Marching Orders

You ever have one of those days when you swear the universe is sending smoke signals but you just can’t read them? Yeah. I had one yesterday, its residue strong enough to push me to write about it today.

I was preparing to leave for an evening of non-fiction readings by two local authors at the newest event sponsored by the Springboro Historical Society — Reading Between the Wines — where I serve as facilitator. I have the honor of introducing the readers for the evening, and this was the second month of the series.

When I finished showering and dressing, I reached into my jewelry box to scrabble for earrings. I did not plan to wear any additional ‘bling.’ Then my fingers wrapped around the mother’s ring my daughters had given me many years ago. I had not seen this ring nor worn it for several years, my fingers swelling too often to accommodate most of the beautiful items in my collection. I was beyond surprised to find this one surface as it did, unbidden, unexpected, unsought. I held it up, admiring the tiny opal, emerald, and saphire stones of my children’s birth months, then, without further thought, slipped it on and headed out. As I drove to the Museum, my mind filled with memories of the three precious lives I had the privilege of ushering into the world, two now grown and making their way through the turmoil that is life and one who slipped from this life so many years ago.

Later that evening, for the first time since March of 2020, I dreamed of my mother, who passed away that year. In the dream, we were shopping together, an activity we shared so infrequently I can count on two hands the number of excursions we had. The reverie was typical of REM sleep, a disjointed event which had  me waiting in line to purchase something for which I had no money. However, Mom said she had plenty and, shooting me her patented superior grin, disappeared through a doorway I had not noticed earlier in the dream. I waited and waited, but she never returned. Now, before my mother died, she was deep into Lewy Bodies’ syndrome of dementia, her conversations sprinkled with references to the $7 million dollars she stashed in an unnamed bank somewhere in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Of course, she had no such funds and died nearly penniless, expending all her hard-earned savings on nursing home care. How strange that her first appearance in one of my dream’s involved this particular fancy.

When I woke, fresh from this unexpected encounter, I searched for a connection that would make sense of the two events. Both the ring and the dream had to do with motherhood, how we experience it, how we treasure it, how easily we can lose the threads that brought us together. How lovely and inexplicable that the ring and my mother should choose this night to emerge, unbidden, offering me a path to follow, a way to move forward along my journey, to march with love into the unknowable future. I think I have my orders now…cherish the past but don’t let it hold you back.


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