Soon after my mom died, I received a handwritten letter from my father-in-law. It read:
“I write to share something with you that you may find intriguing and consoling after the passing of your mom. This message was sent to me by a musician friend right after my dad died. He told me this information is invariably perfectly true and I could count on it. He was right. He told me to pass this message on in the future to people who would need it, and I have.
“Here’s the good news: In your dreams, your mom will always appear to you just as you want her to. I’ve found this to be completely true in my case. Completely. And it has been a relief to me. I know you’ll be well pleased when you find this is true for you. You know something that only the bereaved know. I guess it’s a sign of experience, growth, and maturity. Pass this comfort along to others in the future.”
Interestingly, it took about a month before I had my first dream about my mom, and I’ve only had two or three total, but in them, she was just as vibrant as could be; she wasn’t shackled by illness or worn down from life taking too hard of a toll on her.
I find one of the hardest parts about her being gone is not being able to tell her things or ask her random questions that I know she’d know the answer to. In fact, on the day of her memorial service, one of her former co-workers came, and I talked to her for probably 10 minutes, and she was just so broken up about my mom’s death that she was crying and I ended up having to comfort her instead of the other way around, and I found this so incredibly touching. At one point later that night, I actually had the thought: “Oh, I’m going to have to call Mom and tell her that I saw [Former Co-Worker] today and how she went on and on about how great she is.” But alas, that’s a phone call that can never be made. It feels like such unfinished business that I’m unable to do that.
This morning I had another vivid dream about her. I was traveling out of town and ran across her and my dad in an airport or somewhere similar. In my dream she had indeed died but she was able to come back and chat with those of us left behind, so I finally had my chance to tell her all those things I’ve been wanting to tell her. I finally had an answer to all of those unanswered questions. I went to a nearby grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup restaurant and brought back lunch for us and we just sat and got caught up with each other. We could talk matter-of-factly and without sadness about the fact that she died, and she told me that she was indeed aware of everything that had gone on at her memorial service, including the fact that The Former Co-Worker and I had talked for a bit. Overall it was a happy dream; I felt very content when I first woke up, though that was replaced soon with the realization that it was just a dream and such an interaction is no longer possible.
It’s been almost two months since she died. I don’t really cry about it. And overall I do feel a sense of peace about everything, even still. But there’s definitely something missing. A piece of me is no longer here, and its absence is felt greatly, even in little ways. People say she’s watching down on me, but I’m not sure I believe that. People say I’ll see her again eventually when my own time here has expired, but I can’t say I really believe that either. What I do know is that I do feel a sense of comfort when she returns to me in my dreams, looking and acting just as I want her to appear to me, and that’s going to have to be good enough from here on out.