My Mom Came to Me in a Dream

dreams grief May 15, 2023
Photo of Charis Santillie as a child looking up at her Mom
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🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #057 here.

In honor of Mother's Day, I want to share with you something about my Mom that happened to me just a week ago.

I had woken up early due to the smell of skunk...

...that had completely infiltrated our house even though we had no windows open; it was a bizarre situation. Long story short, after having our critter people come to check everything out, we, fortunately, didn’t have one under our house, yet our house must have gotten seriously sprayed at short range in the middle of the night, maybe due to a skunk meeting up with another critter (possibly a raccoon) right outside.

The smell literally woke me up, so I got out of bed to check things out and ended up snuggling on the couch with our dog, Heidi, and falling back asleep for a while. During that time, I had that kind of dream where you’re aware you’re dreaming.

In this lucid dream, my Mom appeared.

She was standing in my living room wearing a robe, with her hair wrapped up in a towel as if she’d just taken a shower.

She walked over to me as I lay on the couch, and handed me a fluffy white pillow, then walked away.

As I saw her in the dream, I remember being shocked and realizing this was my Mom and being completely aware that she is no longer alive. (And in case you don’t already know, she passed away nearly 10 years ago from alcoholism.)

I’ve had her in some other dreams since she passed, but not in this way, where in the dream I knew she was gone. This was the first time that had happened, or at least, the first time that I was aware of.

After she handed me the pillow and started walking away, I remember I felt an urgency to catch her before she left. She started to vanish, but not in a dissolving away sort of way; it was more like a Matrix moment with a colorful, pixelated digital transition as she started to leave the room.

I spoke and said, “MOM, WAIT!”

She returned for a moment. Suddenly she was lying down with me, and I was hugging her tightly. I remember wanting to look closely at her face, and yet I couldn’t bring myself to move or let go for fear of the moment ending. Instead, I reached up and felt her cheek with my hand. I cried as I held her and said,

“I miss you so much.”

When I woke up, I felt such joy and peace. I remember feeling truly happy.

Whether you believe, as I do, that it’s possible for a loved one to visit you in a dream or in any way at all, I’m sure you can agree that there are often messages in our dreams.

Here are the messages that clearly popped into my mind.

  1. I am loved and cared for.
    Her mothering spirit is around whenever I need it, even if I can’t see or hold her as I did in the dream.
  2. I can love myself more.
    The pillow was a reminder to care for myself more (and my neck, especially since last month I had a lot of neck tension).
  3. She's washed away her suffering.
    Remember how she looked like she'd just taken a shower? I intuitively knew that there was a message that she has been able to cleanse herself of the challenges of her life; that over the past 10 years, while on the other side, she has been able to wash away the effects of the alcohol and the sadness and emotional suffering she experienced in her life.

I didn’t have to spend time analyzing the experience to come up with these. In an instant, these clear messages came through. And this inner voice/knowing felt so solid, calm, and stable.

There’s actually one other message in all of this, and that is:

I am still grieving.

And it’s no surprise that this would happen close to Mother’s Day because that is the time of year that I tend to become the most emotional when thinking about her. It’s typically the time that I tend to feel the most sadness and grief. I think of her often, especially around Thanksgiving, since that’s when she passed, but leading up to Mother’s Day is when I FEEL her. And even though it is an annual occurrence, it usually sneaks up on me and surprises me in some way.

And that's ok. I want to have moments when I feel more connected to her. I want to have times when I’m more emotional. It means I’m human, and I’m living. And being able to feel and express these waves of emotions, even when they are painful, means I’m more connected to myself.

If you haven’t already listened to a recent bonus Charis Chats episode when I had a special conversation with Rhonda Britten, I highly recommend you listen. One of the topics we cover is feeling our feelings because when I first met Rhonda and started working with her as my coach, I was not very skilled at allowing myself to feel my feelings.

Over time, as I did the work necessary to make significant shifts in my life, I didn’t just come to understand the concepts, I actually experienced that there is relief and freedom that comes when you let yourself feel more.

There's a paradox with that, isn't there? You don’t need to let yourself dwell in any uncomfortable emotions, yet if you allow yourself to feel them, you can watch them move through you quicker than you’d imagine. There’s actually a lot more discomfort that comes from avoiding or stuffing our feelings.

There’s research that shows that the physiological effects associated with a feeling will move through your body within 90 seconds if you let it. We just usually don’t allow that time, or we indulge it, react to it, blow it up, and take it for a ride.

It takes practice and developing the skills to honor your feelings and not have them run your life.

My Mom didn’t allow or welcome support while she was alive.

I went through a lot of years when I didn’t allow support either. I changed that, though, after I started working with a coach. You can hear more about my experience in this bonus Charis Chats episode.

And now I’m a coach and trainer helping people dig in and do the work to feel more peace. I’d love the opportunity to help you. Picture me handing you a fluffy white pillow...yet it's in the form of a video...go here to watch my free training now.


“You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside.” 

– Sue Monk Kidd, author


🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #057 here.


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