Blue Satin

The dream came to me the first time after a fitful night of rest, just a few hours before the dawn of my first day at school. High school. My mother had been so proud of me as she watched me accept awards for high merit and grade point averages in front of my classmates at my eighth grade graduation. A spoof on high school graduation, of course, but without tassels and gowns. We had to dress up, which I absolutely hated to do, and it was worse when mom presented me with a blue satin dress for the occasion. I hated dresses! Wearing dress pants could be okay, but having to remember to sit a special way, to walk a special way... it was more than I cared to have to deal with.

In the dream, I saw mom again, giving me the dress, and explaining how beautiful I would look in front of all my classmates.

"You'll be the most beautiful girl there," Mom said, mussing my long brown hair playfully. I winced and shook my head, then smoothed my hair back into place.

"Mom..." I groaned, only half serious, a smile tugging at the corner of my lips.

"Come on sweetie. The boys will love it. They'll fall all over themselves to get to you." Mom's face lit up with another smile, and she stood up and retrieved the dress from the closet, then slung it over one arm.

"Yeah right." I said, and then took another look at the dress. It was satin. I had never owned anything made out of satin before... with a dubious look to continue playing the part, I reluctantly took the dress from mom's arm.

"All right... I guess I could try it on at least..." And I saw mom's smile once again before the dream slowly faded away...

Why was I dreaming of it? There wasnít really any great significance to the event... I had worn the dress to the graduation, accepted the awards, and that was about it. Sure, I ended up spilling juice all over it, but mom managed to salvage the satin dress after only three trips to the laundry mat.

I wonder what my brain was trying to tell me... My mom died not two weeks later in a car accident. Maybe my brain was trying to find some way to deal with the grief without actually having to confront the horrible truth.

That would explain it... But it still didnít make sense. You would think that my brain would start giving me dreams about the funeral, or how she had died, or dreams where my mother would tell me everything was all right and she was in a better place. Something along those lines that would help me come to terms with my mother's death and help along the road of self-healing. But no. I only dreamt of blue satin dresses and middle school graduations.

What was wrong with me? Maybe everything was wrong. But I couldnít do much about it. I was having a hard enough time just acting normal. Sure, everyone was kind when I went back to school, throwing me the normal comments of "Iím so sorry" and "I heard about your mom..." a comment that usually sent people off to the other side of the room, embarrassed for their apparent rudeness. Some of my friends had even written me letters and called me to share their experiences with parent deaths and helped me get through the first week of school, explaining the routine I was likely to get from teachers and friends.

After a couple of weeks, they returned to their normal routine and apparently assumed that I'm all right now, perfectly back to normal. Oh how wrong they were...

I felt so confused... like my emotions have been shaken up in a lottery box and torn into little pieces, then scattered about with a leaf blower. My best friend came from New York to stay with me for the week following mom's death, but after that comforting presence went back to her home to resume school, I began to become confused again, and finally fell into the clutches of depression.

Why canít I be happy? It seemed that I would never be happy again without mom. My mom was always my closest confidante, my best friend, and I held such love for my mom that it felt as if I had been the one to die that terrible September day.

Why am I so different? Since that horrible day, I noticed changes within myself. My behavior changed in such a way that I couldnít control it. Not like outbursts of outrageous behavior, but more subtle changes. Like the way I dealt with people. I have always been the quiet person, not one to shout out to friends or to even attempt to make a large amount of friends. But now I was making friends where I could, talking without first thinking of the consequences, and changing in other ways that I still do not understand.

What am I turning into? My first major piece of insight was from a friend online, an older male friend from India. We had been sharing information on their countries for a couple of weeks, and because of his polite manner and friendship I felt that I could confide in him. I told him of mom's death, and explained what had been happening throughout the last couple of months. He explained that he'd noticed something about me as well. That I consisted of two extremes, one of an innocent child, and one of a very mature adult. Although his opinion was that all people were of more than one part, he explained that in my case it was an odd mix of extremes, although not one that made me a bad person in any way. He said that he had noticed this in several of my letters.

Finally, a piece of the answer... I suppose that this was the cause of the changes. The new responsibilities that were forced upon me after her motherís death. Suddenly becoming the "woman" of the household. Being expected to continue to receive good grades, study my five beloved instruments, taking care of the house, and still attempting to have some small semblance of a social life. It might not seem like a struggle to some people who have most likely experienced worst, but it's a horrible burden to carry. I feel like the weight of the world is upon my shoulders, and they are at the breaking point. It seems as if people expect everything from me, things that I cant provide, yet I am compelled by love and friendship to try anyway. Sometimes that in itself is an overbearing burden.

Why do they think so much of me? Sometimes I wonder if I will ever measure up to their standards. They all think so much of me, think that I can tackle so many problems at once, that I extremely smart and knowledgeable... but I am not a genius! Far from it in fact. How can I tell them this, though? They have done so much for me; it seems unfair that I could not stand up to their expectations. So I try my best. It seems that there should be an old saying along the lines of "Sometimes 'your best' is not enough, no matter how hard you try." It seems that I live my life by that line now.

When will I stop grieving? Perhaps I will never stop grieving. It is a terrible feeling to live with, day by day. There was an empty ache in my heart where my mom's love should be. Of course my mother had loved me, but now she's was gone... memories of love are never the same as the real thing. I know that I'm not the only one grieving, but I am the one who is expected to take care of it. They come to me for comfort as if I have already gotten past the pain and would be able to wave a magic wand to make it go away for everyone else. My friends come to me to ask for answers to problems I barely know anything about. So I retreated within my shell and vowed to never show my true emotions to anyone ever again.

Do I have to be like this forever? I know I am not without support, but it seems as if the world is suddenly against me. It is hard for me to just live. I try to share my feelings sometimes, but I am sometimes repelled. Some people accept and understand my feelings, while others act as if I were acting silly for hurting so much. I feel a certain hate for those people and their uncaring manners. How could they understand? My mother is gone! I'm was alone now... I'm... an orphan. Sure, I still live with my grandfather as I always have, but he is old, older than he likes to admit, and someday I will have to go through losing him too. I donít want to think about that... how could they be so coldhearted? They didn't understand... I suppose that they never had, and never would. Perhaps I would have to survive on my own after all.

It'll be hard, but I'll try my best to live.... I suppose that all I can do is keep on living and hope for the best. It will be hard, true, but I have to... I still have an older brother and sister, and a grandfather that I hold much love for. He has always been my "substitute daddy" ever since I was little, when I couldnít understand what it meant to grow up without a father, and my bond with him is very strong. I have to be strong for him, I know, and still be strong enough for myself. But perhaps in the years to come, with enough help from my friends and family, I will someday be able to come to terms with what has passed, and finally be able to move on with my life.

Now it has almost been half a year since my mother died, and I have lived this month in a constant state of depression. However, I wade through these days keeping my love for my mother close to my heart and always holding on to the knowledge that someday in heaven I will be reunited with her. And when it comes time for senior prom, I will wear my blue satin dress with a smile on my face as I think of my mother watching me from heaven and smiling back at me. I will live my life waiting to see that smile, once again.