If you don't believe in the afterlife then this blog won't speak to you. You may not understand this, but most of my writing ideas come to me by way of dreams. Indigenous people believe that messages are given to us by way of the dream world.
I had a dream about an old friend. It was so clear…she was so clear to me. She and I were talking like old times and as though no time had passed but in reality we hadn’t talked in over eight years. She always told be to not feel guilty for a friendship that ended and to always remember the good times. And I do. She was always a force to be reckoned with. Either you liked her or you didn’t. But to me, she fulfilled the mother role. I learned so many valuable skills and general knowledge from her. She taught me to make the perfect chicken curry with only four ingredients. Surprisingly, I could make this on a camp stove and it was an invaluable recipe while I was backpacking…but she knew it would be. Have you ever had rice stuck to the bottom of a pot? Well I have. One day while I was trying to scrub rice off the bottom of the pot, she said to me,
“Why don’t you just soak the pot in cold water? The rice will just come off on its own then."
In-freaking-genius. She was Martha Stewart before there was a Martha Stewart.
was how she would greet me…and I loved it. She was so funny and her laugh infectious. If she laughed, you were laughing. Her Halloween parties were a celebration of her life as it was her birthday. It takes an incredible person to share a birthday with Halloween. She was a creative soul. One day, she asked me what type of an outfit she could sew for me. Without a pattern, she sewed a perfect pair of pants and a shirt to match out of an amazing piece of textile she bought in India. I wish that I still had that outfit today and not because I’d wear it, but because she made it and there’s a part of me that would like to cling to the memory of her.
She carved intricate patterns into pumpkins before anyone else. She was ahead of her time. She wasn’t the type of person to think of great inventions and ideas to sell. She did extraordinary things for the people she loved for free. When I was in Australia, she sent (by mail) plastic dishes for my camper van. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I had CorningWare.
Besides teaching me to add sage to the inside of a turkey cavity before cooking it; adding Borox to the laundry to make the clothes fresher; and how to make a mean banana bread, her best advice was:
Living well is the best revenge.
She was right.
So when I had this dream about her that was so clear and vivid, it made me want to look her up and see what she was doing. I knew she was a blogger, so I Googled her. And to my astonishment, her obituary flashed before my eyes like flares at an accident scene. My heart broke and I wanted to yell out loud. I broke into tears. The tears flowed and I asked why her? I wanted to call her family and give my condolences, but it would be too awkward. She had been gone for almost two years and I couldn’t bring myself to make contact with her family and tell them how sorry I am for their loss. They already know what a loss it is to not have her in their lives. Me calling would only add to the grief. There is nothing I could say that would make her memory more alive in them.
What I do know is that I have a gift---spirit talks to me by way of dreams. This was her way of checking in with me. This was a message just for me; to let me know that she is thinking of me. For a time, in life, we were mother and daughter. I loved her that way and for all the reasons that I talk about and many many more that cannot be spoken. Now in the afterlife, her spirit looks over me. It’s comforting to know that even though I felt guilt for not speaking to her for the past eight years that she held no ill will for me. Living well is the best lesson she ever taught me.
An aside: I wrote this in my iPhone notes section about four weeks ago and not because I was actually going to post it. But since I wrote it, I had another dream in which I tell her son that I’ve had this dream about his mother coming to me and talking with me. Yes you read this right, I had a dream in which I remember another dream…this is a first for me. My gift is changing...