After a particularly rough weekend – emotionally… and after much consternation, I finally fell asleep tonight about 2 hours ago. During which I dreamt. It’s been a while since I did. And even longer since she visited.
We were back home in Queens. The house was alight. Buzzing with a sense of celebration. There was something being prepared for. We were collectively cooking and cleaning and primping and getting ready. In real life, there were few times like these. Mine was not a “party” throwing family. When we did, it was big. The sensation was like that around my communion party – which is really the only time I ever experienced it in my honor. In this dream, though, it was for mommy. We were getting ready to take her to Black Girls Rock. The TVs in the house were humming with the re-runs of the BGRs from years past and there was pressing of clothing and laying out of makeup and baubles. Everyone was in the house: Dad, Grandma, Domi, Mom, myself. I felt the presence of youth running about but this time it wasn’t me, Domi, David and the rest of the Cousins. All generations were present. Truly a festive feeling. But something was hanging over it all. There was an unspoken concern.
In my parent’s bedroom, my brother and I finally uttered it. Mom’s blood pressure was through the roof today. And she was worried something may happen. “Should we cancel it and let her stay home?” Domi voiced. “It only happens once a year. If we don’t do it this year… who is to say that we’ll have her next year to celebrate?” I said. He chewed the inside of his cheek with contemplation and agreed that I was right. “How are you going to convince her?” he asked. “I’m just going to go talk to her,” I replied. Sitting on the floor in the foyer of her bedroom we both turned towards her bed and there she was sitting up on her side of the bed as she did most of her life when she was resting. As if she’d not been there the whole time. She was glowing with peace and contentment.
“Mommy… say it,” I stated as I approached her, “The only way for us to address it is if you admit it.” She folded her plump fingers in her lap before her and looked down. “My bpm is 188 today. Resting.” I nodded. “Okay… and that means what to you right now?” I pushed. “I’m afraid that if we go to this event that something could happen to me. I could have a heart attack. I could die tonight in the midst of all this celebration.” I sat next to her and placed my hands over hers. I leaned forward and kissed them. Then I looked her right in her face. That face. That I’ve loved all my life. That I’d spent countless nights of worry around from when I should have been too young to experience worry. Tentative to push her too much… too hard and “break” her somehow. I smiled. “We are aware of that, mama…” I began, “and we’ll just have to be on the lookout for it. You’re a medical professional and would know the signs of something really bad and we’ll be all around you for you to alert us, right?” She rolled her eyes at the medical professional part (typical of her
And then I woke up.
It would have never taken place like that in real life. We would have canceled everything. The mood would have fallen flat and we’d resume regular life with the added step of worrying ourselves to sickness over my mom’s condition. Something I lamented a great deal in her life was how she was holding it in… waiting for the “right” time to do something. As a result of that, I held myself back too. Waiting for the right time around what she thought was the right time. Canceling things in progress or realigning my own goals to ensure I could be close IN CASE something happened to her. Making sure things were in line… making sure it was the proper occasion and just the right conditions. When in actuality, there is no such thing. We have to do it now. Do it irrespective of the conditions. We’re not promised anything in the way of do-overs or second chances. For this life – it’s the only one we have. That should be precious enough to scoop up and dance towards the finish line.
I heard you loud and clear tonight, Mommy.
Do it anyway. Do it now.