In my dream I am in a van with several other people riding through the Ithaca Commons. Outside on the left, we pass my daughter, Marika, who is smiling brilliantly, blindly, walking with a friend guiding her.
“Hi Marika,” everyone in the van calls out to my daughter who died over three years ago. I’m happy she hears their greetings. I call out to her myself, “Marika, we love you.” Through the back window of the van I see her turn and hold her arms out. Her smile fades and she cries.
The alarm clock woke me then. It was time to get up and go off to the weekend retreat for bereaved mothers, Mothers Healing Together.
Hours later, at Wiawaka Holiday House in Lake George, there were women in all stages of grief. They were healing the holes in their lives as they held close the memories of their beloved children. They looked for ways to honor them and link them to the future. I talked with them like they were sisters. We shared our stories and cried together. We laughed together. We bathed in the vibrations of gongs and walked the winding path of the garden labyrinth following one another’s footsteps.
My own memories stirred from sounds echoed over the lake. I remembered cookouts, camps, attending soccer games, … being so proud of my daughter at school musicals. For the first time in over three years I found myself at a time and place where I was Marika’s Mom again.
I cried when I came home. And I marked my calendar for next year’s retreat.
As for my dream: I tell myself Marika walks happily, peacefully, among new friends as I do. It cheers me to imagine her jamming with the other talented children of the mothers I spent time with who, like me, sing their daughter’s songs and live their children’s dreams.