Mary ama dormire (Modern Mary loves to sleep)

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love to sleep.

Whether waking or sleeping, Modern Mary makes sleep a priority. Postcard image by Trish Grantham

It might be in my genes. My father has always been a notorious sleeper. Give him 5 minutes in a comfortable chair, regardless of the hour, and he will give you a nap.

I’m not so much the napping type as I am the sleep-for-10-hours-at-a-time type. I often tell Mr. Bailey, “You know what I’d like to do? Sleep for two weeks.”

In times of stress, I like to head to bed around 9:30 and sleep, preferably, until 8 or 9 a.m.

If you’re a sleeper like me, you know dreams sometimes play a role in the experience.

Since my mom died, my dreams have become rich, offbeat and resonant parts of my nighttime routine.

It seems every suggestion or fear is immediately processed into my subconscious and put into the dream queue.

I’ve had a hard time adjusting to the absence of constant conversations with my siblings, the important conferring, the unity of our family as we fought cancer collectively. I am in the midst of deciphering what our family will be like now that my mother, the spoke, the emotional home of our unit, is gone.

In my midnight dreams, my three brothers and I are in my grandmother’s old house, together, sharing memories, looking around the dining room, theFloridaroom, laughing, when suddenly we hear the new owners arriving home. We all run into the yard, dashing like mad from our nostalgic breaking and entry.

I keep forgetting to put my hair up in rag curls at night!

I’m running blindly, trying to keep track of my brothers, desperate. Where have they gone? I catch flashes of their clothes as I dash down a set of stairs somewhere. We need to stay together, I insist.

Awake, I have fretted about the coming holidays, with their ties to home and family, memories like glittering lights on a twinkle string. They seem to illuminate only sadness without my mom.

At night, my third eye takes me to a future peculiarly reversed. It’s a future in which my father died instead of my mom. There we are in the midst of the holidays without him, all of us gathered where we always do – in my parent’s kitchen, surrounded by friends, family, trying to make sense of the first holiday without him.

In our daylight conversations, Mr. Bailey suggests we do something completely different and take a trip toNew Yorkright before Christmas.

As I lay sleeping, I dream we are stepping out of the airport into aNew York Citydecorated to the hilt with festive lights, swaying in a brisk winter wind. I feel the straps from the luggage I carry (with two kids we always have lots of luggage) dig into my shoulder as we cross a busy street to our hotel. Then we’re walking through a warm hotel, a corridor decorated with trees and ornaments and people milling, all sorts of people, here, and not home, for the holidays. It feels strange, exciting.

When I wake, I tell Mr. Bailey about myNew York dream.

“You are so impressionable,” he says, his eyes twinkling.

The dreams sometimes detract from the restfulness of my sleep, and sometimes enhance it. I wake with a sinking feeling so often it’s become a part of my morning routine. I imagine actually sinking into my bed, being swallowed by it. It’s not unpleasant.

Eventually, when all of the fantasies of slumber have been dislodged by the slanting soft light of morning, I get up. I RSVP for tonight to my sheets, my pillow, my comforter, my dreams.


3 thoughts on “Mary ama dormire (Modern Mary loves to sleep)

  1. There will never be anything like this first, painful, horrible year. All of the holidays, holy days, birthdays, anniversaries, important days that were always spearheaded by your mom…painful, painful, painful. Much of the pain comes from the unknown–how will these days be celebrated, will you all still be close as a family, will you all see each other as often as you had, how will life change? I can remember sobbing in my sister-in-law’s arms as my whole family shared our last dinner together in the house that we grew up in. I was afraid that this would be the last “full family” meal that we would ever share, and besides, when we came in to Youngstown, where would we stay, if not with my mother, sleeping in my own bed? I will always remember that day…I may also be the only one of approximately 24 people in our family who remembers that day, and grieves over the loss of that house. The house has been torn down now, youngstown’s answer to blight in neighborhoods. My oldest brother chose to sell the house for $10,000 to a woman with 6 kids. I asked him to donate it to the Ursuline nuns who already ran a halfway house up the street for battered, abused women. The nuns would make sure that the house would be renovated and maintained… It would have been a perfect legacy for my mother who so loved her Faith. I was a voice crying in the wilderness. I’m not sure that any of my siblings cried when the house was torn down, but I did.

    You will make new memories, establish new traditions, find a different happiness, I promise. But it won’t be this year. You all will have to go throught the horror and loneliness of one year before you start making new, wonderful traditions.

    I miss your mother everyday. Everyday that the Lord sends, I think of another reason to call her, to ask her to fill in a memory that I’ve lost, to share a book and/or a movie that I know she’ll love, and everyday I pray to her and ask her to watch over all of you, and to help all of you to get through this sadness, and I ask her to watch over me, too. I’m crying for all of you, everyday.

  2. I read your post with many nods of the head – many things that sounds very familiar. I am also fretting over Christmas without dad 2 months in advance and going throught the bumps of working out what family is and what is means to have one less person in it.

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