I had a dream a while back that was very meaningful to me. I shared it with some people close to me, but I wanted to share at least part of it here. This is a shortened version. Hope you like it.
Walking with my family to an event one of my cousins wanted to share with us. Everyone is excited, talking loudly, laughing, etc. I am quiet and follow near the back. I see something that reminds me of a loss and become even more sad and distant.
There is an artist's studio. We all go inside. Everyone is still loud and joyous, but I am struck immediately by grief. The studio is two rooms, each has a small bed. There is a desk near the front where the artist sells her work but right now she is working on something. I see seashells on chains, they are beautiful but they echo that same sad feeling. I keep bumping into the little bed in the first room and people keep bumping into me walking past.
There is a flash in my brain and I see that the studio was once a small cottage. There are two little girls standing in it smiling but the sense of grief only grows stronger.
You lost a child. I know instinctively.
The rest of my family is done with the second room and heading out the door before I finish absorbing everything in the first. The second room also has a little bed and I see that same image of those two little girls.
Two children. You lost two children.
My heart hurts for her. I can feel that the kids had been sick before they died. They had a long, slow, wasting experience that was excruciatingly painful.
I want to stay in the building longer. The weight of the pain makes me feel slow and I want to understand it. I haven't absorbed the depth of it yet, but everyone else has already left and I feel like I need to keep up.
I walk back to the front room. My grandma who died in 2013 is sitting by the desk next to the artist. They aren't interacting when I see them, but I feel that Grandma has been talking to the artist who is still working on whatever she is making. There is a pile of scraps on the desk that my grandma is looking through and I understand that she has asked the artist if she can have them.
Grandma looks up at me.
It's a sad story, she tells me with her eyes rather than her voice, what happened to the two girls. One got sick and wasted away and then the other. Both were waiting for love from their mother, but it took her too long to show it.
Then (still without a voice) Grandma's words take on a sterner tone.
We can't keep our hearts locked up forever, she says, you don't know who is on the other side of the door longing for affection.
She turns away from me and looks at the scrap papers on the desk. When she looks back up she tells me (still without speaking), the artist thinks these are mistakes and wants to throw them away. But she doesn't understand that these are expressions of something and they are exactly what they need to be.
Without speaking Grandma turns to thank the artist and disappears. I feel that those expressions will be used in some way that neither I nor the artist understand yet. They will be used for something good though, even though they were thought of as mistakes.
The artist doesn't look at me as I walk past. I might not have even been there.
I hurry to catch up with the rest of my family who is down the street looking at an exhibit of sculptures. The sculptures are cauldrons that have been eaten away by acid so that there are bubbles and opened spaces in their rotted out-sides, but these corruptions in metal have been repainted and polished so that they are intricate landscapes and new objects or animals.
My mom sees me and is excited to tell me about how much my sister loves this exhibit. I am annoyed. I am trying to tell her that the last exhibit was important to me but I feel like she's not listening. Since I am angry I don't see the beauty in the exhibit around me even though my mom and sister try to explain it.
"The cauldrons originally represented the artist's view of her body" my sister tells me, "but then she tore them down and recreated something beautiful out of what she used to consider ugly."
The symbolism is actually meaningful, I realize and the art is really good, but it's hard for me to appreciate when I feel so upset. I'm still stuck on the last exhibit but everyone moves on so fast.
Then I wake up remembering nervously my grandma's warning about the danger of locking up your heart.