Things my mother never did, part two.

I dreamt about my mother last night.  It was the first time I’d dreamt about her in awhile, at least that I remember.  I used to dream of her often after she died.  They were horrible, wrenching dreams.  Dreams in which she cried out to me to help her, but in which, one way or another, I was never able to.  Inevitably, I woke from these dreams sweating, sobbing, sometimes crying out.  And like my mother, unable to be helped.

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Last night’s dream was different.  My mother and I were alone in a vacant old house.  She was as rail thin as I remember her the last time I saw her, six weeks before she died.  Her eyes had the same vacant, staring look, like black holes peering into the distance.  I pleaded with her to eat something, but she just shook her head no.  And then I noticed something strange:  my mother had in her possession a large black satchel full of food.  She had refused to eat anything, no matter how much I pleaded with her, yet she was hoarding food, stockpiling it.  To what end?

I woke to a still dark apartment in the early morning hours and I sat, frozen in my bed, utterly stunned by the sharp clarity with which I remembered every detail of my dream.  A phrase popped into my head:  “There was nothing you could do.”  And then another:  “It wasn’t your fault.”  Both phrases circled through my brain over and over until I became dizzy and I wept, hoping they were true.

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I don’t know why my mother appeared to my subconscious mind in such a strange fashion after so long of an absence.  It may have something to do with the fact that as I write this, I’m sitting in the international terminal at LAX, waiting to board a flight that will take me the furthest away from home I’ve been for the longest among of time I’ve been away since my mother died, the prospect of which has me both exhilarated and terrified.  Or it may have something to do with the fact that since WordPress republished my blog post Things My Mother Never Did two weeks ago, I’ve heard from hundreds of people all over the world in countless heartfelt messages.  Messages of encouragement, of heartbreak, of hope, of loss, of dysfunction and love, all revolving around the most fundamental, yet often, the most anguishing relationship out there:  that of parent and child.  And over and over again, throughout all of the messages and the reblogs, the overwhelming theme has been this:  “Thank you for writing this.  I thought I was the only one.”

How can it be that there are so many of us, yet we still feel so desperately alone?  Well, let me be the first to tell you, friends, you are not alone.  As scary as it is for me to tell my dark family secrets, I will continue to do so.  Because the only way out is through, and for me, through is a road paved with honesty.

My mother was the love of my life.  I’m still angry with her.  I’m still racked with guilt that I couldn’t save her.  And I’m not running from either one of these truths.  But, as I embark on this journey, the first big scary adventure of my new life – the life dedicated to all the Things My Mother Never Did – I hope that for all of you out there who have so lovingly and kindly reached out to me, I hope that I can offer you some inspiration about forging a path back to acceptance and love, a path forged straight through forgiveness.  A path in which you are the architect of your own life.

Thank you to everyone who wrote me.  You have no idea how grateful I am.

Here I go!

Until next time, friends.



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20 thoughts on “Things my mother never did, part two.

  1. This is so heartfelt and amazing! Don’t worry about leaving LA or leaving wherever Ur leaving from (citywise) it’s ok to get lost in another place U don’t know what you will find !:) I hope life gives U the best and safest future and I hope you find love If you already haven’t :)again this blog is amazing !

  2. “It wasn’t your fault”.

    This reminds me of one emotional scene in Good Will Hunting, when Sean (Robin Williams) constantly told Will (Matt Damon) that it is not his fault. He repeated nearly 10 times until Will broke down and burst out in tears.

    You already gave a lot of inspiration for many people just by your amazing heartfelt words 🙂

  3. That’s a powerful dream and may you soon truly know and believe those words you woke up with spinning in your mind are true. Have an amazing, magnificent adventure!!

  4. You’re dream reminded me so much of how I felt about my own mum’s death. I thought I would never be able to do enough to get beyond the grief because I couldn’t stop her from dying. However, getting on with your life by embarking on this new adventure will bring you closer to being able to forgive her for not letting you help anymore. I also embarked on an amazing adventure to unchartered territory since my mum died. And it’s been the making of me. Children who parent their parents have to learn to live their own lives before they can finally say goodbye. I’m excited for you and what the future may hold. Be brave and enjoy for yourself everything that your mum would have loved.

  5. Good luck with your new adventure. I also dared to move to unchartered territory when my mum passed away too unforgivably early. It has been the making of me. Children who parent their parents have to learn to live their own lives before they can really say goodbye. I’m excited for what the future may hold for you.

  6. Sarah: your guilt for not being able to save your mom has been a huge weight on your shoulders, and this most recent dream you had shows your subconscious is understanding that it was never up to you to save her!

    We can love addicts, encourage them, point them in the right direction, and be supportive.

    We each need to do the soul work to heal. Assuredly many times it would be impossible to do without the help of others, but the tricky part is: no one can do it for us.

    Your dream shows your mother with a black bag full of food, yet she didn’t eat it and was still starving herself.

    The food and the bag are symbols. Your subconscious sees she had everything right next to her to save her, yet she chose not to partake.

    The bag represents the tools for collecting the knowledge for life while the food represents not only literally food to nourish her body but nourishment for her whole self: body, mind and spirit.

    Black is a protective color, and in Native American spirituality black protects from negative energies.

    Now that she is in spirit form, she can send you messages through your dreams to help you with the burden you carry. She is showing you she loves you and that she has accepted responsibility for her life: the good and the difficult. The help and love you gave to her while she was alive are all present in the fresh foods in her bag!

    She has taken possession of the bag, it is no longer yours to carry! Go forward in your life that she has acknowledged all the good ways you have helped her!

    She’s now a spirit and able to pull out all the good help and love in the bag, all protected from negativity!

    So go in peace!

  7. 6 years on i still feel the guilt, but i have made a life my father would be proud of. I have continued in trying to be the best person i can, not take lufe for granted abd enjoy every minute akthough understanding that life will be up and down.

  8. Pingback: “It’s All a Process” | Snakes in the Grass

  9. I believe. It is the spirit that speaks to the subconscious of our souls when we sleep. I have been uttered speechless with this same sort of message. Mine was a message of hope. A message etched in my memory. A message I was later inspired to paint. May you continue to heal, forgive and love. Best wishes.

  10. It’s a powerful, and a difficult thing to acknowledge, both to yourself and others, deep parental failings. It can be a challenging and terrifying process. You may want to check into Complex PTSD, and the book “Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers”. Don’t know if either of these might fit for you. Blessings on your journey–holding you in the light.

  11. An interesting story, Sarah. Dreams are a powerful cleanser. I still, years after their death dream of my parents. And the recreation is soooo perfect, technicolor, 3D wise! Gradually dreams will ease out to nicer dreams. And gradually, you will forgive. Her and yourself.
    Meantime, enjoy your trip. And share moments of that trip. That also is powerful.
    Bon voyage

  12. I love this post. Love it. It’s a post you write thinking “I’m gunna get judged for hating on my family”, but the power to writes it means you do it outta love, so who cares if there is judgement. I wrote a similar piece last year, mainly through frustration and having to voice my thoughts, but not directly at my mother, for fear of it sending her in to another relapse!
    Excellent post 👏

    • Sarah,

      I cannot explain how grateful I am to find your blog. I passed by for a hard situation too, and see how can you deal with it is inspiring.
      I had depression last year and my partner couldn´t handle it and left me. But now I can see the bright side of things and restart to living.

      Thanks for sharing your feelings with us!

  13. Pingback: Thank you, Mom | Sorry, Mom.

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