Repost from May 9, 2009.
Readers of the Drug Safety and Health News blog know that my Mom died suddenly of meningitis (see here for the story) when I was four and half (actually I was four years, eight months and eight days old; currently I am “47 1/2″ in little kid language but I just say “47″). Anyhoo it pops out in my blogs here and there and to be honest I felt like I was putting myself out there or taking a risk somehow by talking about it.
After she died my father soon remarried and it was not a topic of frequent conversation, shall we say. When I walked around saying “Where’s Mommy, where’s Mommy?” everyone would shush me because my father was dating my future step-mother and they didn’t want her to hear me.
At the age of four I didn’t have a very clear idea about death. It was like one day she was there, and then the next day someone drove her away and I never saw her again. To me it was like she just went away for a while. It was only over the next few years that the finality of it all gradually sunk in. Also my little brain couldn’t comprehend why she should just die for no reason, and since I thought I was the center of the universe, I thought I must have been a very naughty boy indeed for my Mommy to have gone away. I also missed her, and wanted to go to that “death” place and see her.
That is why when I had a dream of her a year or two after she died that it was a little scary for me. I dreamed that I was walking through a forest where everything in the forest, every leaf on every tree, was very familiar to me. I walked up onto the porch of a small house in the middle of the forest and opened the door. She was standing there behind the door, looking at me but not saying anything. When I woke up I had the feeling that I had dreamt that dream every night for my entire life. I also had the feeling that it was so real that I couldn’t tell if it was just a dream or not, or maybe something like a vision. At that age I wasn’t sure if God existed but I thought I better hedge my bets so each night I got down on my knees by my little bed and prayed, with the idea that if she was up there in heaven maybe God could pass along what I had to say to her. Here is my old bedroom from a recent photo (I went back there for the first time in 42 years last fall):
Do you think she came back to life as a cat? I fell down these stairs from my bedroom when I was four. Ouch! We moved away from this house when my father remarried and I didn’t remember the fall until I went back there for the first time in 43 years last fall.
We had a lovely house on a bluff overlooking Puget Sound in Washington State that was built in a Japanese style. There was an oriental garden in the front. You can still see the overgrown bamboo. I think the fact that my mother was into Buddhism might have something to do with that, but I can’t get anyone to talk about it. You can spam my brother Steve Bremner and see if you can get something out of him.
The Japanese have a certain logic to their architecture that is informed by their Buddhist background and beliefs. Like the porch is a passageway between the interior of the home and nature.
See the complete story in The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg now out on Amazon.