I woke up from a dream crying this morning.
You know those dreams that take your breath away, they felt so real.
As I lay there, tears streaming down my face, after only 4 hours of sleep, wondering whether or not to wake my husband because I was so upset, I tried to dive into the emotion.
There was no guessing. I knew it was grief. And grief, grief is all encompassing. It lives everywhere in my body. It is black and it is bold and if allowed to surface it swallows me whole.
I had a dream about my grandmother. My best friend. One of, if not the only, adults in my life whose love for me was unconditional. Who saw me first. Who saw me as the best and the most beautiful and most wonderful and who loved me fiercely with every breath that she took.
I didn’t ever owe her anything to make her love me. I didn’t have to try with her. I was enough as I was. She was the adult in our relationship. Her love for me, unlike the other adults in my life, was unconditional. She saw me.
I dreamt of my wedding day, and it was weirdly at my parents house… and my Dad told me she would be sad so we should go to the hospital. And the dream then mirrored my last real visit to the hospital to see her. The most striking similarity was the knowledge that this would be the last time I ever saw her… and in the dream, it was on my wedding day.
Only when I did go to see her, in this dream, she was gone, I didn’t get there in time. She was gone, and faceless. Just blank, as if she was fading away. I woke up. I didn’t get to see her face or hear her voice… or touch her. If I’m being honest with you, I completely forget what it is she looks like.
I never mourned her. Not properly. I got drunk for about three months straight until my now husband said enough, and helped me re-orient.
I miss her. And today, I’m allowing myself that. I am giving myself permission to miss her. It literally pains me that I can’t hear her voice or feel her hug or smell her – she smelled like Hungarian baking and paprika, like love. And she loved my husband, from day one. But that’s because she saw him, too.
As I tried to comfort myself to a place where I could fall back asleep (unsuccessfully), I did something I’ve done for years that hasn’t ever registered until now. Often, when I am upset, I will rub my feet together under the blankets in a certain way. I never realized that that is a self soothing action for me. I learned that as a child, when nobody would show up for me. When nobody validated me.
My grandmother did. She validated me. She validated me and lived long enough to see me find someone else that does that too. After yoga therapy on Monday I had a long talk about what I’m learning with my husband. I’m trying to let him in more, and it’s working. We are reaching a place where even if I can’t tell him why I am sad or mad I can identify if it is about the past or about a present action, and it’s changing how we communicate.
He laid down on the couch and held open his arms and I crawled in and he held me and said “I am so so so sorry that nobody ever validated you.” And I cried. And there was something so comforting in his comfort. That he gets it. That if he sees the pattern now – the pattern he has seen for the last 10 years, he will validate me and my side. He can’t do anything about the 18 years before he knew me, but he does what he can about the now. It is one of the sweetest and most loving things he does for me. But it doesn’t replace that empty hole.
I haven’t ever allowed this kind of grief to come through. I haven’t let it sink in that the one woman in my life who deserved to be at my wedding, was not there. I would have gotten married at the foot of her hospital bed.
Today is going to be a rough day. I’m behind on work, I’m dealing with this grief, and I have so much material from the past seven days… I don’t think A and I can cover it all in an hour and a half. And I can’t have a second session that I actually need this week thanks to my Mother. What with my family situation, the whole emotional roller coaster I took through that, the 7 days sober (drank last night, but I mean, Trump*), the lack of sleep, the whole thing with my Mother. Seeing the complex situation and feeling it through my emotions and being exhausted.
I am trying to approach this exactly as I am, shoes on (for easy escape) and everything. Because I am grieving, and I am sad, I am guilty and ashamed and raw. I am skittish and everything sends my heart racing right now. Every loud noise, anything I perceive as ‘off’ or ‘different’. Since my brothers text last Friday everything and anybody is a threat. Memories from an earlier time are haunting me in the daylight. I don’t feel in control of my environment or safe at home. And I am feeling it all.
But despite all of those things, I am me. And maybe one day I will take my grandmas belief that I was enough, and bring it to the present, and be enough for myself.
*I have many opinions on this, but this isn’t the forum for that.