Monday, June 15, 2009

Family Reunion Special Guests edition

My family and close friends of my parents (father & step mum) are gathering weekend after next in a 50th wedding anniversary/family reunion event in Ocean Grove that is sure to bring my parents joy, their grandchildren delight, and for those of us in the middle, a memorable mix of roles and reactions.

What I expect: some tension, mosquitoes, and an unexpected heat wave competing with my own daily hot flashes. Pack two swimsuits and plenty of tee shirts. What I also expect are moments where I think how lucky I am to be part of this crazy creative smart snappy snappish warm and unpredictable clan.

What I didn't expect, the dreams I am having for those who would like to attend but are otherwise unable to appear.

Last night I was talking to my daughter Natalie. Which isn't odd since she was here for a visit. This talk however was happening while I was sleeping. As we talked about her upcoming acting apprentice year in Louisville, I noticed someone appear behind her right shoulder, at first in silhouette and then, yes, oh my god, it was my mother! My mother looking good, before the cancer whittled her, a glowing 35, and she had her delighted proud grin. Natalie noticed I was no longer making eye contact.

"What are you looking at Ma?"
"Can't you see her? It's my mother, your grandmother, she's right behind you." And my mother could see us both, had been enjoying our conversation.
Natalie couldn't see her. But I stepped over and gave mom a huge hug. And even in my dream state I could smell the familiar mix of gardening mulch, lightly sweaty skin, and marlboro smoke in the weave of her cambric shirt. I could feel her warm solid body.
I had so much I wanted to say, to ask, but as soon as I started to be aware this was Only a Dream it faded away.

When we all woke up I told Natalie the dream. She said, "I have a dream to tell you, I've had it several times. Just as I doze off I can sometimes enter a meditative state. I come to a place that is a huge grassy plain. There is cloudy light everywhere, it is a feeling of whiteness. I arrive alone. Then off in the distance I see two small figures. I am not afraid. They come closer and closer and then I see they are Grandma Helen and her mother Great Grandma Rose. They smile and tell me how happy they are to see me. I am happy too but also weirded out and want to go and I tell them this. They say it is OK. They are glad to see me, anyway. We hug. Then I leave. I've had this dream during tough times. Once I had it after our building burned down, another time after our babysitter Pat died and she came with the grandmothers and I felt less odd with her because I had really known her in life. I think they are protective spirits."

"Well next time you see them, don't be afraid, give them my love, talk awhile if you can. They both would have been delighted by you, they each did community theater and wrote plays... and at least Grandma Rose got to hold you when you were a newborn..."

At this point Natalie and I are both crying.

I wonder who else didn't get an invitation? No doubt they will let me know.


Caitlin Allen said...

Doh, sweet stuff mama. Guess I missed out on visits from the beyond.

Deborah Atherton said...

Nice to have such timely - and cheerful - visitors! And Caitlin shouldn't worry - I'm sure they'll drop by soon enough.

Lovely piece, Claudia.