“Oh, sure. They’ve had me working since I got here.” – – my mom answering me in a dream when I asked her how if she was ok – the day after she died.
It seems hard to believe that it’s twenty-eight years ago today that you left, Mom. I still remember the holy terror of finding you dying, and yes, I still feel the guilt of not comforting you enough as you left, although I know you don’t hold it against me. I miss you. And I know that grief has its own life. I’ve never tried to rush it and I know it’s right where it needs to be, even after twenty-eight years. It will leave when it leaves.
You never got to meet Laura. She and I were dating until a few months before you left. We met at an Adult Children Of Alcoholics meeting, the same meeting my attorney friend Eric attended. Anyway, not having any clue how to settle an estate, I contacted Eric for guidance when you died. I was no longer going to the ACA meeting by that time, but Eric and Laura still were, and I still knew everybody in the group. Thus one Friday Eric made the announcement that “Michael’s mom passed away this week.” According to Eric, Laura fell to pieces. Apparently she’d had a dream that you had died. Although I was concerned for Laura’s well-being, I also felt some relief. Laura and I were not destined to be together forever. Still, the dream almost seemed like an explanation that I was needed elsewhere, that I was to become a sort of caretaker for you in the last few months of your life. If you remember, things had gone south for me financially around that time and I moved back into the old house. And it was that fitting that we made some amends those last few days. Laura and I met a year later and reconciled. I’ve not seen her for years, but we parted on good terms.
And then there was what I’ve come to think of as “The Opus Incident.” The Friday you died I was starting a weekend “angel workshop” at a local church. At the end of the night we were told to make a wish. Mine was pretty obvious: “give me a sign that she’s ok.” But nothing happened for next two days. On the following Monday I sat reading in your house, in an easy chair right by that old trophy case you had. Behind the glass was a little Opus doll I had given you one year for Christmas. Anyway, the night was extremely windy, and ironically I was reading from A Course In Miracles. At one point I heard this big “whoosh” and I turned to the picture window as if to make sure it wasn’t shattered. When I looked back, there was the Opus doll. In front of the glass. I had my sign. Know what? That scared the hell out of me. Thanks, Mom.
Long gone are the days when you would come home and excitedly tell me you saw a scary movie called “Pocket Full Of Guys.” I thought that a rather odd title, until someone else told me you had actually seen “Poltergeist.” Nice try though, Mom. But my favorite was when you told me about seeing a tear-jerker called “Bitches.” That one didn’t seem to make sense either. So I’ll let you in on a little secret now, Mom: the title was really “Beaches.”
I straggled getting to the hospital when they called to tell me you were dying. You had died the night before and came back to life on the table just like Shorty (dad). My guess is the possible future you saw just wasn’t acceptable, so you decided to make a final exit. I still remember my shock when I saw how badly the pain you were going through had contorted your face. It seemed like this horrible, frozen cry for help. And nobody was there to hold your hand through it. What I mean is I wasn’t there. The abyss I was walking into, the dreadful fear of losing both parents within two years of each other was more than I could handle. I am so sorry.
I like to think we live many incarnations. Likely we’ll both be in the same tribe again to even up karma, although time is becoming less of an illusion to me these days. I promise to be of stronger fortitude next time. Or maybe you’ve already assumed another incarnation in a parallel life. Or maybe even this one. If not I could write volumes on the insanity you averted by leaving when you did. I miss you, but I know we’ll meet again when the time is ripe. And you know what, Mom? You’re really not missing all that much. We’re all still pretty crazy.