Sunday, 27 February 2011
Letters from Therese, who died last year. A booklet on ‘handling grief’ given to me by the hospital when Mum had just died. And then an envelope full of bits and pieces of hers – her scratchy writing, little notes, bills, a signed blank cheque. And I just started sobbing all over again. Thankful that I could, that there was no-one to hear my sobs turn into howls, apart from the dogs.
I have been thinking about my parents a lot lately. Since I became ill, to be precise. My chest infection came seemingly out of nowhere. I had no cold, no sore throat to presage it. As usual it worried me. I have had weak lungs since childhood; bronchitis and I have been on first name terms; I’ve been hospitalised for pneumonia.
It runs in the family. My father died of lung cancer; my mother of pleural empyema. I tried to write about it the other night but could only come up with disjointed words (hence most certainly not a poem).
Both my parents died
betrayed by breath.
Father courted cancer,
inhaled the Cell Shifter,
hugged it close;
permitted the past to eat his future
Consumed by sadness,
rejection locked deep within
Mother hoarded secrets:
a dragon’s lair of loss
Betrayal and sick seduction,
shame locked tight to ice.
Nothing moves in winter’s hold.
too weak, heart broken, to break out.
Flesh turned shell, then stone.
My sad (inhe)rit(anc)e
(b)eaten black and blue.
Blue of ice,
black of decay.
Legacy of fear.
PNI (psychoneurimmunology) think so. But what if we’ve made a deal? If we’re already signed the pact? Can we renegotiate? Can we renege? That’s what I’ve been worrying at this last week. Because, see, I think I accepted the pact a long, long time ago. I nodded and took the hand of the Dark Lord, sad lost Persephone in a sea of poppies, feeling life was over anyhow so nothing of value was lost.
Now I take a deep breath and lift a knight.