I had a terrible dream last night.
In the dream, I haven’t been home to visit my parents for four years. In the dream, they are still living at the house on Braemar (the one we moved into in 1977, the one before they downsized in 2004). In the dream, they are both as sick as they were before they died. My dad after his stroke, unwinding with bladder cancer. My mom shrinking from pancreatic cancer. I haven’t been home for 4 years and the realization happens as I am sitting in my car (which I don’t have anymore). In the dream, I choke on panic and try to open the car door, but it so heavy as if pushing against water. I finally get out and start running up Lonsdale… but it is like wading through mud and I am screaming at the top of my lungs but there is no sound. I keep calculating in my head obsessively- it’s been 9 years and 4 months since mom passed away. It’s been 5 years and 4 months since Dad died. It’s been 15 years since we moved from the Sunshine Coast… I keep lining up all the pets that have passed, calculating, calculating. The crushing panic of not having visited mom and dad is drowning me…
I woke soaked in sweat.
I sit here now at the kitchen table…
… staring at a package of letters.
I received the package in Dec 2013.
The first letter written 50 years ago this year:
And I have managed to only get through one since receiving them. For though the letters are likely optimistic, I know my mother’s pain. And I am preparing, now that it is 9 years and 4 months since mom passed away. It’s been 5 years and 4 months since Dad died. It’s been 15 years since we moved from the Sunshine Coast… 50 years since we first moved here from Sweden, 40 years since we came back… preparing to finally to process my grief about mom by translating those letters. My relationship with my mom was extraordinary and complicated.
As I start to work through the pile at last, I feel the (re)connection to my heritage. The THOUGHTS and MEMORIES contained in those letters, in my DNA, are now ready to surface.
The other day I found a photo in the big family mish-mash photo box. I don’t recall ever seeing it before. My mom and dad look happy and at peace.
What about the dream? In reality, I did caregive for mom and dad as best as I could. In reality, I saw them almost every day. They were my partners in crime on the Molly project, which is entering it’s 15th year and which is entering a new exciting phase.
Maybe the dream was some kind of cleansing.
A gift from mom and dad to let me know they are OK, and that I am OK, and that I am free now to flow with the current. I made it.