Someone asked me recently if I'd had any dreams about my mother. An interesting question. At the time, I hadn't had any.
Then a few came, peaceful dreams that left a small smile on my face. In one, my mother and I were in the kitchen preparing food to serve to a guest. It was so normal and real and actually comforted me.
This afternoon, I had a dream that woke me up, gasping to breathe. I felt an excruciating pain in my chest from grief and sorrow and sadness. I hurt so badly. I rolled to my side and breathed slowly until it lifted a bit. When I finally stood up, I thought I was going to fall over. But things settled down, emotions tucked back in, and I functioned well enough the rest of the evening.
The funny thing is, I can't even remember the details of the dream. I know that in it, I had to face my mother's passing as if it had just happened. Maybe all of the raw emotions still lurking underneath the surface are making their way out.
There are moments when I feel a punch in the gut from the realization that my mother is really gone. It happens suddenly.
I broke down sobbing in a department store because I was being rushed while shopping by other family members. That's one thing my mother never did - when she took me shopping (which she used to do often), she was very thorough in making sure we looked at everything we wanted to look at. She never rushed me.
Driving by a hospital the other day, I couldn't look at the building. Too many sad memories of visiting her in the hospital multiple times a day.
The item that I brought back from my parents' home that made me cry harder than anything else was my mother's fabric covered canister that held her loose tea. We used to sit and chat while sipping Japanese green tea. I have it tucked away until I'm ready to bring it back out and to allow the memories to flow.
I've taken a lot of heat over the years from my family for being the expressive one. They've often spoken of it in derogatory ways. But I know that God gave me a voice and the ability to speak up for a special purpose. And it never meant more to me than in the final hour before my mother passed. When everyone else was silent and still, I was able to tell her I loved her and kiss her and lean in really close to catch her last breath. I'll forever treasure those moments I spent with her. God's presence with us was so strong and tangible. And He's here with me now, throughout this time of mourning and processing and letting go. I think that's what always strikes me as being so amazing about God - His gentle and strong presence in the midst of difficult times. He really is an ever-present help in times of trouble and need. He's ever-present in our lives period. He's here.