my mom died a little over two years ago. this past weekend would have been my parent’s 46th wedding anniversary. and last night i had what i think is the first dream of my mom since she passed away. at least it’s the first dream i remember having.
and, unfortunately, there was no grand gesture. no statement from beyond. no profound movement. my mom came to my house (a house she has never seen) and walked directly to my laundry closet and grabbed clothes from the dryer and chastised me for leaving clothes in there so long. meanwhile, i had people over. i don’t know who was there. but she seemed to know everyone and her folding my laundry was accepted as perfectly normal. she didn’t just fold it. she proceeded to put everything away in my bedroom.
a couple interesting things:
- my mom got sick when i was 14 and i became in charge of laundry and my mom always folded clothes. my dad had to be taught why you sorted whites and colors after a few unfortunate mistakes.
- my mom was always folding clothes.
- it was really the only chore she could handle after falling ill.
- even after i was older and still living there, my mom would fold my laundry and put it away in my room. this was fun because it often became a guessing game as to where things would end up.
of all the things my mom could be doing. she folds clothes and puts everything away. and it was perfectly normal. when my mom gave me grief over leaving things in the dryer, i just rolled my eyes. there was no sadness. no shock. and i don’t think it was pre-illness mom. she moved a little quicker than i remember. but she wasn’t the woman who still worked at wiremold and loved her red honda accord. it was her from a couple years ago.
she kinda looked like this version.
and again, everything was fine. (and incidentally, i love how much my dad skews retired and pissed off cop in this picture.)
until i remembered the dream. i don’t usually remember dreams. and when i do, they pop up in my mind at random moments in the day. so today at some point in the morning, i remembered i still had laundry in my dryer (not an unusual occurrence in my life.) and, well, like a lightning bolt i remembered the dream.
i emailed a friend about it and she seemed to think that it was my mom’s way of saying she was okay. which is a nice interpretation. and i am really going to try and go with it. i’d love some profound statement, but her being in this home and comfortable with it is a way of her saying “it’s okay” that i’m here.
when she died, many of my older relative shared stories of the dreams they had when their parents passed away. there was always some sense of importance. i get laundry.
i’m okay with that. i’m less okay with it taking over two years. i’m less okay with it taking so long for me to get any sign.
and it’s spurred a thought cycle. (similar to the giggle loop.) this thought cycle has sent me in some twists tonight.
my dad came over for dinner tonight and after that dream it made me angry that my mom wasn’t here to share in it. (ignoring the reality that she’d have a really hard time with the stairs.)
then i was angry that i didn’t have a mom to help me with decorating. (pardon the stereotype.)
and then i was sad that she wasn’t here to help me make the skirt i need to finish.
and then sadder as i remember all i never knew about her. she got sick when i was so young. before i could ask her what her dreams were as a kid. if she ever had her heart broken. if she had ever been truly happy.
i want to know who this woman was.
how is it fair that i never got to ask her what was up with this picture? i know what you’re thinking. i could have asked her. there were nearly 16 years after she got sick. but, her memory was never the same after that morning. things were fuzzy. even though it was only a short term memory loss we were told about, everything was fuzzy. even the long term memories. sometimes it was crystal clear. sometimes it was murky. and you never knew. so, we’d look at these pictures and she’d smile. but she never really answered the questions.
so, how is it fair? i barely remember this version.
and i was alive at this point. i’m somewhere off camera being a spaz.
how is it fair that this amazingly beautiful woman will always be a mystery to me?
and i have a dream where she tells me she is okay, but me. i’m not.
i miss her so damn much.
and i miss her more now, i think. i want to share so much with her. and i want to know who she is. who she was. why was she so particular about how socks should be folded? did she really opt to go learn sewing at a convent over school? did she want to come to the united states? is the vague memory i have of that story she told me about the one she left behind a true memory?
so much of my life was defined the moment she collapsed that morning. i’ve shielded myself from most emotional attachments because i’m afraid they will go away. and only lately, i’ve come to accept people are here. they will be here. even when you are horrible. even if i think i’m not worth it. even if i do everything in my power to sabotage it. people stick around.
and now that i’ve allowed myself to embrace people, i miss so much more.
i miss folding laundry with her.