I awoke last night half way through a dream about my mother.
I was angry when I woke up because in the dream (in her characteristically bombastic way) my mother had walked into my room while I was undressed and started telling me how awful it was that I’d neglected her feelings.
She ignored my obvious embarrassment and continued complaining about her own hurt feelings and how awful her lot in life was.
She was lonely she said. It had been years since anyone had talked to her and she felt that this was unfair.
I bundled her out of my room – annoyed that she didn’t even try to leave when she realised I was naked more than anything else. I looked out of my bedroom window when she was gone and thought that I was sick of this behaviour, sick of her and sick of the fact that I felt so trapped by her yet couldn’t leave.
When I opened my eyes suddenly at 3am I was still annoyed. I wanted to get up and give her a piece of my mind. This was yet another example of her selfish behaviour – which often overpowered every conversation and continually drove a wedge between us.
I looked around in the dark and realised that the room was different. I wasn’t in a single bed and everything had changed. Where I was lying was in my own house, in my own bed and in my own room.
The house was empty except for me.
I felt different too. As I replayed the events I suddenly noticed in the dream I’d been a younger man. A teen in fact.
I’d been in my childhood room, and was living under her roof instead of my own – and still subject to her endless mood swings.
I then realised that no matter how annoyed and hurt I was I couldn’t tell her how I felt even if I wanted to.
She was gone.
I was angry with a dead woman.
When realised this and my pulse subsided I started thinking about her words. She had been complaining that no one had spoken to her for years.
I remembered thinking in the dream that this was more of her usual behaviour – which typically involved blowing everything out of proportion and turning every discussion around to something about herself – but it took on a new meaning when I lay there at 3am thinking about it.
In a few months it will be two years since she passed away – almost the same length of time that she said she’d been alone…
As her statement took on a new meaning I wondered whether the dream was about me or her.
Maybe it was both.
Although there are some feelings of sadness surrounding her passing I’d be lying if I said I missed her. If anything in place of that emotion is a quiet guilt that I haven’t been able to feel that way.
This guilt exists because I know the truth.
I’m relieved that she’s gone, that finally everything is over between us and that her death finally brought an end to our continual and exhausting conflicts.
I know that this is a state of thinking that’s been largely brought on by years of emotional abuse at her hands – but there’s still a sense that I should somehow react differently to this watershed event in my life.
In my dreams (and by extension my subconscious) I feel she’s still alone, still isolated from others by her behaviour, and wherever she ended up (if there is anywhere else) my instinct is that little will have changed.
All of this just makes me sad. She could have had a much better life with a family that loved her if only she had been capable of change and contrition.
Instead over years she pushed everyone away until no-one was left.
I wish we’d have loved eachother in the way that a mother and son should have – but we didn’t and that still leaves a permanent gap inside me that I don’t think can ever be filled.
Maybe it can be worked around and papered over – even acknowledged and understood – but I don’t think the sense that I missed out on something important in life will ever leave me.
On the bright side though internet even though there’s a gap life goes on.
The absence I feel where her love should be is maybe why I’m so motivated to care about other people – so whilst I feel poor in one respect I feel infinitely rich in another.
I have a good life now, with friends I love and that also clearly care about me. In her own backhanded way my mom probably made that happen.
Maybe that’s all the reason I need to think of her memory with love – which I continually try to do.
She wasn’t perfect but she was still my mom.