I dreamed of Mama last night. It was the first time I’ve dreamed of her since she died. Well, there was one time before where she was supposed to be around, but I never found her; like I was at her apartment and she was out visiting. This was the first time I’ve seen Mama’s face and heard her voice.
We were at a lawyer’s office. I think we were there to talk to a lawyer about the back alimony that Mama’s ex-husband, Jim Childers, owed her (he stopped paying his alimony back in April of last year). They called me into the office and asked me a bunch of questions that weren’t related to anything while Mama waited outside in the lobby. After a bit, Mama came in and went into another office with another lawyer. I wish I could claim a joyous reunion, but the dream was very matter-of-fact. We were there to do something that needed to be done. There wasn’t much more to it.
After that were dreams that had nothing to do with Mama. Not directly, anyway. I mean, she was’t in them. But one stands out. In one I was sitting on a toilet in some kind of run-down public restroom, trying to, um, have a bowel movement. But I couldn’t. I don’t mean I was constipated, exactly. I mean that I felt like I needed to go but nothing at all was happening.
This last part upset me when I woke up this morning. Not a lot of people know it, but when we say that it was a blood clot that killed Mama, we don’t mean it was like a blood clot to the brain, which ends thing suddenly, or a blood clot to the heart, which causes a heart attack. Mama had a blood clot to her small intestines. That means that before the sudden, severe pain that lead Mama to go to the hospital on December 29th, she had complained for a few weeks that she felt bad. She told us that she thought something was “bad wrong”. When they performed the exploratory surgery the next morning after Mama had gone to the hospital, they discovered that her small intestines were dead. A blood clot had blocked the blood flow to her small intestines, and the tissue had died. When Mama had the severe pains that finally forced her to go to the hospital, her body was likely already shutting down. As the doctor told us, “you can’t live without a small intestine”.
Since Mama died last December 30th, I have been haunted by thoughts of what it must have been like for her. What it felt like for that to be happening in her body. How worried she must have been, suspecting that something was wrong and not knowing what. Feeling alone and frightened on the day that it finally got so bad she couldn’t ignore it anymore.
After the last part of that dream, I think I have some clue about what it must have felt like. But I find some comfort in knowing that Mama wasn’t in any outright pain until the day she went to the hospital. She died the next day, surrounded by family who were singing to her. It was a merciful passing. And if Mama had distress in the week or weeks leading up to that, I can take some small comfort in knowing that she was, perhaps, mostly feeling discomfort. I talked to her a few days before she died and she was not in any outright pain then.
It’s been a tough day for me. Not only did I get to see Mama’s face in my dreams last night (I can’t remember now if she actually spoke to me), but I dreamed something bizarre about my stomach. I woke up almost feeling like I’d been given a message.
Right now I feel really hard at two people in Kings Mountain, North Carolina.
One is Jim Childers, her ex-husband, who illegally stopped paying his alimony to Mama back in April of last year, knowing full well that he couldn’t just stop paying alimony in violation of a court order, but also knowing full well that Mama wasn’t likely to do anything about it. Thanks to Jim Childers the last eight months of my mother’s life was a struggle financially (cut back your income by $300 a month and see how you fair) and Mama died with $4 in her checking account. I have never felt more strongly about anything as I do my belief that Jim Childers needs to be made to live up to his responsibilities.
Another man that I feel hard at is Mama’s doctor. I argued with her for years that the man was a fool and felt strongly that his incompetence was directly related to my aunt Loretta’s death in 2002. I believe his negligence also killed Mama. One of the doctors in Charlotte asked one my cousins why in the world Mama wasn’t on Coumadin; especially given the fact that she’d had a blood clot in her leg just months before. She wasn’t on Coumadin because her moron of a doctor took her off of it. Had he not, she would likely be alive today. And, as my aunt Sue keeps asking, how does someone get in that bad a shape without her doctor knowing it? Well, the same doctor treated my aunt Loretta for years without noticing that she had COPD (something that was only discovered when she was hospitalized with a broken ankle and wound up in ICU because she was in such bad shape physically). It is my opinion that this man has killed two members of my family should not be practicing medicine.
Both of these men need to face the consequences of their actions. But if I had to choose between the two, I would pick Jim Childers. His offense was more of a direct, calculated slap in the face, and however much he might run for commissioner in Kings Mountain or sit on business committees, he will never wipe away that stain. The doctor is just a fool. Jim Childers is in violation of a court order and should be charged with contempt of court and jailed if possible.
In the end, for the most part what I took away from the dream was that I got to see Mama. I’m thankful for that. I needed it. Even though it wasn’t the kind of dream I could have hoped for, where I got to sit down and talk with her and just be with her, I got to feel her presence. I’ll keep that with me for awhile. And hopefully at some point I’ll dream of her again. I think on some level I need that.