Last night, I dreamt of my ex mother-in-law. In the dream, Dee sat in a chair in the corner of the room. I knew she was there for me in the midst of big decision in my life. I was about to do something reckless, teetering on what I should do because I’ve so many mistakes in my life.
When she realized I hadn’t come to a solid decision, she said, “Oh, it’s not real.”
As she started to rise, I put my hand on her knee and begged her to stay. “Am I making a mistake? Tell me what to do.”
“I don’t know.” She looked up, her eyes forward and not on me.
But I knew exactly what she thought and I knew exactly what I should do.
I woke up then, jarred, because she’d passed away two years ago. I didn’t realize until that moment how much I needed that woman in my life. I was 17 when I married her son, 19 when I divorced him, but I truly wish I could have kept her a part of my life. She moved a lot, and she liked her privacy, so her location and number weren’t readily shared.
Dee lived a hard life. She’d been through a lot, raising four children on her own, and because of that, she didn’t pass judgment on anyone. She was brave and she was true to herself and her family. She was fun, easy-going, and I connected with her more than I ever did my own mother.
I was one of those awkward kids who didn’t have a role model. I foolishly thought I could be my own, make my own path. That’s a hard road, especially with my background. My mother had always been taken care of and tossed judgments easily. I love my mom and I don’t hold her “ways” against her, but it’s hard to feel good enough around people like that. She’s always quick to give advice and eager to tell me what to do, but her advice and her example always lead me down the wrong path. We’re too different. We never clicked.
Now, I suggest to the younger generation in my family that they find role models, because I know how much of a difference the right one would have made in my life.
Dee was like a mother to me and I miss her dearly. More than that, she is my heroine, my visiting angel in a time of need, and I only wish I had been smart enough at that age to understand and to learn from her strength and courage.
Luckily, it’s never too late. I hope to make her proud this year.
How about you? Have you ever connected with someone more than your own family? Have you ever been visited by a special person from your past? Did you or did you not have a role model and how did that affect you? All comments welcome.