I shared with her I had similar dreams and I considered them a blessing. I recently dreamed of my mother, she was in her room, but it didn't look like the room which was hers for the last 37 years of her life on earth. I say on earth because I have a firm belief in an afterlife which makes it truly and simply the continuation of life in Christ.
In the room of my dream, my mother had both a living but unadorned scotch pine tree and a crystal lalique tree; the living tree seemed to grow neatly out of the floor and the crystal one was on a nearby side table of rich dark wood. In her time on Earth, she could not enjoy a living tree indoors due to allergy issues. She wanted and eventually got a green ceramic Christmas tree. The living dream tree was not sculpted into a traditional Christmas tree shape but was as natural in form as it was unadorned. The crystal tree was perhaps an extension of my imagination of her earthly desire, a thing of beauty and great worth, its elegant simplicity another reflection of my limited concept of heaven.
My mother's earthly home was full of bric-a-brac and a few items of reasonable worth mingled with. Every dusty piece was of great sentimental value to her and she imagined it all to have great dollar value as well. The chromolithograph below was on the wall of her living room from sometime in the early 1990s to the day she died in early 2003. I've no idea of its current value, but the day I picked it up and paid eight bucks, or was it six, at a yard sale in my childhood neighborhood, was the day my mother pointed to the vintage framed art and told me to "leave that here" when I was taking her second-hand finds off the back floorboard of my old Buick LeSabre.
She did it with a mischievous smile, one which couldn't be resisted, saying no to the twinkle in her dark emerald eyes not an option. When I was a little girl, I was terrified of the consequences of disobeying her; as an adult I knew I could refuse her request/command but chose to comply. I thought I'd bought this picture for myself, but it turns out I'd bought it for her.
She rarely asked for anything, but took great pride in earning things for herself. When someone gave her anything, anything at all, she treasured both the item and the connection with the person, almost in awe and always in great appreciation someone would give her something, and in close to all cases she would not let the item go. In hindsight, I wonder if that was at least one part the Great Depression mentality as her earliest acquaintance with this world was in that era.
It was both sad and sweet after her death when I lifted the picture off her paneled living room wall which she didn't care at all the paneling was considered dated, she liked it, and finally brought it to my home where it greets anyone who walks in the front door. It looks like Thomas Kinkade's artistry and being it was almost certainly conceived and brought to life before he was, I am reminded there is nothing original on this earth, merely different perceptions and interpretations of the same beauty.
As I look at it now, I'm not certain what drew this into my mother's vast and eclectic collections. She wasn't so fond of all things flowery and frilly as I am. Maybe it was the frame, unusual shape and old, old was always good in her book, but it, too, is embossed with flowers. Was it the suggestion of an ethereal destination beyond the stone walk way and marble steps? There is a place to go, but no one can be seen going there, they must be imagined. Did it make her think of the loved ones she often spoke of and missed terribly?
Mom would give people a piece of her mind when she was pushed, when the territory of her business was trespassed upon, but she wouldn't often divulge the depths of her heart. Along with many other thoughts and confidences, she took the reason for wanting this with her to heaven.
In the photograph of the picture I took this morning, I see a faint image of myself bottom center and a reflection of a McCoy bowl on top of a bookcase across from this yard sale turned heirloom item. (The bookcase's original life was part of an entertainment center handcrafted by my brother-in-law. I was delighted when it came to live in my home, its new incarnation one part display case and two parts library.) A bit of my mother was left on this earth in my form and the bowl was hers as well, an item I've wondered if my first daughter-in-love would like to have for the shade of it, in the aqua family, repeats in her decor.
I don't know if this picture will be treasured by another family member one day in the future or if another young mother will pick it up at a yard sale for six or eight bucks and her older mother will claim it. And it really doesn't matter all that much. One day I won't care, but today I do and this is the story of the picture on my front entrance wall.