After my mom died, I thought she would appear in numerous ways and signs. A butterfly hanging about, a warm presence in the room, a vivid dream. I imagined that her essence would feel obvious and overwhelming, an external experience impossible to ignore. That hasn’t been the case. While I’ve seen her in a couple of dreams, they weren’t particularly profound and certainly didn’t leave me feeling like I’d been visited from the other side. Butterflies and birds cross my path, but no differently than before. And I’ve never once stopped dead in my tracks, certain she was in the room.
Something entirely different and unpredictable happened instead. My mom has gone from being an external presence when alive to an internal one now that she’s deceased. I feel her inside me as if her wisdom, humor, and way of seeing have assimilated in my body. So now, in moments, I see through her eyes.
Let me be more specific. My mom adored nature. She loved the faces of flowers, sunlight through trees, and the gentle touch of the wind. Sometimes when I’m out walking these days, I pause to gaze upward and am struck by the beauty in a way never seen before. I know this is how she saw the world. It also happens with my kids. Like when I randomly burst into song, laugh so hard I almost pee myself, or offer my kids a kiss and hug in the very same way my mom used to do. In other words, she never became something paranormal. Instead her perspective became a normal part of how I see the world. In this way, she’s as close as ever.