Saturday, December 13, 2008

Second chances

I had a dream last night that our van was in our backyard, on fire. The wind was blowing this way and we were afraid the flames would reach our house. We were scrambling around trying to get everyone out - and yet, didn't know how we'd be able to leave without the van. Once I knew the kids were safe outside, I started panicking about the things I needed to save. The journal I kept during the time Steve and I dated. The box of mementos I keep for each child in their first year (hospital bracelets, cards we got when they were born). Photo albums. I was running around the house trying to grab everything. In the dream, I told myself that I wished I'd done things differently...had a big trunk where I keep all those things in one place. Then I could just save the box and have our most important possessions inside.

Then, the fire stopped. Dreams are strange, because I don't know how the fire stopped. Firemen? Just on its own? Who knows. But I breathed this huge sigh of relief that I got a second chance to go out and buy that trunk and gather up our belongings in case anything ever happened again.

When I woke up and sifted through the dream, I knew immediately that it was mirroring my feelings about my mom. Since she's been on rocky ground, when we were sure we were losing her in the near future, I started my mental lists of these things I would have said to her. We've decided to leave on Tuesday now, and there are hopes that she'll be lucid enough to hear me - even if she can't completely respond. I have a chance to say those things now, regardless of what these next few weeks might bring.

I can show her the pictures Jack made her. And the potholder he decorated with fabric markers and wrote (in his 4-year-old spelling): "Jack md you"...which translates to "Jack made this for you." The shadowbox I made her for Christmas. I can sit next to her and tell her how glad I am she was my mom, and all the great things she passed on to me. People shouldn't just have those things said at eulogies, but they don't always make sense in the day-to-day. Now that the "fire" has stopped for the near future, I get a chance not everyone gets.

Knowing we have that chance to do things differently makes the uncertainty ahead easier to manage.

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