I had a lot of dreams about my mom after she died.

In the first dream, a month after she died, I heard the clinking of plates in the kitchen sink, indicating she was washing dishes. I was so overjoyed to see her again that when I ran in and saw the kitchen was empty, I bawled like a baby.

In the next dream, she was sitting up in my grandfather's bed, in a house miles away that I haven't seen in 20 years, in a dark room, her skin and eye-whites yellowed with jaundice from her failing liver. She asked me why she was in bed, why she was so tired, why the room was so dark. I told her, Mom, it's because you're dead.

The next time I dreamt about my mom I was in the backyard, and she was standing above me on the deck. I realized in the dream that she was gone, and I sobbed while telling her how happy I was that I could see her and talk to her even though she was gone, how much I missed her. She impatiently dismissed my emotional drama as childishness.

Finally I told her in a dream that I hoped my dreaming about her and wanting to speak with her and missing her wasn't keeping her tied to me, to the earth. That I hoped she was able to move on to the next stage of her existence, if there was one. She said nothing, but smiled, and I woke up.

Every time I dreamt about my mom from then on, every other week, or every other month, I would become lucid in the dream and confess to her my longing to speak with her, how much I missed her, how happy I was to see her, even if only in a dream. Almost every time she would disappear as soon as the words formed on my lips, sometimes in the blink of an eye, sometimes blurring and fading away.

Then one day, two years later, I had to give away her three cats, one of which was my baby from a kitten when I was fourteen years old until I moved out at 22. My mom died when I was 25 and I am turning 28 this year. I gave away the cats a month and a half ago.

Since then, I've been dreaming about them, and her, together. I drive a delivery truck for a living so I dream about driving around vaguely familiar streets and being lost almost every night.

The other night, I found an address I was looking for in the dream and a familiar looking cat crossed the street in front of me and went into a house. I had a parcel for the house so I went to the door and an old lady answered. I gave her the parcel and said, Your cat looks just like one I used to have. Then somehow I was invited inside and lo and behold, my mom was there, and so were the three cats I gave away, and another we had owned previously who died a year before my mom did.

Earlier tonight, one of the cats I gave away showed up in my backyard. We caught him and dragged him inside and fed him and called the people who adopted him along with my baby cat. They told us they wouldn't take him back because he hid all the time and couldn't bond with them. I asked them how my baby cat was doing and they told me he died two weeks after they adopted him.