Last Night, I Dreamed About My Mother’s New Memories

Kerry and Susan Pryor circa 1945 in Munhall, Pennsylvania
Kerry and Susan Pryor circa 1945 in Munhall, Pennsylvania

Last night, I met my mother in my dreams.

She was living in a shabby chic bungalow with bright decorations and her beloved drapes gracing every window. Just as I arrived I saw her mother – my grandmother – pull out of the driveway in a practical blue sedan. I waved, but unsure if she saw me.

My mother was keeping herself busy with cross stitch. By keeping herself busy I mean she was teaching classes at the local community center and selling her creations for pin money. She was saving up to get wall to wall carpeting in every room.

I don’t remember my mother doing cross stitch, but as I type that sentence I’m struck by a memory fragment. She’s sitting in our actual house on the sofa poking at something sewingly while I watched television. She was frustrated and clearly deriving no joy from it, something she attributed to her memory impairment.

Her life was a series of frustrating moments, her mind twisting a loss of memory with the label of ‘stupid’ until she could not escape that tangled trauma. Each moment she spent watching the news, reading the newspaper, or talking about important things, each moment was filled with intelligence and acute perception even as her memories faded so quickly like rain drops disappearing onto the pavement.

I ask about Dad. He’s fishing, again. But she doesn’t get that pout on her face that I remember so much. Apparently, there is no alcohol or gambling in their new home so he’s actually fishing. I see a net propped up in the corner of the room, perhaps forgotten in an early morning departure.

I ask about Grandma Pryor. She had been staying with my mother until I arrived for a visit. She wanted to make sure my Mum was connected to family.

I know my mother is in heaven, but now I know that she’s finally ensconced in her ideal home and pursuing a career teaching cross stitch. She’s fulfilled. She has goals. My Dad’s demons are nowhere to be found.

When I left (not sure exactly if I walked out or drove away), I asked her if Grandma would return. Mum told me her own mother would probably stop by again soon, but now we both knew that she was okay. She was really okay.

I woke up crying. This is what I want for my mother – wall to wall carpeting and drapes and a comfortable home and a husband who isn’t damaged. Visits with her own mum. Fulfillment and appreciation and a sense of well-being.

I want her to make and keep memories.

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