My mother walked into the kitchen this morning with tears in her eyes. I could tell she was trying to be strong, but that a strong hug would make it better. She’d had a bad dream.
Granny walked into the kitchen around the same time and saw that her baby needed a hug. It didn’t matter, the dream. “We’re here now,” she said.
To show empathy and steal away some residual rawness from the dream, Granny spoke of a reoccurring dream she had when she was younger, first dating my grandfather. Pop would be riding off in a red convertible with a long-haired, raven beauty and she would find herself chasing after them, shouting ‘Don’t leave!’ She would wake up out of breath from chasing the car in her dream and in tears from the heartache of imagining the loss of love. For years, she said, she dreamt of the raven hair and red convertible.
One night before bed, she made it a point to rethink her actions should this dream return. She realized that it made no sense to run after someone who didn’t want her. So instead of chasing after him, she said, ‘BYYEE!’ and waved her tiny hand in the air as the imagined figures disappeared into the distance.
We laughed at the gallantry of her dismissal and revered the strength in her ability to let go of something so painful; to say goodbye. That was the last time she ever had that dream.
We hugged my mom again, bringing out tears of relief and happiness that whatever pain she imagined was just that - a dream. Granny cooked us up some delicious bacon and scrambled eggs, with biscuits baking in the oven. I had a meeting right then and would be late for breakfast.
Within the first 10 seconds of the call, my manager furloughed me and passed me over to human resources for questions. The meeting lasted 9 minutes. I was just in time for breakfast with a side of tears.
There I was one moment looking forward to my workweek, feeling lucky to be one of many few to have a job during a worldwide health crisis; the next moment, I was sitting stunned at the dinner table with tears rolling down into my eggs. I tried to be strong, but my mom and granny knew a strong hug would be better for me. When I shared the news, they understood my pain, but didn’t seem at all worried.
“This is the hard part that happens to make room for something better,” granny said. “You’ll see.”
Albeit my raw emotions, I trusted her words with great care and found comfort in her knowledge. This was a woman who knew how to say goodbye to what did her no good. It felt like my turn to say goodbye.
For months I’d been considering what I might do to help people in a much bigger way, knowing soon enough there would be an entire population in need of some major mental hugs. I’ve felt strongly for this cause for so long and passionate toward finding my role in helping the world heal. But how?
I hadn’t given myself the time to really think of how I could make this dream into a reality. The dream itself seemed to be more a chase into an alternate universe beyond reach. But behold, that time has now been granted, and I have no choice but to say goodbye to mere dreaming.
What will I do?
We shall see...