syndrome called DiGeorge. I went over every detail of that dream and as I mouthed the words, “Kara, I am taking the stairs” I began to cry. It occurred to me, in that moment, that I was meant to have THAT dream THAT morning and still believe it was a gift from my father. I was terrified that day as I had experienced exactly what many of us worry about during the birth of our children, yet I was suddenly overcome with peace. Throughout my pregnancy, I would grasp this gift with every ounce of me and hold it tight knowing it would get me through the ultrasounds, the scary moments and the constant unknowns.
This wasn’t going to be easy, but we would get there.
We just weren’t going to be riding the elevator. No. We would be taking the stairs.
*Kara’s father passed away the summer of August 2014 and Kara became pregnant in February 2015 with her twins, Hugo and Ulla. Ulla was born with an interrupted aortic arch and had open-heart surgery two days after she was born. Despite a few complications along the way, the twins are thriving and Kara and her husband Greg are constantly finding the humor in all the craziness surrounding life with 4 kids (yes, there are two more). If you are interested in following their journey through IVF, miscarriages, and the imperfections of raising children you can find her at karamarkovich.tumblr.com or karamarkovich on Instragram.