This is Kim’s story.
Kim’s mom died when Kim was only nine years old. She was close to her mother, the way any nine-year old is close to her mom. As she grew older, even though her father remarried, she often wondered what life would have been like had her real mother been part of her life. Would she have dated that nasty boy in ninth grade? Would she have chosen a different profession? She especially realized how much she missed her mother once she started to have her own children. The color of her youngest daughter’s hair was so much like her mothers, and when her oldest daughter laughed, she was reminded of her mother’s laughter.
Although Kim thought of her mother often over the years, she wished she would show up in her dreams. She had heard many stories of people dreaming about their loved ones, stories that were probably nothing more than the product of an active imagination, yet, when she heard these stories, she could not help but wonder if it was something more.
Kim’s friend Susie often dreamt of her own mother, her mother that had passed away a few years earlier. Susie always said that she knew her mother was gone, but she was there talking about life in the present: Susie’s children, Susie’s husband, Susie’s job. Susie’s mother had never met her youngest daughter, but that did not stop her from commenting about the child’s interests. Yes, Kim listened to Susie and wondered… could these apparitions in her dreams really be Susie’s mother? If they were, why did her own mother, after thirty years, not want to visit?
This last July, for the first time in her life, Kim dreamt about her mother.
Kim’s mother walked into the room and sat down on the bed. She shook Kim and “woke her.” She put her finger to her lip to indicate that they needed to whisper; her mother did not want to wake her husband.
“Hi Baby,” her mother said in the dream.
“Hi Mom,” Kim said. She leaned in and hugged her and held her for a long time. Kim breathed her in: jasmine and rose, warm and exotic. She had not smelled the scent in years, and there it was, her mother’s favorite perfume: Youth Dew by Estee Lauder.
Her mother pulled away. She touched Kim’s face with her fingers. She looked her in the eyes. “I don’t have much time,” her mother said. “I just want you to know I am proud of you. You are better at life than I was. Your children are lucky to have you.”
“Thank you. I wish you were here to watch them grow,” Kim told her, enjoying the feeling of her mother’s fingers on her cheek.
“I am here. I am in your heart.” Her mother rose. “I’m sorry, Honey. I have to go. I have to pick someone up.” And with that, she walked out of the room and disappeared.
Kim startled. She awoke. She was lying down, not sitting up. For the first time, she remembered a dream involving her mother. It was so real. Had it been her imagination? She breathed in? Could she smell her perfume lingering in the air? Had she dreamt about her mother because she had been craving to dream about her for so long? She had no answers, and it was only 3:00 am. She lulled herself back to sleep.
At 7:30 AM, Kim was busy getting the kids ready for school. The coffee was brewing, the waffles were warming, the girls were in the bathroom brushing their teeth. The phone rang. Who calls this early in the morning? she thought.
“Hello?” Kim said into the phone.
It was her aunt, her mother’s brother’s wife. She was crying. “Kim, I am sorry for calling so early. I just wanted you to know. Your Uncle Pete died in the middle of the night.”
Kim’s entire body covered in goosebumps. Could her mother’s cryptic last statement been about Uncle Pete.
“I’m so sorry. When did this happen?” Kim asked. She already knew the response.
“About 3:00 am.”