Is it a dream or is it real?

Marie Ange Bertha Jacques 1913-1985
Marie Ange Bertha Jacques 1913-1985

Have you ever had a dream that felt so real? Maybe you dreamt about a loved one or a pet who had passed and when you woke up it felt more like a memory.

I have had several dreams like this.

My mémère (French for Grandmother) Jacques was everything to me. She was a tall women with brown permed hair. Her skin was like porcelain. Mémère had thick bottle-like glasses because she had cataracts. And she only wore dresses – or at least that’s what I remember. She had the warmest hugs, the sweetest French accent, and a most infectious giggle.

When speaking with a French Canadian who’s second language is English, they don’t say things the way we are used to hearing them. Mémère would pronounce “th”, as in thumb or thankful, more like a “t”. Thumb was more like tumb and thankful like tankful. I always loved that about her. She always carried Canadian mints – the peppermint and spearmint flavors. Her spearmint mints were pink so we called them Pepto Bismol mints.

Whenever she would call the house to talk to my mom, I would get so excited that I practically ripped the phone out of her hand. I was always excited to talk to mémère. I remember her coming out to dinner with our family and having her over the house during special occasions.

My most favorite memories were when she watched my younger brother and me at her house.

My uncles hunted and once killed a fox and had it stuffed and mounted. Whenever I would visit my mémère, I would sit in the small living room in the back of the house and hug the fox. When we weren’t watching TV we would sit at the kitchen table and play cards together. Mémère Jacques was so patient when we played cards. She’d often gave us a bowl of ice-cream. I loved her so very much. I miss her every day.

I remember the day she had passed. She had been very sick. I remember my sister staying with her to take care of her during her final days. On December 9, 1985, I was sitting in my 8th grade class doing my work. I looked up at the clock and the time read 3:00 p.m. I knew she had passed away. The story I was told is she had been in a coma for a while and my mother and the nurse were there when she had finally opened her eyes. The nurse told her to close her eyes and rest and then she passed.

It was a sad time but I know I didn’t fully understand it all. At that age I know I didn’t process the loss like an adult could. I remember not being sad right away. It was more like a happy feeling for her. I thought there was something wrong with me because I saw my family members crying from the loss.

It had been many years after her passing that I had this dream. I remember being in a kitchen. It was like a black and white scene that had a soft white haze. We were there along with my father’s mother who had passed three years earlier. They were teaching me how to boil potatoes. There were these huge pots on the stove, restaurant size, with boiling water. We were pealing potatoes to put in the pot. I remember thinking to myself, “is this real?” It felt real. The time that I spent with them they didn’t speak. They both just tended to their work.

After waking up from the dream I wanted to go back to sleep so I could be with them longer. I felt sad because I missed them so. I think it was her way of letting me know she is still with me even though she is no longer a part of the physical world.

What are your thoughts?