One summer when I was young I happened to stumble upon “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” and found myself mesmerized by Carl Jung’s intense tracking of his internal life. In him, I saw a reflection of myself in the way that he processed information around him. Thankfully, as I’ve aged I’ve become somewhat more externally focused but the inner life can reveal much of import.
The night before I received a suicide note from my mother, I had a dream. In the dream I was in a car that had somehow fallen into the sea. Water was seeping into the vehicle as it plunged to the bottom of the ocean with me in it. I knew I was drowning but there was nothing I could do. I watched helplessly.
It is now four years later and my dreams have quieted some. My mother is gone and what remains are memories and reflections. Yet in these she is more alive than ever. And that is the gift the Lord has given me. He has given me back my mother.
The other day I saw the new Disney/Pixar movie “Brave” about the spirited princess Mereda. While I never spoke to my mother the way Mereda does hers’, I could relate to her feeling as if she had nothing in common with my mother. “Change my mother!” is Mereda’s wish and from this incantation a witch’s spell transforms the Queen into a bear.
I too wanted my mother to be different. I wanted a mother who didn’t have a problem with alcohol and who didn’t wind up in jail five times for felony DUIs. I wanted a mother who was emotionally available and who would parent me instead of the other way around. Yet when the witch’s spell threatens to be permanent, Mereda suddenly realizes all she might lose. She remembers being a young girl playing at her mother’s feet and being scooped up in her mother’s arms. Similarly, when my mom died I too remembered the strength of a bond before it was torn.