Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Mother’s New Appearance


My mother, dead five months now, surprised me by floating through my dream this predawn morning, wearing remarkable clothes she never wore in life.

In a large gathering of familiar people at a once-grand, now-tired hotel, I glimpsed her sometimes as my dream-plot unfolded. She wore flowing silks (or maybe rayon) in bright, large florals—a tunic outfit, once, as she threaded her way through the lobby to the big banquet room, and later an ankle-length dress, an updated 1920s style with a dropped waist. The dress was a few sizes too big for her little body, but she had put on a bit of weight since she died.

For the last 30 years, my mother lived in blue jeans and plain cotton blouses, never tucked in, and that’s what she was buried in. For church and special occasions, she had two pairs of trousers and a couple of dressier blouses, plus a pants suit. My mother despised dresses, and on the rare occasion when she wore one in the ’60s and ’70s, they were shapeless and ugly.

She wore an awful knee-length A-line polyester dress, in an orange and navy geometric print, for her 25th wedding anniversary celebration with my father. She sewed an undistinguished floor-length polyester dress for my evening wedding in 1977. I tried to get her into clothing that fitted her curvy shape, but she wouldn’t have any of it. I wonder if she was motivated by dislike of her body (which she had expressed to me a time or two) or simply comfort.

I smiled to see her in my dream wearing those eye-catching bold floral designs in fluid, clinging fabrics. Oddly, she accompanied a lady friend wearing the exact same clothes. The sight of the two them, dressed alike, made me pause in my dream to marvel and wonder why. But I didn’t speak to my mother until later in the plot, and then it was a curious encounter.

I had gone into my hotel room to attend to some private mission, and I noticed as I closed the door that its lock was broken. That made me uneasy, vulnerable and fearful that someone would intrude. And sure enough, my mother opened my door and stood in the doorway, wearing that ankle-length dress. Behind her in the hallway was a shadow of that companion dressed like her.

I repudiated her immediately. I didn’t know if her mind was fully restored to its pre-Alzheimer’s existence but I gave her no chance to talk. I didn’t want her to witness what I was doing. My response to her standing in my doorway was along the lines of “Excuse me! Please leave! And shut the door behind you!”

And without any ado, she turned around and went out. I noticed then that her dress, which was a pastel aqua with an enormous floral pattern, was slightly too large for her, being loose around the hips. It was an eye-catching, attractive dress, but she needed at least one size smaller.

Then I remembered she had died. I felt a little guilty for sending her out, but mostly pleased because of her clothing, and then I dismissed her from my mind because she wasn’t important to my plot.

I wonder what dreams are about sometimes. I wonder if they’re significant or simply imaginative random adventures our brains spin in sleep. Part of me wants to ask questions about the whys and wherefores of this particular dream, but the other, more influential part of me says that’s inviting paralysis by analysis. Simply enjoy the curious dream and let myself smile about my mother’s new style of clothes.


23 comments:

The Bug said...

I'm fascinated by dreams where my mother shows up. I remember one a year or so after she had died - she was wanting me to help her get an apartment in Boone NC (they lived in Hickory) because she knew that my father had remarried. Originally she had planned to just move back in with him but decided it wouldn't work. It was a very curious dream - although I'm sure it's pretty easy to interpret!

Hope said...

Dreams are fascinating to me.
My sponsor helped me dissect one once and it was very interesting.
Most of the time dreams don't mean a whole lot to me but once in a while I wake from a dream knowing it contains a message for me.

Helen said...

Oh Chris ... I still dream about my mother, it's been over three years. I believe dreams are significant .. it's just figuring out the signifance that's difficult. I enjoyed your post SO much!

Titus said...

Agree wholeheartedly with the paralysis by analysis. Dreams are more than a different country.
Fascinating details in this one.

C.M. Jackson said...

dreams are amazing--this was wonderful in its detail and color--I hope you are feeling better-c

Karen said...

I absolutely love to dreams of friends and family who are gone. It is comforting to see them again. A wonderful visitation, I think.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

I've missed reading you but I had healing to do for myself and now am back...but I most certainly missed you!!!!

I believe when loved ones show up in dreams they are telling us that wherever they are they miss us and love us too...I have found that when I dream of those I've lost they tend to be in a more outlandish place or circumstance than in life, so that maybe I will pay attention...
Love to you
G

Gwei Mui said...

Great post - clothing I seem to recall is supposedly meant to represent public appearance. Dreaming of your Mother is supposedly a representaion of one's own nuturng aspect - (who knows whether it is or it isn't!)

I have never dreamt of a Mother either adoptive or blood mother, strange isn't it

Mrsupole said...

Sometimes I can remember my dreams and other times I cannot or I just remember them for a few minutes. It is good to dream of those who are no longer with us, or at least I think so, because it keeps them near us and somehow they continue to be a part of our life.

Sometimes, maybe they control our dreams without our knowledge and it is how they visit us. Maybe it is their way of letting us know that they are okay. Either way, dreams are something that is very necessary for us to survive, without dreams we die. I love happy dreams and hate scary dreams, but I think that most people feel the same way.

Dreams are wonderful in many ways. I hope I continue to dream and visit those who have moved on.

God bless.

Marion said...

This was a lovely, reassuring visit from your mom, telling you she's just fine and doing and wearing different things than she was accustomed to in her life.When my parents died, first one, then the other very quickly after that...I would have dreams where they looked young, healthy and happy.I loved those dreams...they were such a comfort!

They've both appeared a few times since then...always looking younger than I remember seeing them when they were alive! I don't try and figure those out...like you, I just enjoy them.

Georgina Dollface said...

Such vivid and exquisite detail in your dream. I don't know why we dream, all I know is that I can't function properly in my waking hours if I don't dream at night. It's like my head is rounding everything up, organizing it and trying to make my daytime life make sense. All I can do is watch and wonder. - G

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

dreams are such fascinating things! It's kinda cool how the spirit lives on and moves so fluidly and interestingly through them! :)

Totalfeckineejit said...

What an interesting occurence and so vivid! I never recall dreams in such detail, if at all! It must have been nice to see your mum though.I'm sure the dream could be explained but I think dreams, like poems, lose their magic if dissected.
I just hope it was a comfort to you, Chris.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Funny but I've just remembered that I only dreamt once of my Dad after he died (I was 16)but I can still recall some of the details of it and I have the worst memory in the world.
Strange.

Magpie said...

She was like a butterfly born...free from her chrysalis of Alzheimer's.
Nothing more is important. :)

Carrie Burtt said...

To me dreams like this can be like a gift....i have had manh dreams of my Dad....where it is so real and he is right there talking to me....he has been gone for almost 20 years now....when i have those dreams it is bittersweet...but always a gift. :-)

Syd said...

I have a lot of dreams about dead relatives. Sometimes my mother is there and sometimes my father. The ones with my father are uneasy dreams. I also dream about large hotels with meandering hallways and toilets overflowing. I can only guess what that means. I still have shit to deal with!

big Jenn said...

I think your mom came to see you, to visit. Perhaps the dress was something she never felt good enough about herself in life to do, or maybe to show you how beautiful it is in the spirit realm.

Woman in a Window said...

I don't know about intention but what has happened is that I, in turn, feel as though I have been visited by your mother. Somehow I feel a part of a great mystery. It feels wonderful. It feels enough.

I'm so happy. Isn't that odd? I feel very happy for this and am gladened that you were about your own business. That has to bode well.

xo
erin

Scott said...

felt as if I were accompanying you in your dream... I've had a few strange encounters lately too. I wonder whats up, why... then I move on, like you.

TechnoBabe said...

Dreams aren't always the same thing at least not for me. Sometimes I learn things from a dream, and then other times I have to get rid of a bad thought or feeling that comes to me in a dream. Maybe it was something I refused to acknowledge except in a dream. How cool for you to have a dream about your mom and to end up with some questions about how much it may mean. That in itself is enough of a reason to enjoy your dream.

Jinksy said...

I think dreams mean whatever we feel they mean! If your Mum's clothes gave you a smile, than that's an image which made you think of her fondly, I'd say, which can't be bad...

Marla said...

I wait for the dreams of my parents. They are gifts that seem to come unexpected and unannounced with no rhyme or reason. When they do show up, here and there, I always wake feeling just a bit more healed and whole.

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