Last night I dreamed I was addled by grief. I was in a house which does not exist in life, but which in the dream was familiar, was home, and it was filled, even cluttered, with objects, each of which bore a singular, devastating power. Each was dense with my mother. Redolent, ringing, teeming with my mother. Each, as my gaze fell upon it, communicated its immensity. Taken together they imparted a shattering sense of impossibility, a terrible, unutterable awareness of magnitude, of infinite, untenable abundance. In the dream I was undone at my source, riven with the manifold vibrations of grief.
I woke to a sense of exhausted calm and a feeling of having been washed clean. I mean I rose from bed feeling as though my insides, my stomach and lungs and bones and endless twisting branches of nerves, had been scrubbed and rinsed and laid on warm, flat rocks to dry.
She is in her seventh year since diagnosis and the surgery that scrubbed her own torso as clean as possible of cancer, removing in the process her ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, spleen, omentum and inches of her intestines, and leaving behind uncountable lingering seeds of disease. "It's as if someone scattered a handful of rice," is how the surgeon described the size and number of pieces that remained. She is on her last chemo.
This spring, some days the air feels like lead. Some days it feels just like spring: lilac-sugared, ribboned with breeze.
I think last night's dream is not so much about sorrow or fear of impending loss as about the serious work of looking at enormity.
All our lives are practice for this.