I walked into my mom’s little apartment and scanned the room. It looked exactly the same as it had 12 years ago. I looked over to the kitchen table. I stood, stunned, silent. My mom was sitting at the table talking with my son, who was eating something covered with ketchup. I walked over to my son who was laughing and talking now to me, about who knows what. Something ketchup related I think. I don’t really recall. I was so caught up in just looking at him. I kept staring at his little face.
“I remember! I remember! How do I remember him so clearly looking 4 years old?”
I knew I was in a dream. I knew my son was now 23 years old. Yet his face, his smile, it was exactly the same as when he was 4. I cleaned up his small hands as my mom walked to the kitchen. Her back was to me. I was scared to talk. I was scared if I spoke she would disappear. I waited to see if she would say anything. She didn’t. Still knowing I was in a dream. Still knowing my mom died 12 years ago I walked over to her. I just stood there. Her back still to me.
I thought, what am I doing here if she isn’t going to talk to me?
I turned, walked back, and sat in the kitchen chair.I looked at her still waiting for her words of wisdom.
She said nothing.
Finally, I screamed out, Mom I just miss you so much!
Without turning around I heard a voice. It wasn’t her. It was a man. He said, “She is in the room with you right now.”
I woke up to the sound of my own voice. “She is in the room with me right now?”
I looked around the dark room. I deeply wanted to go back to my dream. Be there for just another minute. Hear her voice. Just see her even if she didn’t talk. But in that moment a sense of peace came over me.
I started to wonder, was that her heaven? Her little grandson at 4 years old laughing covered in ketchup. Just hanging with grandma in her small apartment? Did I just walk into my moms heaven? Or maybe, just maybe, I just walked into mine.
I remember the first time I wasn’t sad after my mom passed. I remember thinking “Hey, I had a good day today.” Then some days strung together. A good week. I know I still miss her and I know some days are worse than others. As the seasons change and it becomes “holiday season” I know I can enjoy the holiday but I also know it’s different now. These are the times I miss her most. I know there are others out there like me, missing someone they love this holiday season. Or maybe it’s just a bad day. I want you to know, you’re not alone.
We might not see them. But they are in our hearts. They are in our thoughts and memories. They are with us.