My brother wanted a quick funeral, so I complied. He was the one -- with my sister-in-law Maria -- who carried the burden of taking care of my mother, and my grandfather before that, while I was in sunny California making the occasional phone call. Sending the occasional care package. Flying out for the occasional trip. I would have complied to whatever he asked, because he deserved that and more.
It was just supposed to be me and my brother and his family at my mother's funeral. When Maria's sister and other family members and friends showed up to the small viewing room, my body felt like rubber I was so overcome. My mother mattered. Someone cared.
Soon after the quick funeral, I got a note forwarded to me from Maria. It was from the staff and the people who were in the day treatment program with my mother. In reading the note, which I can't find and it will haunt me until I do, I got a glimpse of a life my mother led which I didn't knew existed. She was given a nickname by some friends. People said she made them happy. They liked her cute, little smile. Again, my mother mattered. Someone cared.
After my mother died, I had three distinct dreams. In the first we were sitting across from each other. She couldn't comprehend or accept that she was dead. I just sat across from her and said I was sorry. Oh so sorry. She was in limbo, and selfishly I liked that she was there because we were together. The experience was no less real or less visceral or less tactile than any other interaction I have day to day. If anything, it was all of that and electric and sad because how do you comfort someone who had no intention of dying but wound up there anyway, stuck between two worlds?
In my next dream I was in a large, white hall. Windows up high. A coffin in the middle of the room. There were Baptists all around me. I don't have a clue what the Baptist belief system is, but that's who was in my dream. My mother rose. We were in shock. I wanted them to revel in it with me, but it was too much for them. They couldn't, not wouldn't, but couldn't allow themselves to witness, but I witnessed. She was dead and now she was ascending.
In my final dream, she came to me speechless yet she was able to convey to me that she would not be visiting me any more like this. I begged. Please. I need you to continue to be with me. She silently shook her head. Without saying it was time, I knew it was time. I cried in my dream. I cried when I woke up.
Then I opened the door to get the morning paper and there inches away was a hummingbird. Small. Green. So close. So abnormally close than any bird ever flies. Flying about as if to say "don't worry, I'm still with you."
I don't know if she is still a hummingbird, flying forever free of any illness, or if that was a momentary passage to a different place. I just know that my mother mattered. Someone cared.