It’s one of those mornings, the kind where your mind keeps returning to one subject, and in my case, that subject is my mom.
Not too long ago I had the third dream I’ve had about her since she passed away six years ago. Mom doesn’t “drop by” often, but when she does, it leaves an indelible memory.
Because Mom spent the last fifteen years of her life with me, we saw a great deal of one another. She had emphysema and chronic heart failure but stayed in relatively good health till the last year or so. As a caregiver, I did my best, or at least tried to, but have to admit there were days when I wanted to run away. I’m sure Mom sensed that, but neither of us ever spoke about it, just went on from day to day, giving and taking, maintaining the status quo.
When I could no longer take care of her myself, she went to a nursing home, but was only there for three weeks. It was definitely not where she wanted to be, but we hoped it was just a temporary situation. We were making plans for her eventual return home, but it wasn’t to be.
One evening after visiting her, I left with my usual, “See you tomorrow” but an early morning phone call from the nursing home informed me Mom had passed away in the early hours and our “tomorrow” was gone.
Ours was not a demonstrative relationship. Though we loved one another dearly, we found it uncomfortable to say the words, and when we gave each other birthday or Christmas cards, we always double underscored the words “I love you”. As for hugs, they stopped years before she came to live with me and I’m not sure why. I regret their absence.
Which brings me to the dreams. In them, Mom never speaks but these dreams share certain commonalties. The first commonality is Mom’s appearance. She looks radiantly healthy and her hair is dark, worn shoulder length as it would have been when I was a child. The second commonality is what she is wearing. It is always a deep pink top and black slacks. But the third, and by far the most important commonality, is the expression on her face. To be honest I do not have enough words at hand to adequately describe the love that I see reflected in her eyes or in the smile on her face. Everything she couldn’t say when we were living together is there and suddenly every question, every doubt I ever had vanishes.
It is my belief that Mom “drops by” to not only reaffirm how much she loved me, but to let me know that she is happy now and that I am not to dwell on the past and the difficulties we may have had in our mother-daughter relationship.
Today I am going to put on her favorite aqua sweater, and as I place my arms in the sleeves, I will wrap that sweater around me and know that somewhere in heaven Mom and I are sharing an awesome hug as we whisper “I love you” across forever.