Last night I had the most mind blowing dream. The tears are welling now. I dreamt that my mother had an apartment somewhere, and we (myself, my father, and my stepmother) went to clean it out. In the dream I was my age right now, but my dad and my (ex) stepmother were themselves years ago. I am crying now.
Somehow, the owners of the apartment were kind enough to keep the apartment as it was for all of these years rent free, because they felt bad for what our family had been through, but now was time to clean the place out. I had contemplated moving to the apartment, but it was in the suburbs (tried that- didn't go well) Going there was so wonderful. I was able to feel again what it was like before she died, to try to remember what it was to feel like a child. (nothing had dust, everything was as it would be had it been left for a week)
I started in my room, finding a sparkly blanket that made me feel like royalty, and one of those furry polyester blankets (in my dream it had cheetahs on it) that seemed so luxurious to me as a kid. I found outfits I used to wear (more girly and princessy than I wore in real life- but those were the kind I would have liked to wear at that age- I was a priss) I was most excited to see a hula skirt, In my dream there was some beloved memory of this grass skirt.
I was only halfway through my bedroom when my dad and stepmom were telling me that it was time to finish. I felt a strong feeling of injustice and sensed that I had to speak up, I had to stand my ground. These items were precious. They were my link to the past, physical, material items I could hold in my hand to transport me back to the life I had lost. Even more important was my mother's room, this was an opportunity to meet, as a woman, the woman that my mother was. I would have to piece it together item by item, but it was all I had...it would be wrong to take that away from me.
Through convincing, stalling, and luck I was able to explore more. I even was able to talk to her spirit for a few minutes, adult daughter to mother. I remember wanting to take and wear all of her clothes. (even though she was 5' 10" 125 lbs.) I had found poetry and songwriting, wallets and even birth control.
She had addressed a letter to me, and it was framed. My dad said it was my choice to read it or not, they wanted to wait until I was an adult to read it. I don't remember what it said but I remember it being anti-climactic (I had assumed it would be a suicide note or a note warning me about the illness of my dad)
I woke up slowly, in the warm embrace of my mother's house. Not unhappy to be awake, but desiring to drift back for a few more minutes.
Last night my dad came over and helped me pick up some shelves I had purchased from a Pier One imports that was having a going out of business sale. Together moved and assembled these shelves, it was all a great success. Spending this time with my dad was lovely and painful at the same time. Painful as it always is. He is a very angry person, he exploded because some guy was "driving in the middle of the road" when its honestly just a narrow street so everyone does. That is painful because it's hard to see someone you love in pain (how awful to get so angry over something so easily) but it was lovely becasue I was detached from it. I could see he was in pain, but it was his pain, not mine, and I didn't feel the responsibility to take it from him. (or the confusion of understanding the world- "hes pissed- so that driver must have done something wrong- I will be sure I don't do that thing wrong and piss people off because he was really mad")
It was also painful because he has a cataract, as I expected would happen he is aging quickly, and it will be my responsibility to look after him, since he is not 100% competent (I imagine sometime in my life I will be given the legal rights to make decisions for him) A bittersweet upside to this is as he becomes more like a cantankerous old man, he becomes just that, a cantankerous old man. He is no longer the daddy who scared and confused me, he is now becoming a non-threatning old man who you just let him have his way because arguing just makes him and everyone upset.
The dream I am sure was a reflection on what I was putting the shelves up for. I have saved many of her books, clothes and other "artifacts" as well as a few toys from my childhood. I noticed last night that it may be time for me to let go of some of these things. Giving away the plastic dinosaur will not rob me of the memories of filling his mouth up with water during bathtime, as my mom put strawberry shampoo in my hair.
I had a nice (relatively nice, literally and figuratively) time last night. My dad and I accomplished a goal together as a team, no power struggles, no severe anxiety attacks (minus a few angry outbursts at the world) Yes, I was embarrassed by his strange and inappropriate behavior in public, but I have only one dad, and he happens to be mentally ill. I used to be embarrassed by it maybe because I didn't accept it. I think I somehow thought he could be normal if he really tried, and that I could "fool" people into thinking he was a normal dad. I guess I am getting over that (almost 30 hee hee) Hes my dad. Those are my cards. I have to play them.
BUT one good thing about having a crazy dad...a crazy dad thinks you are brilliant for buying 44 shelves and 10 frames for them. He tells you "You got a great deal...this lumber alone would cost 10 dollars a piece" so he doesnt grumble about transporting 4 times as many shelves as you can actually install in your apartment's storage locker. (oh my god they are georgous! If I didn't have my crazy dad I would not have inherited the crazy eye that buys GEORGEOUS shelves at moving sales :) )