Dreams and Flowers

A friend who moved across the country wrote recently to tell me she had two dreams during which she walked past my childhood home in her new city. Once I was with her and once I was not, but both times the details were same. Here is what she had to say:

"...big yard, almost a whole block, big three story house, post Victorian and pre modern, dark green color. There are a lot of kids living and playing there, but they are not all related. There is a business on the ground floor level: dry cleaner. The front door is open. Your mother is visible behind the counter where she is running the business and giving the children brown bag lunches masterfully and with grace and joy. She looks up intuitively when we and later I am looking at her through the door. She gives a smile and wave that are ideally, accepting, loving, welcoming and inviting."

The logistics don't match my childhood, but like many dreams, there was an intuitive truth. In my reply, I said,

"I've been thinking a lot about my mom lately. She was all of those things... accepting, loving, welcoming and inviting. I was very lucky to have known her, and I miss her tremendously."

If you've been reading UG for awhile, you know that my mother passed away about two-and-a-half years ago. Loss and grief are an inevitable part of the human experience. When she died, many friends, family members and acquaintances shared stories about their losses, and over time, I've recognized bits and pieces of those stories along my own path.

One of the revelations that I found profoundly sad after my mom died was that there would be people in my life (present and future) who would never have an opportunity to know her. I was particularly touched that my friend, who had never met my mom, understood something about her. Because dreams are often, after all, a reflection of what we already understand to be true.

And, it made me smile that, in this dream house and dream neighborhood, my mother was making sandwiches for the kids in the neighborhood. No one ever left her house hungry. 

I think I miss her most in the kitchen. I always called mom while preparing for a party to talk through some culinary detail or other. 

Today, I celebrated Mother's Day in a way that I think she would have liked. I went for a walk in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and took a few photos of the prettiest flowers. And, I made potato salad and served it in the glass tulip bowl she gave me many years ago. It's an exact match to the bowl that she used to serve her potato salad. 

These things, these small acts and observances, produced a revelation of their own--that anyone who knows me will indeed know something about her--whether or not they ever actually met. I miss those phone calls, but I also feel incredibly grateful for the presence she has left in my life. 


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