It's been a hard day, she finally said, after our conversation weaved through safer territory.
M* dreamed about Tata last night.
She came to her in a dream, young happy and vibrant, and told her to stand up for her.
And then she looked for me, to get me, and then turned around and Tata was gone.
She cried, and cried.
I listened to her painfully and bravely recount, process and release the story.
Not all of our conversations are this somber, this raw.
Sometimes we talk about children, books, random little things.
Other times our stories pull us onto jagged cliffs of memories and longing.
The mourning has not ended, it ebbs and flows, crashes and abates.
I cannot harness it, it is too big, so I ride it.
Last night, I dreamed about Tata, and she dreamed about me.
In our dream, I opened the sliding glass door and lead the kids to the backyard.
Tata was out there with a group of women standing in circle. I didn't recognize any of them, but I didn't mind that they were there.
Tata stepped away from the group that warmly surrounded her in her own dream -- her mother and sisters? her childhood friends? -- and walked towards me.
She didn't say a word, but her eyes were laughing, as she pulled a chair from the table, carried it to the middle of the yard.
Certain that she had my undivided attention, Tata sat down and playfully mocked me in a most-familiar way by making exaggerately feminine and ladylike gestures -- crossing her legs daintily, dangling her hands over the arm rests, fixing her skirt over her knees and brushing off invisible lint off her body.
As I smiled at my Tata loca sitting regally on her chair-throne right in the middle of my yard, she gestured Vamos! at me.
She cocked her head in a personal challenge, daring me to entertain her.
I shook my head.
I had to feed the kids, do laundry, and generally be a Mom (this is a dream, remember?), no time to stand around and play.
Maldita! I said to her, shaking my finger mockingly at her arrogance at appearing and commanding me.
She understood, immediately and completely, our heads nodding a unison of unspoken affection.
And then, after just barely enough time but more than I'd asked for or hoped for, Tata stood up and walked back to the circle of women.
Off she went, back to the magic of her now-eternal dream, leaving my chair and my yard and other parts of me and this world invisibly emptier and quieter.