|from my art journal. (Feb. 2017)|
A theme may seem to have been put aside, but it keeps returning—the same thing modulated, somewhat changed in form. —Muriel Rukeyser
The weeks leading to the anniversary of Rob's death were more difficult than the actual day. By mid-February, a serial killer stalked my dreams. No matter what time I went to sleep--no matter how long I slept, I kept dreaming similar scenes over and over again. In most of the dreams I was investigating a series of murders. It seemed as if I was a detective. At the end of the dream--what I could remember--I sensed that a killer was stalking me as I tracked him and the fear this generated woke me from my sleep.
I did not know what this dream might mean, but I began to step up my writing.
I wrote most every day.
A lot. Often.
Within a few days of writing, my sleep became easy again, victimless. It remains so.
A few weeks passed without a reoccurrence of the nightmare, but I was still curious. One afternoon, I googled, "What does it mean if you dream about a serial killer stalking you?" The second explanation offered seemed more probable.
"...a serial killer may reflect a problem that is influencing a lot of other areas of your life. It may also point to reckless belief system "killing off" plans or hopes you had. Positively, a serial killer may represent a serious attempt to deal with a lot of problems at once." (from here).
Is grief a problem?
Is the shock of Rob's illness and death a problem?
Grief as a natural expression of sorrow, not a medical malady. Working through grief is in many ways a matter of living in the present--standing where your feet are. I do wonder though about shock and the toll taken during the last 19 months. When I recount what happened most people express genuine disbelief, followed quickly by concern.
The events from diagnosis to death were so extreme,so fast, so relentless. Yes, I suspect the shock and resulting stress have been traumatic. I am not one to dwell in pity and find that being active these last 13 months has helped. Caring for Devon, writing this blog, reading what you and others have to say, keeping an art journal, talking out sorrow with close friends in a bereavement group, attending grief counseling, and walking ( a lot) have all helped. So too has been remembering how much I love my work I do and working full time again. Connecting with teachers and children is restorative.
Rob used to say that the only way out of something is through it.
This has been a year where walking through the grief, pain, sorrow, loneliness, anger, and loss has been deliberate and necessary.