Thursday, July 16, 2009

Moving

Until yesterday, Graham had never expressed any actual sadness about the death of his beloved Oma.

For months now he has asked me repeatedly, sometimes dozens and dozens of times a day, "Are you sad about Oma?" but when I answer in a manner designed to engage him - "Yes I am, because I loved her and you did too didn't you?" - he has abruptly changed the subject or simply repeated the question over and over: "Are you sad about Oma? Are you sad about Oma? Are you sad about Oma?"

Attempts to break through often result in Graham chanting in an increasingly loud crescendo with slightly different wording: "Are you sad about Oma? Are you sad about Opa? Are you worried about Opa? Are you worried about Daddy?"

For four months now, louder and louder Graham has chanted, drowning out every attempt I make to respond to his questions in a thoughtful and loving manner.

It is the most gut-wrenching thing I have ever experienced.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday his babysitter, the woman he calls Omi and my late mother-in-law's best friend, said Graham approached her during play time with tears coursing down his cheeks.

"I can't help it Omi," he said. "I'm just so sad about Oma."

And so she took him onto her lap and together talked they talked about how much they loved her and how much they missed her and all the wonderful things they used to do together.

****************************

Last night, exactly four months after her death, I dreamed about my dearly, dearly-loved mother-in-law for the first time.

I dreamt I walked into our living room and was astonished to see her sitting at our little cherry wood table sipping a cappuccino. My shock and happiness at the sight of her was so overwhelming I can still feel it now, crowding the air from my chest and stinging behind my eyes. In my dream I fell to my knees and took her hands in mine as tears rolled down my face.

"I have missed you so so much," I told her, over and over again. But she just regarded me with a bemused smile, as if she were confused over my outpouring of emotion.

"I can't believe you are here," I cried. "Don't you know you died four months ago?"

But she just smiled and in my dream I rushed and found a calendar in order to impress upon her what a miracle her presence was. But when I found one, the dates on it had been replaced by a series of nonsensical letters and numbers. All the dates and clocks throughout the house looked the same way, I realized, and so finally I stopped rushing about and just sat with her, clasping her hands and crying in wonder while she smiled benignly.

And then I realized what she wanted.

"Don't go anywhere!" I told her.

I rushed into Graham's room where he was sleeping soundly. I lifted him up, rushed back into the living room and thrust him into her arms.

In my dream Graham's eyes fluttered open as he clasped his chubby arms around her neck.

"Oma!" he breathed, snuggling into her. And she kissed the top of his head.

******************************

I awoke with a start this morning and my mother-in-law's presence was so fresh and so real that I could only lie there and sob quietly for a few moments, as dawn's light and its harsh reality crept into my consciousness.

I did not want to get out of bed and leave her behind this morning but I had to: we are moving into our new house tomorrow and there is much to be done.

We are moving tomorrow from a house that she loved to a house that she will never see.

We are moving. Graham is growing. Our lives are changing.

And yet it seems that none of our forward motion is sufficient to fill the gaping hole her death has left behind.

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31 comments:

karen pery said...

Kelly, this is so beautifully written - I'm in tears, too. I have to believe that she'll be with you wherever you are - always.

Hope it's an easy move and you are settled in soon.

Chantal said...

Oh my, I am crying my eyes out here. What a moving post Kelly.

Take Care.

Flea said...

I love your - and Graham's - tribute to Oma. It's beautiful.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Isn't it strange that our subconscious is processing before we can process consciously.

Life goes on is both a blessing and a curse.

Amy said...

Thinking of you.

for a different kind of girl said...

This post and the heart that inspired it is so wonderful. I love it. I think she's going to be with you there in the new house. You - and Graham - clearly and very deeply carry her in your heart. It won't be the same, but I think she's so heavily in your thoughts in order to tell you it's OK and to give you comfort.

sky girl said...

Oh my gosh, I'm just covered in goose bumps. I remember I had a dream about my Grampa after he died. He had come back to say goodbye.

Call me crazy, but I think there's something to it.

kbreints said...

oh dear. You brought tears to my eyes. I fully believe that she came to you for graham and to bring some peace to you. I am so happy you were able to see her again.

Jamie said...

Ugh. Lots of tears. My mom passed away in 2007 and I've had so many of those dreams where she shows up and it feels like such a miracle I'm angry when I have to wake up and leave her. I'm sure those dreams are her way of connecting.

Reluctant Housewife said...

Wow.

I have tears in my eyes just like everyone else.

Amazing, beautiful.

Hugs to you and your family. Good luck with the move.

a kelly said...

Oh dear Diva...
reading your words brought a flood of memories of the months following my husband's death: the feelings after a vivid dream where I could feel his presence, trying to answer my daughter's question "Why us?", thinking of how life was changing now without him. I'm crying just remembering. Difficult days.
Once again you express it all with eloquence and elegance.
Prayers.
Alex

Tara R. said...

What an amazing dream, and such a poignant telling.

Jaina said...

I often feel that in dreams like this they are more real than not. I can only imagine that Oma was truly there with you. Good luck with the move, you are in my prayers my friend.

daysgoby said...

I believe she was telling you that wherever you go, whatever you do, she is with you.

And she loves you still.

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

Beautiful post...

I'm still praying for you...

Leanne said...

Lovely.

It'll be fine. Just keep moving forward.

Hugs.

Elaine A. said...

Definitely the right title for this post. What an amazing dream. She's still with you even though not physcially...

Mandy said...

You will carry her with you to your new home and where ever else you may go.

Mommy Cracked said...

That sweet baby boy! I know y'all miss her so much. I don't doubt for one second she is watching over y'all and smiling.

Immoral Matriarch said...

I don't even know what to say Kelly. A poignant post.

Kat said...

I am most certain that was not a dream.

My dad just passed away a couple of weeks ago. I can feel him around me and hear him in my head. He will never see this baby that is in my belly, although something tells me he has met her before I have even had the chance. We are moving to a new house that he did not know we were renovating. But I am certain I will feel him there.

Oma will always be with you. She sees everything you are doing and will be able to watch Graham grow up in a way she never would have been able to before.

kgirl said...

As hard as it is to continue doing something that a loved one was once part of, it can be harder embarking on something new that will never have included them. I have felt this way about every change that has happened since my dad died.

Hugs.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Oh Kelly... I can only pray that my future daughter and son in laws love me as much as you loved her...

the planet of janet said...

clearly she came back to say good-bye properly.

beautiful.

Whitenoise said...

It's tough.

The night before last I had a dream that I was carrying my father on my back, surprised at how light he'd become. "Hold on, dad." I pleaded as I rushed to get him to medical help. Odd- that last detail, considering that in reality the best medical help couldn't make him healthy again.

Madge said...

thank you for sharing this. i lost my father-in-law 3 1/2 years ago. i have hated those milestones that go by that he is missing. it's hard moving on but life keeps going.

this was a beautiful post.

Kyla said...

Oh, this was so sad and sweet. Nothing ever quite fills a hole like that, but the memories and dreams can be a salve.

Angela said...

Losing someone special is so heartbreaking and painful but watching my children go through the loss is more than I could bear sometimes. Sending you good thoughts and hugs.

InTheFastLane said...

To see loss in our children can sometimes hurt even more that the already huge loss we have in our own hearts. Even though you are "moving" you will never leave Oma behind.

Anonymous said...

This gave me shivers. I believe she visited you. I honestly believe this.

Beck said...

Oh Kelley.
This was beautiful and sad and wonderful all at once. Loss never really heals, I think. I think we just learn to live with it, like a phantom leg that we can eventually run on.