I often dream at night of walking, running, using my legs in ways I can no longer. Sometimes I have a destination, sometimes there are people by my side. I have always had vivid dreams that I remember. Now - maybe because of some of the medications I am on - I remember at least one dream a night.
Last night I dreamt I was in cousin Roszi's (pronounced "row-szee") apartment in New York City. Cousin Roszi was my Mom's cousin. More specifically, she was my Mom's father's cousin. From what I remember, she lived in an upscale, sprawling apartment in Manhattan. When I was a young child we would go to her apartment on the Friday after Thanksgiving for an open house type of celebration. There were always the most interesting people in her apartment - some were distantly related to me, most were not. I remember men in turtlenecks, and women in elegant sweaters. I remember unusual food on the buffet, and the end tables covered with things I wasn't allowed to touch. I remember the lighting to be dim and the conversations to be kind of boring. I remember the art on the walls. I remember that even though my brother and I were always the youngest people there, being kind of excited to go. I remember instinctively knowing that this yearly visit was very important to my Mom as she had very few living relatives. My mother is an only child, her family was originally from Hungary, and many of her relatives had perished during the Holocaust. This was a time to make a connection to her family, so I made sure to always be on my best behavior.
In last night's dream I was a young child, with my straight brown hair and bangs. I was wearing a dress that my mother had sewn for me (orange, brown, and white), which I remember probably because I was wearing it in a popular family Chanukah picture. Though my body was that of a little girl, my mind was where I am now. I was in Roszi's apartment and it was filled with all sorts of adults that I didn't recognize. I found Roszi and reached up to take her hand. Her hair was white and in a bun. She was wearing a purple dress. She looked like the character Miss Rumphius, the main character of Barbara Cooney's picture book of the same name. I asked her to take me to see the art. We began walking around her apartment, stopping at each painting and sculpture. Roszi took her time to discuss the art and the artist. She was very knowledgeable and I found her analysis of the work very interesting. I was walking with her, but she was almost floating, her purple dress flowing behind her. I remember feeling happy and intrigued.
I think I was a teenager when Roszi stopped having her Thanksgiving open house. Long after we stopped going to see her as a family, I still wrote to her; and when I was an adult with a family of my own, I always sent her a Chanukah card and a picture of my kids for Rosh Hashanah. My Mom would consistently trek into the city to visit Roszi in her later years, and would call her. After a while Roszi couldn't hear very well, so my mother's calls were to check in with her caregiver. Eventually Roszi died.
Today I received a letter from a beautiful and thoughtful friend who has been reading my blog. She wrote to me about something that stuck with her from one of my posts. I had asked "will I be remembered". In synopsis, my friend revealed to me her thoughts that long after one is finished with their time on this earth, their influence remains. I haven't thought about Roszi in a very long time. In fact, I could probably count on my two hands the amount of times I had seen her in my life. Yet, last night I dreamt about her. I remember the influence my visits with her had on me. I remember the importance she held for my mother. Last night's dream and my friend's letter have made me realize that how we live our lives can influence each other in often unspeakable ways.