I dreamed about her last night, my mother. It was a pleasant, warm, sunny day, and I was going to someone’s funeral, at a nice venue. There were a lot of women there, well-dressed, older. We entered a pretty room where tables were set up for lunch. My mother was with me, saying, “I’d like you to arrange my funeral here, Jane.” “But mother,” I replied, “I already had two funerals for you, a funeral and a committal service,” and thought, no, I can’t go through all that again. And it occurred to me that people don’t typically attend their own funeral services in the flesh.
Now we are sitting at a round table, more or less across from each other, with other women we might have known. I look at her closely, studying her face, her hair, her smile. I know every inch of her face, down to the small beauty spot on her nose. How wonderful that we can be together again! Yes, I think, dreaming is a way I can still be with her, even though she’s gone. I leave my seat and walk over to her, burying my face in her hair, breathing in her scent. My lips brush the soft, papery skin of her cheek, all just as I’d remembered.
On the morning of her death day a hospice worker arrived to give her a sponge bath in her bed. I saw the curve of her thigh, so beautiful, and said, “She did a lot of dancing on those legs.” Later, just before she was prepared to be wheeled out of the room by the funeral director, I uncovered her foot for one last look. Her feet were narrow, and the second toe was longer than her big toe, making it hard for her to find shoes that would fit. I touched the toe and smiled.