Freud was not the only one who took dreams seriously. My mother did, too.
Admittedly, her belief was more Biblical than psychological. Nonetheless, my mother could—and often would—quote Scripture verbatim and at length—verse after verse, from Genesis to Revelations and many books in between—to convince her husband and six children that dreams could hold profound messages and meanings; that we could interpret dreams; and that dreams could take us inward—to our psychological, spiritual, and physical selves—and outward—to a collective consciousness linking all the ages and bringing us all together.
Dream talk was part of our daily ritual, though never before seven in the morning, lest the dreams might come true. We could share any dream, but mother focused on those that lingered in the psyche as the ones possessing possible significance and meriting analysis. Rarely did my mother proffer interpretations of other people’s dreams. Instead, she listened and redirected us to discover how our dreams made us feel. I was fascinated by her dream analysis—nearly self psychoanalysis—and by the uncanny way that so many of her dreams tapped into profound spiritual truths.
Early in my life, my mother made a believer out of me. I remain so, especially since her death twelve years ago today. Two nights prior, I had three dreams in quick succession, with short-lived awakenings and instantaneous interpretations.
DREAM ONE. Mom was home, observing how hot it felt inside the house. She got up out of bed and walked out on the porch where it was so much cooler. As she reached her arms up toward a blue, blue sky, the wind blew her hair upwards and furled the skirt of her gossamer dress all around her. Mom started smiling and laughing and twirling—around and around and around.
Interpretation. Is Mom dead? No longer paralyzed? For the first time in six years, she’s out of bed—walking and dancing. She’s ecstatically happy.
DREAM TWO. Mom, costumed as a white mouse, performing. Her audience, amused by her antics. Their reward? An encore—more frolics, much laughter.
Interpretation. Freed from the journey, freed from the maze, Mom blissfully celebrates her new path.
DREAM THREE. Mom entered a softly lighted room. Dad was sitting in a recliner, as was his practice before his death. Beside him, a table with lamp; to the right, another chair. Mom walked over, sat down in the chair, smiled at my Dad, and turned off the lamp. The room slowly—ever so slowly—fell into warm darkness.
Interpretation. It is finished. Mom and Dad are reunited. The circle is unbroken.
When I awakened, my dreams lingered, vibrant and vivid. I felt—no, knew—deep down in my soul that my mother, who celebrated her ninety-eighth birthday two weeks before, came to me in those three dreams to prepare me for her death.
Two days later, Mom died.
God called her home. Forever dancing with a heavenly host of saints and angels, Mom finished the circle.