Dreams, Love, Loss and Gratitude

I had a dream last night that unsettled me.  I dreamt that I was standing with some other people and saw a woman with her young son.  He was small, maybe five years old at most.  I was fascinated because he was holding what looked to be a “string” like Emma has, but much smaller.  It was proportionately the same size as Em’s given how little he was.  I turned away because Em was saying something to me and when I turned back around the mother and her son had walked away.  On the ground was the little boy’s string.  So I picked it up and ran after them.  As I approached the mother I held out the tiny furl of string and said, “I think this is your son’s.  I wouldn’t want him to lose it.”  The mother stared at me and said, “What is that thing?”

I said, “Oh!  I think it’s maybe his string.  My daughter…”  but before I could finish she interrupted me and said, “That isn’t ours.  It’s garbage.”  I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach.  And then she turned away, carrying her son who gazed at me wordlessly over her shoulder.  I stood there watching them walk away from me and felt stunned and confused.  I wondered if maybe I’d somehow misunderstood and that perhaps it wasn’t important to her child.  And then I felt ashamed for having approached them and said anything.  Ashamed that I’d assumed it was important because my daughter’s string is so important to her.  Ashamed too, that what is considered beloved and of value to my daughter is seen as garbage by another.  I stood there feeling these things and then I turned to find my daughter was no where in sight.  I felt that horrible surge of panic and adrenaline as I began going through the various scenarios of where she could be or what might have happened to her.

When I woke up I wanted to cry I felt such unspeakable sadness.  All morning that dream stayed with me like a shadow.  All morning I have felt fragile and on edge.  And then I read my friend Gareeth’s latest blog post.  You can read it ‘here‘.  It is a daughter’s moving and powerful tribute to her mother.  I cried as I read because it is so beautifully written, but also because it is about profound loss as well as gratitude for what wasn’t lost.  Loss of time, loss of relationships, loss of missed opportunities…  and as I read I realized that dream was also about loss and judgement and denial and how we harm those we love.  And now as I sit here in my studio looking out at the bumper to bumper traffic on the 59th Street bridge, the rain pours down.  I can hear drops splattering the top of the air conditioner that juts out of one of my studio windows in irregular plops and pings.  Rain drops stream down the windows obscuring my view and I am surprised that I hear no angry honking given how treacherous the traffic is, just the occasional siren can be heard in the far distance.

I feel so grateful to all those people driving their cars who aren’t honking at each other.  I feel so grateful that though the traffic is at a crawl, people are being patient and it gives me hope.  Let me be patient today with every person I come into contact with.  Let me give myself the same respect and patience.  Let me be aware and kind and respectful to others today.  Let me feel gratitude for all that I have.  Let me feel my feelings and not behave as though my feelings are facts.  But most of all, let me know the difference.

Em’s string – February, 2013

Em's string


11 responses to “Dreams, Love, Loss and Gratitude

  1. Katrina Phillips

    ” Let me feel my feelings and not behave as though my feelings are facts. But most of all, let me know the difference.” – This is a really important sentiment these days… and you have articulated it beautifully.

    I read Garreth’s post too and think it is lovely that you shared it and are ruminating on it as well. I, too, have been fragile and on edge the past couple of days… I am glad you wrote this particular post today… not just in regards to its immaculate timing in my own life, but with regard to everything that has been going on of late. Yes, let us all be aware, and kind, and respectful, and *patient* with others, indeed. ❤

  2. This is breathtakingly poignant for me.
    Thank you.

  3. This was very touching. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Thanks for this post. Well-written and heartfelt. The notion of value really spoke to me. Our values and expectations guide so many of our emotional reactions. Just having your eyes open and being introspective are wonderful qualities.

  5. It takes quite an act of conscious will to focus on what there is to be grateful and what hasn’t been lost at times., I struggled with how to say it to make it clear that my grattitude for what we were able to have in the end outweighs the rest. I wasn’t sure I had managed until I read your post. I almost took it down at one point thinking I had not. That people might focus on the wrong things.

    It seems if more people can make the conscious choice to be kinder, more accepting and grateful for what is good versus focussed on what isn’t that can only help. So that leaves the question of why some don’t I guess and what we can do about it.

    You know I get on your case Ariane, for when you are so hard on yourself for something you could have thought of sooner or done sooner but it is still so early for Emma and you are always moving forward. There will always be things that occur to you in the moment that you could have done differently or after the fact. That’s the case for everything not just something as tricky as being a parent.

    My sister-in-law mentioned how much your blog helps her and it is for the same reasons I keep stressing I think that you are honest about the journey you are on. That you thought things you now don’t believe hasn’t been tidied up, that no doubt 2 years from now some of what you think now will change too but it’s a long road and overall there is no indication that Emma doesn’t know you love and accept her.

    • Gareeth ~ Not only did you write a really beautiful tribute to your mom, but you captured the complexities of a mother/daughter relationship with such love and compassion; I thought it incredibly moving. I really did cry throughout the entire piece, because your relationship was so elegantly rendered. Thank you so much for writing it and sharing it with the world. I think a great many of us could relate to many of the feelings you described.

      I have tremendous respect for your opinion and am really grateful for the kind support and encouragement you continue to show me. I hope I am able to return that, even if only a little.

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