Since my mother’s death, I’ve dreamed about her a couple of times. Once, very soon after, she was alive, much younger, and standing in front of me. She was with my father. That’s all I remember. All of the times since, though, I’ve been dreaming of her funeral. Of her casket, draped in an off-white pall. Or last night, of people hugging me over and over at her funeral, and her urn sitting in a shopping bag, waiting for me to take it home.
It’s amazing how, two months later, it still doesn’t feel real. It just feels like I’ve forgotten to call. Like her number is going to pop up on my work phone caller ID any minute now. How is that possible?
I opened a piece of mail yesterday addressed to her. Another outstanding bill from a medical company. This one, though, was for about $30, and referenced a request she submitted to have a copy of some of her medical records. The first page looked like a normal invoice, but the second and third pages were copies of paperwork she filled out on 3/5. Ten days before she died. Ironically, my wife’s and my anniversary.
She didn’t list a reason for requesting them, but her handwriting, her signature, the copy of her driver’s license shook me harder than I had anticipated. Shook her right into my dreams again.
Most of the mail doesn’t do that. Some of it makes me laugh – the Latina magazines (wtf), the Catholic Virginian (is it sacrilegious to use them as paper when I start my charcoal grill?), and the letter reminding her that it’s time for her annual mammogram.
It’s just amazing how grief becomes a part of you. How it settles in, make a nest, and taints every day thoughts and actions. I accept the grief, the sadness. It doesn’t make it any more comfortable, though. I know the acceptance is part of grieving. The surrendering to the pain, the discomfort, and the pangs that make my eyes well with tears. The hollowness always sitting in the pit of my stomach.
Every day is different. Some days are better – filled with laughter and joy, smiling and eagerness to go home, cook dinner, sing songs and dance with RR in the kitchen after a family walk around the block with the dog in a rainstorm. Some days are worse – where I sit thinking, “What is wrong with me today?” When my work calendar is clear, the sun is shining, the promise of a long weekend with good friends is hours away. But I still feel hungry. But not for food. For my mom. For her voice. For her hugs. For her nagging me to come visit soon. For her asking about RR and sending unsolicited boxes of clothes and toys.
It’s only when the world stops moving long enough, that the weight of my grief sits on my chest. It doesn’t care if it’s sunny or raining. If I’m at work or at home. It does get a little lighter each time. I guess that’s something, right?