They say grief never disappears, it just changes. I've found that to be true, even though there are still times it's so overwhelming it doesn't feel like it's changed at all. Today I woke up to the best possible kind.
Since Mama got sick, I've been tormented by terrible dreams: dreams that had me delving back into them upon waking so that I can change the outcome; dreams that haunted my days; dreams full of images I can't possible describe, but are worse than any horror film I've seen. I usually wake up anxious or crying, unsure of what is real, and unable to move on with my day.
I don't get them as often anymore, but when I do, they are terrible. And the doubt they create seeps into my waking life. Did I do everything I could have? Did I forget about something in the house? Did I handle the animals in the best way? Waking up to one of these can easily take over the next couple of days of my life.
So today when I awoke with a smile, I knew it was something to cherish. I dreamt about Mama. I didn't dream about her death or all of the horrible things I had to deal with during that time. I didn't dream about starving dogs or secret doors in the house full of important family heirlooms. I didn't dream about my mom slowly leaving this world. My dreams were filled with time with her. I don't recall what it was exactly, but I know that I spent my night talking with my Mom. I woke up knowing she was just on the other side of my closed eyes and if I could only fall back to sleep maybe I could stay in touch with just the essence of her. I woke up feeling like we'd just walked into different rooms, and I could go back in any time.
And for once, the realization that it was a dream didn't detract from the joy. There's still a wave of grief, sure, but I got to spend what felt like hours with my mom. And that fills me with love and serenity in a way I haven't felt since she died.
Thank you, Mama, for the gift of a little time with you.