My mother comes to me in dreams. She is present in almost every dream that I have. I wonder if this is just me missing her or if she is truly visiting me in this mystical way; perhaps it is a manifestation of both.
Fourteen years later, I still feel the shock of my mother’s death. The pain of death never quite goes away, it dulls and numbs but it is still there. The void of a missing piece looms over me raining its funereal rays down, following me around as I do life. Most days I feel severed, like a feather blowing in the wind. It started as soon as my mother’s funeral came to a close.
I became obsessed with job hopping. I worked as a receptionist, a mail sorter, food service worker, bus girl, catalogue customer service representative, credit card customer service representative, and a few others. I thought that a job could give me the security that I needed to cope with my empty life. No job seemed to soothe my aching soul. I found all the positions boring and the environments hostile.
When I realized that a job couldn’t comfort me I indulged in an unhealthy relationship with an alcoholic. My boyfriend I and moved in together and he helped me create a pseudo haven of security. I needed something real and tangible to grab onto and hold. He was there every day when I returned from work. He stayed around never straying away from home for any reason.
I counted on him to be there for me and he was. The drinking escalated as the years passed. He was up to six beers per day and by nighttime he was so inebriated that he couldn’t speak in full sentences. One night I sat up thinking about how screwed up we both were. Essentially we were two depressed people in isolation.
I began to see my boyfriend in a new way. He wasn’t helping me to move forward, he was impelling me to stay put. I was wallowing in my grief and I had company to wallow with. Both of us struggled with abandonment issues, me from losing my mother and him from never knowing who his father was. He said his mother, who was still living, refused to give him any information about his dad. I thought this was very sad, he must have felt utterly abandoned by a father who is either dead or living some life without him.
We weren’t living, we simply existed.
I realized that a stable job and boyfriend wasn’t quelling my empty soul. I was stuck, suspended in the air half way toward heaven but still close to earth. After I rubbed my eyes and peeked out the door into the world I remembered that I had dreams. I remembered that before my mother died, I was going to enroll in college and get a degree in social work. I remembered that I wanted to work in the field for five years and then get to work on a non-fiction self-help book for urban teenagers.
I dreamed of the condo that I would live in. I would buy it with the money I earned from book sales. I was a young adult and I dreamed big. Then I looked around and saw myself in this ratty old one bedroom apartment with moldy walls. I lived with an unemployed alcoholic and neither one of us was working towards anything in life.
When my mother died, so did I; emotionally. I went numb and stopped living. I knew what I needed to do at this point. I broke up with my boyfriend and asked him to find a place of his own. I needed to be alone. I needed to work on my plans for the future. I needed to live.