Note – I wrote this a few years ago and never got around to publishing it. I feared that some would say I was crazy but I think there are many people out there who have been touched in different ways by Ayla’s story too. The maternal family has shared so much about Ayla’s personality that it almost feels like we know her.
Have you ever had one of those dreams where you found yourself in a room full of strangers? Where not only did you not know anyone present or where you were at, but for some reason it didn’t seem to matter? Did you ever have a dream that felt so real that it seemed to follow you for days with vivid memories? I had one of these dreams not long ago and I’ve been trying to come up with the right words to share it with you. It’s hard to fathom how a dream that only lasts a few moments can reach beyond your imagination and tap into emotions so strong it takes your breath away. Please bear with me as I try to explain.
In the beginning of my dream I found myself in a large home filled with people of different ages, male and female. I didn’t know or recognize anyone but I didn’t feel out of place. There had been a large “pot luck” type meal and everyone was talking with each-other and didn’t seem to notice that I was there. I wandered around a little and ended up in the kitchen. Noticing that the others were involved in conversations, I decided to tackle the stacks of dirty dishes.
After only a few minutes of standing there washing dishes I felt a tug on my pant leg. I glanced down and spotted the blonde hair of a toddler. I continued washing dishes while carrying on a one- sided conversation, the only response was a tug now and then on my pant leg. It wasn’t until I felt a little arm wrap around my leg that I said the heck with the dishes and bent down to introduce myself to this little person.
I looked into the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen. The small smile on her face quickly spread from ear to ear and the room grew brighter and warmer. Without a thought, I reached out and picked her up. Strands of damp blonde hair swirled around her ears and on her neck. Chubby fingers began to twirl and twist my hair. Then she would lean back and examine my new “look”. Those big blue eyes would look to mine for the anticipated approval, which I gave enthusiastically.
Fearing she would become bored with hair styling and dreading the end of our play time, I carried her into the next room where there was a toy box. We sat on the floor in front of the toy box while she handed me toys one by one, inching closer with each toy. I can’t describe the warm feeling it gave me when she crawled up onto my lap and began twirling my hair into imaginary braids again.
There was Ayla with her chubby little legs sitting on my lap. I was overwhelmed with the love I felt for her. The warmth and the weight of this precious little girl in my arms was such a blessing. The realization that all she wanted was me and my attention touched my heart. Holding her felt so good, this beautiful little person made of such innocence and purity and trust, Ayla.
It was then that I woke up and for a few seconds I could still feel her warmth and weight in my arms. Then I remembered…
The weight of the emptiness in my arms was unbearable. The intensity of the pain I felt was overwhelming. The knowledge that sweet little Ayla, there just a minute ago could be lost out there alone and not likely to be found alive was too horrible to comprehend.
While I know that the Ayla in my dream was only someone my subconscious created, my heart goes out to those who truly knew Ayla, who held her in their arms and felt the warmth of her love, those who witnessed her joy and excitement and pride in her accomplishments. How many times have they dreamed of holding her again only to wake and relive the realization that Ayla is lost? How often do they feel the weight of emptiness in their arms? How much can they endure?
Phoebe, Justin, Elisha, Lance and Courtney do you feel that weight of emptiness in your arms? How could you have held Ayla in your arms, and then hold the answers inside you to finding Ayla and bringing her home?
How could you?
Maine State Police Tip Line – 207-624-7076