“What’s wrong. What are you doing?” she said, looking at me confused. “Why are you waking me up?”
“Because, it’s time to go to bed. You can’t stay on the couch all night,” I said. “Sorry, I know you’re tired.”
“I was having the most amazing dream. I wish you wouldn’t have woke me up,” she said, sitting up on the old, orange couch where she often slept after supper.
“What was it about?” I asked, sitting down near her feet.
“I was a little girl and I was at my grandma’s farm. I used to love to go there. My grandma was so sweet. And she always smelled so good, like her homemade soap,” she said. “In the dream, she and I were out on the porch at night looking up at the stars. We often used to do that when I went there.”
“What a great memory to have.”
“Yes, and then I went for a walk down the laneway and out onto the road. I knew I had gone too far and I was a little scared because I was out there by myself,” she said. “And, at the same time, I knew that there was nothing to be afraid of. Grandma was still on the porch, calling me home.”
“I’m sorry I woke you up.”
“Me, too,” she said. “I was almost home.”
“Almost home? But you don’t live there, Mom,” I said.
“Yes. I was almost Home. With a capital H. I’ll be there when you come.”
It’s rare for me to dream of my Mom, though I often wish to. But she was there in my dream with words of comfort this morning in the wee hours. I think she stays away from my dreams on purpose. Because she knows how bitter sweet it is. How it is that you don’t lose the people you love on the day they die. You lose them, little by little, over and over again, each day after. When little things like an early-morning dream cause your heart to both swell with the possibilities and break, over the impossibilities, at the same time.
I felt her so powerfully around me all day yesterday as I wandered through my day. I spent a good deal of it poking around looking at flowers and plants, one of her favourite Saturday things to do. She had a green thumb. It happens to be the one thing I didn’t get from her. Despite Herculean efforts on my part, plants are still showing up at my house to die.
In the weird and ever-evolving circumstances of these strange days, I have said many a prayer of silent thanks that my Mom isn’t here. It would have been hard on her. She’d have been glued to some 24-hour news station, wondering whether the world is going to hell in a handbasket. And, it would’ve been hard knowing that her chemo-ravaged immune system was a sneeze away from taking her life. She fought too hard to go out like that.
No, on this day, I am thankful that she is safe and warm and loved. At Home.