By Jim “Pappy” Moore
It has been ten years since Mama passed away. Occasionally, she pays me a visit in my dreams. This most recent one was compelling. It was a Saturday afternoon a week after Thanksgiving. During Thanksgiving I had remarked to others that my memories of Thanksgiving as a child brought back two very specific memories. One was of Mama making yeast rising rolls. They would sit in a large bowl with a hand towel draped over them waiting until the time was right to cook them. They would fill the room with their pleasant, enticing smell. They would cook to perfection and I would eat my fill of them, sopping up giblet gravy and devouring it, along with the rest of the feast of turkey and other dishes.
The other specific memory was of Daddy and his ambrosia he made every Thanksgiving. Both my parents grew up poor in the Great Depression, but his family had life especially hard. For him Christmas and Thanksgiving were reminders that in those times his greatest joy was food not eaten the rest of the year. Chief among those foods were fruit and nuts. Every holiday season Daddy would buy a large assortment of nuts, which we would crack and eat. He would also buy fruit because they got to have fruit, too, in their childhood holidays.
Daddy made a divine bowl of ambrosia. We had a large clear glass bowl and he would fill it to the brim with his ambrosia. It was a delicious fruit cocktail adorned with coconut and pecans and cherries. Eating that ambrosia was a little bit of heaven for him and for us. Thinking of those times makes me realize once again how hard my parents worked to give us more than they had growing up.
Daddy passed away in 1971 when he was 45 and I was but 22. I always felt cheated that he died so young, cheated that when I had become a successful young man, he was taken from me and I was denied his company for all these years. He came to me many times in my dreams. Sometimes he would be the young father I knew as a small child. Sometimes he would come to me as the father of my school years. Each dream was a visit and a vignette.
Mama would last a long time. She would not pass away until 2014, when she was 85. With her I got to have plenty of time to see death coming, and I was not cheated by losing her too soon. She was ready to go when her time came, and I was ready to let go of her when it happened. In that last year I spent time with her each week talking. She had many things she wished to discuss with me. Things about her life growing up, about meeting my Dad, about getting married, about having a family, about enduring my father’s illness that took him far too soon, and about how that hit her at age 43, with two daughters still at home.
Two days before she died, I sat with her in her bedroom and saw a heavenly light illuminate her. She smiled and looked as happy as she had ever been. She knew the end was near. She was joyous to be meeting her Maker. We knew that day would be the last time we spoke, reminiscent of my last moments with my Dad 43 years earlier, as he hugged me one last time.
Both of my parents have visited me in dreams. Sometimes they were together. I cherish these dreams. I wake up refreshed and full of life. I am renewed. Here I am 74 years old and they are still the loving father and mother who tend me as their only boy.
Today in my nap my mother came to me. She was alive. She was well. I felt the love of her presence. When I awakened, I knew she had been with me. What a comfort it is!
Some of you still have a parent living. Know that even after they pass away, you carry them with you. They may visit you. That connection transcends life and time.
My Dad was fond of this verse: “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Be at peace with your loved ones. If you still have a parent alive, enjoy the moments you have and know they will still be with you after their passing.
Copyright 2023, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.