Last week I had a dream about my mom. In my dream, a space ship crashed into the woods at the end of street where I grew up, and from the crash site emerged a robot that walked through the neighborhood.
Of course I took video of all this. But as I did, I noticed my neighbor was also taking video, and then was abruptly whisked away in a black Escalade. When I saw this, I ran through the neighborhood to my house, turned off all the lights, and hid under a side table.
(Clearly a subconscious mashup of E.T., The Iron Giant, and Super 8.)
But then my mother entered. In my dream, I was viewing all this as a third party observer, and there she was… feisty, flummoxed, and wondering what I was up to.
She was wearing pantyhose with slippers, a skirt, and only a bra on top. She carried a round brush, and I could see her hair was flat on one side, and fluffed to curly perfection on the other.
This was how my mother looked every Sunday morning as she got ready for church.
She demanded to know what was going on, but all I kept saying was “TELL THEM I’M NOT HOME.”
I could see the stress in my mother’s face – the pursed lips and the furrowed brow. She was unsure of what to do with me, which I’m sure was a common feeling she had when I was young.
The scene ended abruptly when I woke up, but the essence of my mom lingered, and I held on to her as reality pushed its way in like daylight breaking through the cracks of a treeline.
And that’s when it hit me how much I missed my mom.
Dementia and Alzheimers are cruel deseases. At times it feels like psychological torture because you’re not grieving someone who is dead, but someone who is right in front of you that you love dearly but is not always “in there.”
For a moment, I was Adam dreaming of Eden. Adam, on the outside of the garden, suddenly getting a whiff of something in the old garden that he’d left long ago. And that whiff brought it all back, remembering what once was. And for a minute I enjoyed it, and then a sadness moved in.
I read the above essay on Friday, my birthday, an occasion that felt sad for the first time in my life.
The essay goes on to suggest that perhaps our memories of Eden-times hint at the eternity that is “written on our hearts,” the eternity we’ve already experienced with Adam and will one day return to with Jesus.
And just like that, my wallowing transformed to worship, because I’m reminded that I’m not alone in my longing for Eden, and that a rescue plan for returning is already in place.