My Mom visited me in my dream the other night. I love it when she visits although her visits have become less frequent over the past four years. Of course, I don’t remember where I was at the time or what I was doing. I do remember turning towards a door to observe her walking towards me. She was dressed in her bathrobe and was using a walker to assist her approach. She was smiling. Her beautiful snow-white hair was perfectly coiffured and she appeared to be very healthy. I don’t know why she needed the walker. She was zipping towards me at a pretty good clip. I greeted her with open arms and we hugged through our tears. It had been so long since she hugged me. My mom’s hugs were always so very comforting. I had been praying that she would visit me to comfort me through this journey. Finally here she was. Frustratingly enough, my dream-cry woke me up to my real cry. “Crap!” I thought. “I don’t want to leave her!” And I tried desperately to close my eyes to return to the arms of my mom.. to no avail. I replayed the dream again and again so that I wouldn’t forget that moment and what she told me…. No sooner did I wake up than I forgot her message to me. It was only several hours later when a friend triggered the memory for me that Mom’s message resonated: “Stacey, you need a goal”.
What the heck did that mean? I have a goal. I WANT TO BE HEALTHY. Maybe it is isn’t specific enough? I WANT TO BE HEALTHY BY OCTOBER. Maybe I need to specify what it means to be healthy? I WANT TO BEAT CANCER BY OCTOBER.
I don’t know.
Was it an omen?
Why do dreams always leave you hanging? I hate books and movies that end that way – why do I create cliff-hangers for my own self?
I was relating this dream to a friend of mine today and she affirmed that she too loves visits from her mom while she dreams. She agreed that she too tried to analyse what her mom’s visit meant. Her mom’s visits brought her joy. Maybe that is why my mom visited. Maybe she wanted to just console me and bring me joy? She left me hanging. She left me wanting more.
My mom and I were very close, especially as she aged. Growing up, I really didn’t appreciate her as much as I should have. I really only saw her as my mom – someone who nagged at me to go to the doctor, to work less, and to let other people help me. I was stubborn. I’ll admit it. Okay – maybe I still am stubborn. I prided myself on my own independence. I emptied the 10 gallon barrels of sap into the collector tank during maple syrup season ALL BY MYSELF. I carried huge blocks of wood from the forest to the truck ALL BY MYSELF. I built a bed-frame out of left-over wood ALL BY MYSELF. Arrogance. I didn’t listen to her. Pride. I was never the first to apologize. Fear. I could not live without her. Panic. She was not there to help me so I really needed to do things all by myself.
My mom was my role model, my hero. She healed me. She comforted me. She forgave me. She taught me. She loved me. She NEVER abandoned me. But I balked. I turned away. I shrugged her off. I blamed her. I judged her. I loved her.
I grew up. She got smarter and smarter as I got older and older.
I learned from her. She taught me to cook. She taught me to forgive. She taught me to laugh. She taught me to never give up.
One incident that resonates with me as much today as it did then, was when my dad froze his feet. He had taken the snowmobile out to the back acreage to cut down a Christmas tree. He drove over the frog pond to get to the perfect tree he had spotted, but sunk into the pond half-way across. He tried and tried to drag the snowmobile out of the pond – but eventually decided his feet were too wet and cold and he had better try to get home. After a 30 minute walk through the snow to the house, his feet were pretty frozen. Mom panicked when she saw him but went into “nurse” mode immediately. I ran a bath with hot water — I knew what to do. (Seriously, I thought this was the solution.) Mom insisted that this was not correct but she needed to check her medical journal to be sure. “Meanwhile, Stacey, just rub Dad’s legs and feet with this towel wrapped around them. Do not put dad’s feet in the hot water.” Sure enough, she was right. That would have put Dad’s heart into shock and likely killed him. She saved dad’s feet and his life. Had I been in charge – the result would have been so much different.
Mom knew what to do too when she was dying. She knew what to say. She continued to teach. I learned. I just wish I could have learned more. She was my role model and mentor right until the very end. God. Even on her death-bed she was my Mom. “What will I do without you, Mom?” I implored.
She replied, “I will always be with you – in your heart.”
She didn’t tell me that she would be with me in my dreams too. This – is an added bonus. I love it when she visits me in my dreams. She has hugged me so hard twice now that I have felt it in my bones. I realize my mom is always with me. She helps me to cook and I’m not really cooking all my myself. She helps me carry the burden of this cancer so I am not doing it all by myself. I remember what she did and how she did it and those lessons are lessons I carry with me now like a tool-kit. She is always with me. I am never doing things all by myself. I need her and I need those in my life who are helping me now.
I thought at first that my mom only visited me in my dreams, but she has since taught me that she is with me and beside me every step of every day. My goal? It continues to be a work in progress.