1 International Women's Day | Traveling Light Blog by Travel Writer Colleen Friesen

International Women’s Day


Last night I held my mother.

In my dream I am my age now, but my mother, Mary Jane, is only slightly older than me. She is asking for help but I am anxious to leave.

I explain that I am desperate to to see my friend. A friend, who in that strange overlay of waking life inhabiting our dream states, is struggling with a horribly painful situation with her own daughter.

But in this dream I suddenly see Mary Jane; not as my mother, but as another weary woman. She simply needs a hug. I stop my rushing away to hold her.

Her shoulders are thinner than I remember. Her head leans into my shoulder. Her skull feels pronounced. It makes me think of those robins that used to crash into our living room window. I would hold their impossibly light bodies.  Such fluttery hearts and tiny fragile bones.

When did she become smaller than me? When did I become the stronger one?

My tears and the cold knowledge that Mom has been buried for years is what wakes me.

I lay in the dark and try to remember every detail. She was so warm and real. We were friends.

We were just two women holding each other up.



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10 Responses
  1. Susie says:

    Beautiful Colleen, just beautiful. Thank you.

  2. Colleen Friesen says:

    Thank you Susan. I meet so many wonderful people in my dreams (and in real life too!)

  3. Catherine says:

    This is so touching Colleen. I remember my mother too – strong, beautiful, positive. When she died I lost a friend, somebody I could talk to on any subject, she was always there for me. She could never be replaced.

  4. Colleen Friesen says:

    Dear Catherine, I think the best attributes you saw in your mother are the ones that live on in you.
    Mothers too, are the keepers of our history…so much disappears when they leave.
    Your mother sounds like she was truly lovely. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your mom would be proud :)

  5. Laurie B says:

    Lovely, still have a lump in my throat!
    So many amazing women in the world!

  6. Laurie says:

    A beautiful gift of a dream, and so well expressed in this piece. The part about the robin took my breath away.

  7. Colleen Friesen says:

    Thank you Laurie. The older I get the more I am amazed by all the wonderful wise and emotionally sensitive women in the world. I include you on that list.

  8. Colleen Friesen says:

    Thank you for your comment about the robin Laurie.
    I agree. Dreams really are amazing gifts aren’t they?
    I always feel so blessed when I can recall a dream and this one especially was so very very real…because even though it made me cry again later, it also made me smile.

  9. Barb Pearson says:

    What powerful writing Colleen, thank you. Even though my mother is alive, we just celebrated her 83rd birthday last week, i feel that fragility of which you speak both in her and in myself and it brings out emotions in me i didn’t even realize were there until we hug and are, as you describe, two women holding each other up.

  10. Colleen Friesen says:

    Barb, it truly is so incredibly complex…all the layers that knit us together; physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, the list is probably endless.
    DNA is barely the beginning of all this.
    But ultimately, we are women, and that alone creates an indescribable shared knowing.
    I’m glad you were able to hold your mother in real life. It is a gift.

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