She came to me in a dream and told me everything would be okay. In my dream she was about forty and I was eight. Only a boy, full of brown hair and dimples, and she stood above me with an able body and sturdy eyes. To see her this way was comforting. It was as if she was there, standing before me, assuring me that I was safe and that she was still here. She was close.
My mother, who held a family together through a thousand tears, a million smiles, and hundreds of lies now stood before me in a dream. We once needed to lie to one another until I was old enough to tell the truth and she was old enough to accept the pain. However, in my dream, she was pain free, both physically and emotionally, and our past was just that, the past. It was meant to be left behind and somehow, in the field that we stood in, below an old oak tree, where a field of butterflies was greeted by the sunset, we stood together. She looked down on her baby boy and took his hand, guiding him through the tall prairie grass to the edge of a dirt road. My mother then stopped, smiling at me, telling me, “It is yours to decide,” as she gestured to the left or right. “It is your time to choose which path you wish to follow.”
We stood close, I clenched her hand tight and leaned into her hips, wanting to hold on, never letting go of her. Yet, she gave me a nudge. She told me that I must leave her and go and live my life. “You are a man now,” she said, “It is time for you to live the life you have set out to follow.” I looked down at my hands and they were larger, my arms had veins in them and were muscled from lifting a thousand painful memories. I looked down at her, still holding her hand. Her face was now old. It was wrinkled and her eyes held the beast of time. However, there was strength, a familiar determination in her eyes that she kept for a lifetime. She let go of my hand, “Promise me that you will never forget that you are my wild boy. Promise me that you will make a noise so fierce that I will hear it all the way to heaven. Be brave and save your moments because life is made of moments that too many forget. Bring meaning to your life and everything you do. Love that girl of yours because I know that she is what matters to you most.”
It was then that I started to walk down the road, choosing the path that seemed less worn. At this same time, my mother walked back through the field towards the old oak tree.
I woke up and felt the cool night air in my room. I reached over to see if she was there, my love, Karen, and I gently touched the curve in her hips. I was back. I had returned from my dream, fully awake, realizing that I had a life to live. I knew then that I would do what my mother said and love that girl of mine. She was my purpose. She is my breath and she is my awakened dream. It is love that keeps me wanting more life and more breath. I want to feel everything deeply, from emotions to the touch of familiar skin.
I have not dreamed of my mother since. She has come to me when I write. She has come to me when I listen to her voice and walk the wooded trails. The honest truth, I believe she has moved on. She has done what she said she would do and came into this world again. One day, she will be a mother, holding a dimpled boy who will become her everything, and he will look at her with love. I believe, I have to believe, that I will someday see her again. I will walk into a small cafe and see a woman and a brown haired boy looking at one another with love, and she will glance my way. She will see the familiarity in my old blue eyes and know it is me. She will know I was once someone she cared for deeply and then I will move on. I will go home to that girl I have loved since I was fifteen and once again be grateful for the life I have been given. Thankful for the life that my mother gave me, hoping that I earned my time here on earth. Perhaps, there will be a time where I will dream once again and my mother will appear, giving me direction and the choice of which road to follow.
I will make her proud by being myself. The man she helped shape and create. The man who lives life by his own terms, never sacrificing his virtues. I will be me.