Posted by: wrmcnutt | April 17, 2009

Mom Came to Me In A Dream

I ran into my Mom about a week after she died.

Don’t bother calling the Amazing Randi – it was only in a dream.  I felt kind of like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. “My mother came to me in a dream . . .”  Okay – it was one of Mom’s favorite musicals, and she’s been on my mind lately.

At the time, I wasn’t aware that I was dreaming.  It was, without exception, the most vivid dream I can remember ever having. I was hiking on the coast.  It looked like the Atlantic coast.  None of your bright blue, crystal clear waters of the Pacific or Gulf coast.  No, these waters were dark and the surf was a little rough. I came over a rise and looked down across a small inlet where the surf was breaking on the rocks.  Up a steep hill from the rocky beach was one of those old hotels.  Built sometime near the turn of the nineteenth century, it was made of stone, with many windows and a slate roof.  It was three stories tall, and towered over the little inlet.

In retrospect, that’s very odd.  Mom was the last in a very long line of Southern aristocrats.  She was born in Fulton Country Georgia, within a few miles of the old Fulton County stadium.  If she cut herself, she bled peach juice.  It’s very strange to think that I would see her in a Yankee hotel.

The hotel stood above a set of terraced gardens that led up from the boat dock down by the shore.  I climbed down from my rise and walked around the inlet and looked up from the dock.  There, three terraces up was my mother, walking back and forth. Her aspect was that of about three years ago.  She was quite elderly, but her appetite was still good, and she didn’t look like a holocaust survivor.  I was startled, because she had passed away a week ago, and I couldn’t understand how she could be there. (It didn’t occur to me to ask what the heck I was doing hiking around a Yankee hotel in the middle of nowhere.)

I started to climb up the terraces to talk to her, when I ran into my sister.  (Shea’s still alive, BTW) We met and spoke a little about the nature of ghosts, and current theories about spirits that continue to walk the earth.  Apparently, some people believe that sufficiently strong personalities can somehow imprint themselves on their environment.  These same folks believe the sufficiently sensitive people can see these imprints as a sort of echo of the departed.  I left my sister and climbed up to look at Mom’s “echo.”

As I reached the terrace she was walking on, she neared my end of the garden, and turned and spoke to me.  As she turned, her aspect changed to the one I have of her in my head.  Rather than the elderly lady of recent years, she took on the aspect I remember from my youth.  Dark hair, full lips, and a firm attitude.  She spoke to me briefly, and told me that we were not to worry about her.  She spoke for a while, and I really regret that I don’t remember everything that she said, but the most important thing she said was that she was fine.  The afterlife wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, but she was doing all right. When she was done, she left.  As she turned away, her aspect changed a third time.  She looked like the young woman in her pre-wedding pictures.

I lost track of the dream after that.  There was a little coda to this experience.  When I told my sister about it, she said she’d heard from Mom on the very same night.  She, however, dreamed that she had gotten a phone call from Mom, who said that the she wasn’t happy where she was, and that Shea was to come get her.  Shea was a little miffed.  I got the “pat – pat –everything’s-ok” dream.  She got a errand.  Now, I’m pretty sure that my experience was just my subconscious processing my grief. If I had to guess, Shea was probably feeling a little guilty for leaving Mom’s ashes at the funeral home.  She was trying to save a trip and pick up the cremains when the death certificates were ready.  That explains everything except that we both dreamed of Mom on the same night.  Just when I’ve got everything nice and rationalized, that strikes me as a little spooky.

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  1. I don’t know what this says about my dreaming (and not remembering my dreams much). My mom sent a message to me via a psychic who did a reading for a co-worker. Ailene came in with the message (basically I’m alright, etc.) and was a little disturbed that Mom sent it via her. But I know it was real, and yes it did spook me a bit.

    And you will be processing this grief for a while. It will come up at the strangest times.

  2. I’m curious (compulsive skeptic). How did you know that it was real?

  3. I often dream of a women, and for years did not know who she was until I saw photos af my mothers mother when she was very young, she died before my birth…… which would seem insignificant except she had a dream about a grandchild……….she told my mom she would have a girl, and my name would be Lauralee……….mom didn;t believe her, cause 13 years no birth control, you’d have thought a baby would have appeared………turns out mom was pregnant with me and didn;t even know it yet!

    Great images, got a kick out of the bleeds peach juice comment………tell your sister, mom’s tend to give daughters errands, its not a slight, just a fact!

  4. You’ve caused me to remember:

    While pregnant with Rose I had a *really* bad first trimester. I’m sure I’ve told it, but to review: miscarriage scare, three separate virii caught that all together threw me into hyperemesis. I lost a serious amount of weight in no more than two weeks and was getting really sick. I was so sick that I counted it getting better when I could maintain intake of ~500 calories a day. B was taking a lot of time off of work to take care of me because I needed help to sit up in the bed, much less to get out of it. We were about at wits’ end and this was before we even got to Meg’s needs.

    Then one sunny afternoon in the middle of the worst bit, the sun slanted in the bedroom and through two maiden great-aunts, both teachers of young children and the only dead people that I have ever known and lost from amongst my mother’s family, and a man in a white wood rocker the corner of the room who said maybe two words consisting of “Mm.” and “Mmhm,” all the while maintaining what was alternately a shotgun and a stout stick across the arms of the chair or his knees. He wore a well-wore pair of coveralls, a plaid shirt, and what were obviously shoes meant to see work. Had hair like my Grandpa but he never said enough for me to see if he actually sounded like Grandpa.

    We all had a period of conversation and they reminded me to take a drink of water every now and then while we talked about Meg. I got the impression that Rocker Man was tolerating my gabble because I was obviously out of my head. B walked in and shocked the maiden aunts a bit with his state of dress. Rocker man just looked annoyed and looked off elsewhere, his grunt distinctly telling the two women that they were, after all, in the bedroom of married folk.

    B was a little disturbed at my state when I reported their dismay. I noticed that he had put on more clothes before he came back through.

    Later, and even while I was in converse with them, I was aware that I was at least partially delirious in that I-should-be-concerned-but-I-can’t-be-bothered way of the pretty seriously sick. I called Momma (since she’s a nurse) a while afterward when I was back up on the upswing and she agreed that it was most likely caused by all the illness but even she got rattled when I told her about Rocker Man. Evidently I was describing to a tee my great-grandfather McCafferty, who had died before I was born . The only picture that I’ve seen of the man is from the neck up.

    I dunno, weird things happen in our heads. Who knows what we halfway remember and what goes on in those parts of our brain that we somehow don’t use.

  5. […] Mom Came to Me In A Dream […]

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