When I woke up earlier, I was dreaming. It was the subject matter that was unexpected.
I dreamed we were somewhere after my niece had been stillborn. I was obviously younger, and yet I don't think I was as young as I was then. It was her, my mother, myself, and my niece. Although I never saw her, just as in real life all I've ever seen is her photograph and her urn. But we knew, she was there, in the other room. She was not alive, but her memory and her grief were. Her love was.
The apartment started like a regular apartment, with doorways leading to other rooms, and the central room we were in. My niece was in one of those other rooms. And so at some point in the dream things started changing, as often happens with grief. The doorways turned from doors to being cemented shut, communications shut down. One by one the doors disappeared and were replaced with walls instead, and my sister became more unreachable, spending more time beyond the walls that we could not, and did not, know how to bypass.
And so that was my dream about the power of grief, of loss, of my niece and my sister who I lost around the same time- although it took years for me to understand it.
I wish I could go back and be there for her now, that I knew the things I do now. I was only fourteen though- I didn't even realize that babies could just die like that. I didn't know what it was like to experience death, since this was my first relative to pass away. I didn't know what to say, or do, or not do. I am horrified by it now that I'm older, but I recognize that I did everything wrong. I just didn't know. And it's a very poor excuse. I wish I could go back and change everything. But I can't.
I tried to repair the damage in the recent years, the damage from our different griefs and ways of coping, and it seemed like things were getting better- but then they crashed. Because of our different beliefs, our different faiths, our different ways of living.
I still miss my niece a lot. I also miss my sister, and the way we were before grief built walls instead of doorways.
My grief has been doing the same things to me with the people in my own life, and I'm powerless to stop it. I recognize what's happening, because I've seen this happen before. But I also recognize that this is what grief is- it is isolating, it is lonely, it's messy, it's hard. I can make the efforts to keep people in my life, and I try to, but it gets hard when all you want is to build a wall and let it be.
I don't know- strange dream to have this morning and it got me thinking about grief, loss, my niece, my sister... a lot of things.