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Since I’ve been home on disability, my sleep schedule has been different. I sleep more, and I nap a lot. I also take medication every six hours (four times per day) so I have alarms set that ring every six hours. They do disturb my sleep, but I usually go right back out afterwards.  

Last night I was sitting up, reading, waiting for the last alarm to ring. I’d planned to go to bed as soon as I took my pill. For some reason, I crashed about twenty minutes before it rang. When it went off, I was so sound asleep it scared me. I woke up, heart pounding, dizzy and nauseous, and my first thought was “Where is my mother?”

I can’t explain it, but I was terrified. I sat up to pick up my medicine, and my brain was racing trying to figure out why I had no recent memories of my mother. I couldn’t remember being with her at Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t remember our last conversation. I couldn’t remember if she was in the next room or in some other house somewhere. I was a half a second away from asking my twenty-three year old son where my mother was. 

I am so glad I didn’t. He would’ve thought I’d flipped my lid. My mother has been dead for thirteen years. Of course I have no recent memories of her. She hasn’t been here. 

Our last holidays together (Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2004) are some of the happiest adult memories I have of her. She came to my house for both, she was happy and stayed for several hours both days, and she was talkative and engaging. I believe now these two happy holidays were gifts from her. I don’t know if she knew they’d be her last with us, but she made them good ones. Holidays with my nearly agoraphobic mother were not always happy days, but 2004 was. In January 2005 she had a stroke, and by March that same year, she was gone. 

I know she’s gone. I’ve accepted that and have come to terms with it. Why I thought she was still with us early this morning, I have no idea. I can only guess I was dreaming. It must have been a good dream if I missed her and wanted to find her that badly. 

My mother was once the center of my universe, and I’m assuming I was a big part of hers. She had a hard time sharing me once I began dating although she liked my hubby. She flat-out refused to share me with my husband’s family after I married. She clung to her individual time with me and refused to consider joint celebrations even though it made it hard on me when my boys were little. Looking back now and remembering how much she hated social interactions, I’m more understanding of her reticence.

I’m a little like her that way. I hate social situations, too. I can force myself to get through them, but I am usually covered in flop sweat.  They are hard for me, and I prefer to skip them, but I can do them. My mother never got past her aversion.  She used to tell me she was proud of me and she could never do what I do (interact with others for work and social reasons). She never wanted to or had to.

I was devastated, of course, when she died.  She was all that was good, kind and gentle. She never swore, and she was always a lady. Two things I can’t say about myself. She was also intensely private and shared nothing. Also something I can’t say about myself. I like to think I got the better “soft” parts of her and added in my own sass and attitude.

I’m glad my mother still visits (and socializes) in my dreams. I miss you, Mom. Say hi to Dad. 

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