The absolute busyness of starting college was as much a curse as it was a blessing. Thankfully, the friends on my dorm floor were all very nice and maybe too much fun.
I was happy to have been invited to join the sorority I felt the most comfortable in, even though for a while I was known as “the umbrella girl”. One of our first pledge class activities was an event that involved us all sitting in a circle and sharing a bit about ourselves.
My heart sank a little as it got closer to being my turn. I’d have to share about my mom and I knew it would get heavy, fast. My heart hammered in my chest.
Hi! My name is Karen, everyone calls me Mod. I’m a Radio/TV major from Oak Park, Illinois, and um, my mom died at the beginning of this month.
Hugs and support but boy did I feel like a buzzkill. But this is who I was and it felt important that people knew.
My roommate, Kindness, and I got along well. Her friends were nice and we both did our own thing while existing in the same space together amicably. I appreciated her. I definitely believe the fact that my mom had just died made her a little nervous, but she truly never let it show.
One night, we were both sound asleep in our beds that were just a few feet from each other. I had an incredibly vivid dream.
In it, I was sitting on an old, brown, metal folding chair, the kind my grandparents would bring out when company came. My mom was sitting next to me and it was obvious we were in a parklike, very green cemetery. The sun was shining and it felt so good to be with her.
She looked right at me and smiled. She told me I would be okay, that everything would be okay. I didn’t want the dream to end but at that moment, I woke up.
It was the middle of the night, the only light in our dorm room was from my brand-new-grad-gift fancy digital alarm clock.
I woke up from this dream that felt real and believed my mom was sitting at the edge of my bed.
KINDNESS. I whispered loudly.
“What, what?” she replied in a sleepy stupor.
Is my mom sitting at the edge of my bed?
Big, big mistake.
Sweet Kindness let out a blood-curdling scream, jumped to her feet on top of her bed, and started screaming “Sweet Jesus, sweet, sweet Jesus!” as she rapidly clapped her hands to coincide with the run-jumping action of her body.
I scared poor Kindness to her bones.
Which then frightened me.
After I told her about my dream and that I felt certain my mom was actually there with me, it didn’t help her calm down at all. Not one bit.
Once we were settled back in to hopefully fall asleep again, I prayed to God: Okay God, that was pretty intense and really scary. I don’t know what that was, but maybe my mom shouldn’t come back like that again.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to undo that prayer in the decades since she has died. While she has been in my dreams, none were quite as vivid and spectacular as that first one. It came when I deeply needed reassurance.
Poor Kindness was more than happy to do a roommate swap at the upcoming semester break.