By Dena Amoruso
The idea of my family without Mom was, to us, the definition of an oxymoron. We had always been so closely knit; Mom was at the center of our universe and the inspiration in all our lives. My two brothers and I tried to cope, each of us in our own way; one brother stoic but reflective (she died in his arms), and the other angry and blaming of the medical personnel who should have seen what was happening to her (he was on the other side of the world when he received news of her death). My father, after 50 years of marriage, was lost, confused, and incredulous that Mom would even think of "going" before him. Much time was spent in consoling and comforting him, which got our minds off our own devastation at her passing.
In the months following her death, I prayed to see her again; to hear her voice and to feel her wonderful presence. I prayed hard and fervently for the honor. The first few dreams I had in the ensuing months were not the variety I had asked for, however. They were worrisome dreams, with images of tubes and machines hooked up to her, as I remembered her in the hospital following her heart surgery.
In the meantime small things would happen in my life that gave me pause to think she was there, with me, when I least expected it. The most bizarre event happened when I was in her kitchen cleaning one day and heard the door bell ring. My parents' poodle barked, expectedly, as she would at this event, and I walked to the door to open it. I gazed out to the security gate to see who the visitor was before "buzzing" them in, and, to my surprise, no one was there. I then went back inside and resume my cleaning.
Then a realization struck me like lightening. My father had told me that the doorbell had broken the day before and still was inoperable. Indeed, I remembered seeing the straggly doorbell wires poking out from their hiding place as I had arrived that day. I suppose I could have felt frightened that the bell could ring in such ghostly fashion, but, for some reason, I was comforted by what may have been a reassuring message and reminder by my mother that all was well, and a great feeling of peace came over me.
My greatest comfort came when the dream I had prayed for was finally granted. One night, about six months after Mom's departure, I experienced in my sleep a type of soothing warmth that started from my head and continued to my toes. A vision of my mother appeared in a room with a golden glow. She was sitting at a sewing machine, and had a little "babushka" tied 'round her head. She was wearing a housecoat, as she often did at home in the mornings. She looked up and smiled. I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement at seeing her, as the soothing feeling enveloped me. I said hello, and she responded with great happiness at seeing me also. I asked her how she was, and she said "Oh, just fine," as if it were a normal little conversation about the weather.
I was beside my self with elation and was, at the same time, so grateful to be seeing her that I knew I would remember every detail to hold this experience with me for the rest of my living days. I then asked her "what is it you're doing there?" as I saw her concentrating on some article she was sewing.
Mom replied, "Oh, I'm making wall decorations." Wall decorations? "What do you mean?" I asked. "Look over there," she replied. I turned to see an entire wall lavished with intricate embroidery in ornate patterns and swirls of color. I was somehow not surprised at seeing the wall, as if it were something already familiar to me, which struck me as rather odd later on.
I wanted to know more. "So what has been going on, Mom?" I queried. "Well, she replied after some contemplation, "I went through the right door. Not everyone is going through the right door, though."
I was completely taken aback by this statement. "Like who, Mom? Who didn't go through the right door?" Then she spoke the name of a friend of hers and my father's that I did not know well. But the revelation didn't make sense to me, because this particular man was still alive. I had heard that he was ill, but still among us. I shrugged off the information and somehow said a happy goodbye to Mom as I slipped into another stage of sleep. The warm feeling from her presence did not leave me, however, and followed me into my waking moments.
I awoke the next morning with a huge smile on my face and told my husband, who had loved Mom dearly, about my dream. I was ecstatic at having been "given" a visit with her and hoped it would happen often. To my disappointment, more visits were not to be. Although another dream resulted in being a pleasant one, it was nothing compared to that golden moment with Mom in the presence of the decorated wall and the humming little sewing machine.
Several months later, my father called to inform me that the family friend of whom Mom had spoken in her dream had passed away. I was saddened, and proceeded to ask my father about the services that would follow. He then told me that this man had never embraced religion. He had rejected his family's faith and had led life as an agnostic. There would be no church service, no priest in attendance, and no words of life beyond this reality at his funeral. Only a few people making speeches about what a good man he was.
I was immediately stricken by my mother's words. What door was he going through? Why was his chosen door the wrong one? I can only surmise, based on my religious beliefs, that there may not be sufficient divine knowledge given to those individuals who choose to live without faith. I shuddered at the thought, and murmured a quick prayer for the soul of this man Mom had already had knowledge of in my dream.
In the days and years since, I have held this dream close to my heart. It comforts me more than the material possessions Mom left behind, and the thought of it strengthens my faith each time my vision of the "right door" appears in my mind. I have always believed in the connection of people, events, and conversations as stepping-stones to other realities for us all. Perhaps my dream would serve as an inspiration to others someday as well, perpetuating my mother's belief that everything happens for a reason and everyone has a purpose.
Dena Amoruso runs a freelance writing business and is a self-syndicated real estate columnist. Recently deciding to pursue her love of writing full time finds her at home for the first time since her daughter was small. In an effort to expand her writing to real life women's issues, she will be writing for WAHM.com as a mother, daughter, and wife. We hope you enjoy her reflections on experiences (some humorous!) that we may all face from time to time.