Home > Death, Dreams, Family, Love, Personal > I feel her still

I feel her still

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.

She did, and it was beautiful.

mom me n d

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.

Between pregnancy, my impending wedding, a wild schedule and plenty of other changes, “overwhelmed” is where I live these days.

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.


  1. September 7, 2013 at 6:48 am

    I am squealing with delight that you are pregnant again! Lil D will be such a great big brother and of course the little munchkins already have a wonderful mommy.

    I know I haven’t been commenting on anything lately, but that doesn’t mean I am not reading and thinking of you! I particularily love the way you write and delve into the deeper meanings of your thoughts and dreams.


    • September 7, 2013 at 7:04 am

      Thank you for your kind words! I am sooooooo excited to see D as a big brother. He loves the babies at preschool, and I’ve already gotten a few belly kisses. He keeps asking when he gets to play with his “little brother.”

      I cannot begin to tell you how excited I get when I see you’ve commented. Whether that’s frequent or infrequent, I am always thrilled. ♥

  2. September 7, 2013 at 6:50 am

    What a beautiful post that shows the kind of amazing lady you are.

    I hope this next month before the big W is a whirlwind of amazing moments, and am sending you the biggest hug to you and the new little nugget. ❤

    • September 7, 2013 at 7:06 am

      I want to reach right through the computer and give you a great big hug right now. I feel like I just got hugged by your words. Happy wishes for you and yours, too!

  3. September 7, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Goosebumps. No doubt, she’ll be there, too. Congrats on both the upcoming wedding and your new addition!

    • September 7, 2013 at 7:07 am

      Thanks, Nori! It is a rush of joy to imagine so many people from my two core homes together all at once. ♥

  4. September 7, 2013 at 6:56 am

    Deb, this is lovely. Really, really lovely.

    I really, truly believe that those that we’ve “lost” have ways of letting us know they are still here, with us, watching and loving us from afar. I’ve had many instances where I have felt, smelled, heard, or (as strange as it may sound) loved ones that have passed. One in particular I’ll never forget came about 2 weeks after my father passed away. Prior to his death, we talked often about the unit study I was doing with C (who was 7) on Helen Keller and Braille. I explained how she was creating two display boards (for a “science fair” type evening our homeschool group was hosting: one on Helen Keller and the other displayed the Braille alphabet (via raised “gem dots.”) The evening of the display, I had to run home to pick up the paper products I had forgotten. While in the car alone, tears began to stream, and I remember saying (aloud), “Dad, I am so sorry you won’t get to see her shine tonight.” And, as clear as though he was sitting next to me I heard, “Are you kidding, honey, I’ve got the best seat in the house.” I felt his with me all evening. From that evening on, I knew my dad (and since then, my mom, best friend, and brother) are all still “here”, watching and loving me still.

    Lil D will know her, and so will this new little one on the way. xoxo

    • September 7, 2013 at 7:13 am

      I got goosebumps reading this. I had a couple of moments I could’ve sworn I felt my mom with me, but they were overlaid by doubt. In this case, it was impossible to feel doubtful, or anything other than overwhelmingly loved. In a challenging encounter a week ago, I felt that same sensation of light swirling around me, and with it a sense of being simultaneously buoyed and anchored . . . kinda like the feeling I get from reading your words. Love. ♥

  5. September 7, 2013 at 7:35 am

    You journey through life, up and down with more grace than most of us have in our thumbs. You humble me and bring smiles across my face as I look at the pictures of your expanding family, those you share and the ones I see in my heart through your words.

    This is my small gift today, I hope you love her words as much as I do.

  6. Chana
    September 7, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Deborah, there are so many things I want to share with you. Your writings about your mom have always touched me. This one reminds me of my dream when I finally got to be held by and hold my mom a year after her death. I remember waking and still feeling the presence of that hug in my arms. It was such a comfort. That nurturing your mother gave you lives in you to share with David and with this new person (how exciting!) who grows in you now. And lot’s of mazel on your upcoming wedding and health and growth in this new year. Chana

  7. September 7, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Oh, Deb! I am so happy to hear this news! Babies, weddings! So much joy! And while I know it’s somewhat bittersweet for you because your mom isn’t here to see it, I know you’re holding her in your heart and she is always close to you. So much love to you and your family. ❤

  8. September 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Deb, I am overwhelmed after reading your post and your followers’ comments. You enable me to understand or even recognize feelings I have had as a motherless mom. As you know, I feel my mother’s presence every day in so many ways. And, like you I am grateful for what I do feel and have. My mom and daughter did get to meet and hold each other since my mom died when Sandra was 4 months old. Carrying and delivering my son 3 years later had the bittersweet feelings you describe. We did not know “his” gender before he was born but we did know we were naming the baby after my mom. Philip was born, with a head of hair and expression that resembled my mom’s. Ironically or maybe purposefully, we were able to name him with a name very close to my mom’s, Phyllis. We had not found a girl’s name that we liked and that was close enough in sound or spelling.

    I wish you an easy pregnancy and all wonderful things as you have such joyous events to come and a loving mother in your heart and soul.

  9. September 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Heartfelt hugs.
    I love that you know that your mama is with you – now and until the end of time.
    And congratulations – babies and weddings and love. A mixture which is very, very hard to beat.

  10. September 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I can’t believe
    E that folks leave us for good. They stay in places that we stumble upon sometimes by design but more often when as sound, a smell, or a laugh brings them out. She is in you, and will be.

  11. September 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I’m so very overjoyed for you and your family! I’ve had so much going on in my life lately that I haven’t had much time to keep up with reading my favorite blogs. Just know that you’re in my thoughts and that your post has made my evening in so many ways! 🙂

  12. September 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    You will be such a wonderful mom…again! omg They say brides are radiant, and pregnant mothers are especially beautiful…your words speak your beauty deep inside. I am so excited and thrilled for your family…everyone! My best wishes to all of you.

  13. September 8, 2013 at 11:07 am

    I have heard of this kind of thing before; mother’s who have passed on “visiting” or staying close to their pregnant daughters. Seems completely natural to me. By the way, congratulations! Take care of yourself.

  14. September 9, 2013 at 5:31 am

    Deb, congratulations on your pregnancy! and wedding…wow. You have a lot of great things happening but of course happy things cause stress too…it is really sad that your mom won’t be going through this pregnancy with you. Perhaps just give this new child double the love and hugs and kisses and care for both of you….I do know what you mean a little though. I lost my Dad 2 years ago suddenly and he was so great with my son.He really saw him; looked for his strengths and really appreciated him for who he is, not what he expected him to be. I wish my mom could fill the void but she isn’t like that…anyway, it’s sad my son won’t have such a great cheerleader as he grows. Oh, you just made me tear up….ok, I’ll sign off! Again, so happy for you!

  15. Donnell Jeansonne
    September 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Congratulations! I’m so happy for you guys!

  16. September 11, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Beautiful post, Deb. I’ve got tears in my eyes. Congratulations on being a mama-to-be again!

  17. September 12, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Awwww…Congratulations! I’m just a little further along than you at 16 weeks. I just got out of my exhausted phase.

  18. September 12, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Wow, Deb, I just read this! I’m so happy for you!! Been super swamped at work and unable to post anything on my blog for quite awhile. Hope you are doing well, and take it one step and one day at a time. 🙂 Lots of love!! XOXO-Kasey

  19. September 12, 2013 at 11:53 am

    late to the party, but want to throw in my congratulations on your pregnancy. GREAT news! and while two children doubles the work (and costs) it also more than quadruples the joy. blessings to your whole family!

  20. September 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I missed the pregnancy announcement. I can barely keep up with my blog so I’m not volunteering on yours, but what I am doing is saying…..congratulations!!!! So happy for you, sweetie.

  21. September 15, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Congrats on the baby, and good luck with all the plans and hecticness. I wish you much strength and energy (well, as much as can reasonably be expected). Very touching about your mother, and I’m sorry that she can’t be physically with you for these amazing events.

  22. September 20, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Ok, I am very late to this, but I still want to give you a hug and tell you congratulations on the new life you are nurturing. My heart is happy for you.

  23. September 23, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Beautiful! Glad I stopped by your blog today, Deb. 🙂

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