Last night I dreamt that Mom and I were going into a large bookstore together. I knew Mom was sick, but she was her old self: walking, hair, not so skinny. We were about to go inside, when we saw Amy Tan standing outside. We were so excited and went up to talk to her about how The Kitchen God's Wife was the first book we loved together and to thank her for her words. Then Mom needed to go to the bathroom, but she was able to go alone. Time passed, I looked around the store, then suddenly realized I had forgotten her in the bathroom. When I went to get her, she was as she is now and needed my help. I had left her there. It was horrible.
I woke up at 5am and couldn't get it out of my head. Still now, 15 hours later, I can't shake that image. My utter abandonment. My ignorance, my selfishness. And also the reminder of how different we are now. How she won't get to share things like The Kitchen God's Wife with me anymore. How when I discover some amazing writer or choreographer or movie that she would love, I can't share it with her.
I googled Amy Tan. It was such a random appearance in my dream, even that book was odd. Why not The Joy Luck Club? Anyway, the third thing that came up was Wikipedia (I know, I know), but the first sentence is that she is a writer who explores mother-daughter relationships. It's probably been at least a decade since I've read her work, but clearly something about Amy Tan and The Kitchen God's Wife resonates with representing something about our relationship. It was the first of her novels that I read, and it was on Mom's recommendation. But I can't tell you why that appeared in my dream last night. Or what that book is about. Now, of course, I need to reread it; perhaps I will have more insight after that. Or maybe that part was a silly distraction and the only thing that mattered was me leaving Mom when she needed my help. I needed a reminder that it's okay to feel sad and lost and helpless. And guilty. I hadn't been sad in a while, I've been so preoccupied with being angry at doctors and sorting out some other personal tasks. It was my body's way of reminding me that I need to keep the grieving process open. I'm not anywhere close to done.