I had a dream about Gabriel last night. He wasn’t 18, but neither was he 5/6 as the dreams’ context suggests. When Gabriel was about 4/5 getting close to his next birthday, I told him that I wanted him to stop sucking his fingers as he went to sleep. He would put his middle and ring finger into mouth the way others sometimes suck their thumbs. This habit had started to form calluses around his fingers where his teeth rubbed on the skin — now after his death, I wonder if I was depriving him of self-soothing activities — So i wanted him to try and stop for his birthday.
My mom came to visit around that time and Drew was in marching band, so on a Friday, we all loaded into the minivan and went to watch the halftime band show. Leaving the football stadium, Gabriel ran ahead of us all. The van, as you see, had a remote tailgate, so he wanted to get into the van from the side door, get into the tail hatch area, and then pop up to scare anyone once the hatch was rising.
Unfortunately, the distance from going over the seat back to where the trunk floor was over his height. So as he jumped to land, he turned sideways — in air — and put his left arm down to break his fall. And break he did. When the tailgate rose, Gabriel squirmed in the trunk holding his now broken left arm, whimpering.
When we finally got it x rayed and cast, Gabriel couldn’t put his fingers to his mouth and so got out of the habit of sucking his fingers, starting just before his birthday turning 5 or 6, I can’t recall now.
So in the dream, he was putting his hand towards his mouth while talking about something. I asked him if he was sucking his fingers again. He said, “Don’t you concern yourself with what I’m doing.” As always though, it was good to see him, hear his voice, and have a chuckle when I woke up about his self-determination.