I’ll See You In My Dreams

My mother and father.

“I’ll see you in my dreams

When all the summers have come to an end

I’ll see you in my dreams

We’ll meet and live and love again

I’ll see you in my dreams

Yeah, up around the river bend

For death is not the end

And I’ll see you in my dreams” –Bruce Springsteen, “I’ll See You in my Dreams”


I’ve written a fair amount about my father over the years, but not as much about my mother.

In the wake of Mother’s Day, I’d like to remedy that.

My sister Sharon and I lost my mom, Fay, in October 1998. She was 59 years old, a year older than I will be after my next birthday.

She would have celebrated her 83rd birthday on May 4 and I often wonder how my mom would have aged. She always looked 10 years younger , so in my mind’s eye she’s forever young.

I must admit it feels odd to be approaching the age when she passed. You start to really realize how young she was when she died. How much of life she missed. I can’t help but feel that she –and we—were robbed of so much.

My mom passed away after a 50-week battle with cancer. We had a bird’s eye view to the cruelty of that disease because my parents had moved to Delray just four years earlier. We were there to witness. Thank goodness we were able to be with her.

My mom and dad were young retirees anxious to enjoy a long retirement in the sunshine with their children and grandchildren. It was not to be.

So much of what we plan, tends not to happen. I don’t mean for that to be a negative statement, it’s just the way it is. Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans.

But I still believe that we need to be intentional. I still believe we must plan, aspire, and strive even if life can level us in a heartbeat.

Losing my mother was a shock to my entire family. It was a dagger through our hearts. It’s hard when everyone you love is so sad. Who do you go to for comfort when everyone you know is in pain?

Today, as I think of those agonizing 50 weeks, I realize that I have never felt totally safe since hearing the news that the person I loved the most was diagnosed with something that had no answers—only bad options —radiation and chemotherapy designed to prolong the inevitable.

But on Mother’s Day, I won’t let myself dwell on a life cut short. When you love someone and that someone is special, they live on. They stay with us for all the days of our lives. Their essence and their goodness endures and continues to shape the people they knew and loved.

For the longest time, when I thought of my mother, I couldn’t shake the image of her being sick. I thought those awful snapshots were seared into my brain

I was wrong.

The wonderful people at Hospice by The Sea in Boca told my sister and I that in time those images—while never forgotten—would give way to happier memories. Thankfully, they were right.

It took awhile, but now I can hardly remember those images because they are crowded out by a million memories of a mother who was so good, so loving, so kind and so gentle that her essence crowds out all the bad things in this world.

If I had one wish, it would be that everyone should have a mom like mine.

I only had her for 35 years, Sharon for 33, but her love shines through and lives on in our lives and the lives of all those who knew her.

My mother personified goodness. She had one purpose and that was to take care of those she loved. She was everyone’s best friend, never said no to a request and made everyone around her comfortable and happy. She had a good sense of humor, adored animals, and loved nothing more than to spend time with my dad, her children and grandchildren.

She enjoyed the simple things in life—Mah-jongg games with her friends, lunches out, shopping, hanging out with her bichon, coffee and Entenmann’s cake with my dad after a long day at work. Oh, she loved Neil Diamond and Kenny Rogers too.

There’s a lesson in that kind of simplicity.

On this Mother’s Day, I hope you treasure your mom. For those of us who have lost our mothers, may we continue to carry their memories in our hearts forever.


  1. Anne Gannon says

    Jeff, thanks for sharing. My Mom died at 82, blind, and ill from smoking related diseases. I called her everyday and to this day I wish with all my heart I could hear her voice. She really raised the 7 children and I never appreciated what she personally gave up to love and care for all of us. I miss her.

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Thanks for sharing Anne. I bet she was wonderful, because she raised an incredible daughter.

  2. Frances Bourque says

    Lovely, beautiful…. And she lives on in you! Not only do you look so like her! I thought I was reading about you! You are the gift she left behind!

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Thanks so much Frances. You have so many of her qualities which what has always drawn me to you. I’m so lucky to have you in my life and my corner. It means the world to me.

  3. Kerry Koen says

    When my Mother passed on, someone said “you know, she was the keeper of your childhood”. Upon reflection, I now say “How True”. As time goes on, there are hundreds of things I would love to ask her about our early family years, family relationships, etc. I guess I thought she would always be around.

    The point is, if your Mother is still with you, make it a point to spend time, quality time, extra time with her and cherish the opportunity to ask lots of questions, share some laughs and a few tears too. After all, few people know you better than she did.

  4. Ellen Meisner says

    Beautifully said Jeff! I can relate to so much of what you said When I think about Marty and his passing way too soon…. What he missed , what his children missed , what his grandchildren missed and most of all what I missed. We came to Florida with lots of ideas about what we wound be able to enjoy here… man plans and God laughs!🥲🥲

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Your husband was a wonderful man. He was always so kind to me. Gone way too soon. Such a loss. There are really no words. Thanks so much and happy birthday!

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.