Kill Bill is on my mind as my wedding looms near.
It’s not like you think. Really.
A week and a half ago, my fiancé, Anthony, said we should watch the first film while our son was away overnight. I agreed, figuring I’d be asleep within a few minutes. That’s how films are usually watched in my household: with Anthony watching and me snoring.
An unusual thing happened this time. I stayed awake for more than an hour, about twenty times longer than I usually manage. I fell asleep not because I was bored but because I was too exhausted to keep my eyes open any longer.* When I awakened the next morning, I immediately resumed watching, leading Anthony to exclaim he couldn’t believe his eyes.
I finished Kill Bill and Kill Bill 2 that morning. Anthony repeatedly expressed elation that I (a) actually finished watching a full movie and its sequel and (b) that those movies were made by Quentin Tarantino.**
If you think there’s a chance you’ll watch these movies and don’t want to be spoiled, you should probably skip the rest of this post. Don’t worry, it’ll still be here later.
Otherwise, read on. Read more…
I’m scared I’ll be a terrible wife. That I’ll fail to provide two children the love I’ve shared with one. That I’ll choke on my wedding day and run not toward but away. That marriage will change everything. That my pregnancy will end not in childbirth but child loss. That I will hurt the people I love and be unable to remedy those hurts. That I will not just err but fail significantly on the job. That my car will break in its now long daily drive, despite the care I take to keep it running well. That I do not deserve the love in my life, being far too grumpy and stubborn to warrant such affection. That I’ll never finish editing my already written books, or write a new one. That death is the end, and that it isn’t.
That’s just a starting list. I could write a novel-length list of my fears and only scratch the surface.
My customary silence about my fears doesn’t mean I don’t have them, or wish to conceal them. It reflects something else: a choice in perspective made based on my experiences so far.
I have lived alone in foreign lands.
I have written books, and even published a few.
I have shared personal, heartbreaking experiences despite shaking hands in the hopes others will understand there can be goodness after suffering.
Like my siblings, I’ve broken the cycle of abuse.
I’ve run two marathons, and run–mostly barefoot, in the rain–a half marathon.
I’ve been through law school and turned into a skilled worker thanks to guidance from some great managers.
Most challenging, I’ve worked from home for two and a half weeks while simultaneously caring for my then infant son and watching my mom die.
When I am silent about my fears, my silence reflects neither absence nor concealment. It reflects instead the knowledge borne from 34 years of being afraid . . . and seeing that fear predicts nothing if it is acknowledged but not accepted as truth about either capability or probability.
I am afraid, my friends, make no mistake about it.
But I am greater than my fear, so though I will acknowledge it, I will not grant it more power than it warrants, or deserves.
I was five months into my first pregnancy when my mom was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. I spent most of the latter months of that pregnancy praying my mom would live long enough to hold her first grandchild.
Now, two and a half months into my second pregnancy, I feel in every footstep the longing I felt my first pregnancy. Mom, hold this child and show it the love you showed me when I was little.
As soon as I think this, I have to remind myself I have tumbled into the past. Here, now, there is no chance my mom’s fingers will ever stroke this new grandchild’s cheeks. Mom’s fingers ceased to move three and a half years ago already.
But there’s a little something that’s helped. I don’t know what it has to do with faith or science, rationality or unreason, but it is grace, and I don’t need to know the why to be grateful for the what.
One recent afternoon, I posted a Facebook query asking if any of my friends could throw in their thoughts about a symbol appearing in a dream.
I explained I’d relinquished my teeth, but only temporarily, and that it was a profoundly positive thing. Everything I found about the symbolism of teeth in dreams showed loss of teeth as a negative, fearful thing. This could not have been further from the truth of my particular dream.
Wrote my sister in an assessment that my heart immediately recognized as truth:
One theory is that teeth represent power (since they are what we use to gnash, grind, crush those things to give us sustenance) – so in this theory, she was borrowing your teeth (your strength/power) so she would have the strength to show herself. Teeth are also thought to be the gateway to expression, so by borrowing your teeth, she could have been borrowing the ability to express herself to you, even if she said nothing. Fascinating! And wonderful.
To which “she” did my sister refer? You’ve likely found the answer on your own, but I’ll lay it bare here nevertheless:
In the dream I mentioned this morning, my mom had to borrow my teeth to have a presence here. It’s rare that a specific symbol shows in my dreams, so I googled teeth dreams. Everything is about cruddy teeth, though; there’s nothing about dreams where (temporary) tooth loss is a positive thing.
When I put on my wedding dress for a final fitting later today, I’ll undoubtedly cry, wishing once more I could show my mom how pretty her unmanageable, unmarriagable tomboy of a daughter looks in her frilly wedding dress. Even as I cry, I won’t really feel my mom is missing.
Because, you see, there was the dream, and it endures within me weeks after awakening from it.
I’ve been having a really hard time sleeping recently. Last night, at the end of a couple of hours staring at the ceiling, I found myself really, really missing my mom. I wished I could have just a single hug to carry me through.
I must have drifted off to sleep immediately after thinking this, because I found myself standing in front of Mom’s house. The door slipped open and I stepped inside, regardless of that it’s someone else’s now. Light swirled around me at the doorway of the room my mom died in, and my mom took shape from the light.
She enveloped me in the biggest hug I have ever felt. She didn’t speak, just kept up her embrace.
When the light dissolved and I stood by myself in the hallway, I didn’t feel by myself anymore.
Even now, upon awakening, I feel her still.