Sunday 27 February 2011

Hades' bride

I intended to be productive today. I was going to sort out my admin and then crack on with my rewrite of Samael while the boys were at rugby. But my overzealous PC clean-up had deleted the wrong cookies so I couldn’t pay my bills and, while I was hunting through my desk for the codes, I kept crashing up against the past, time and again.

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,
passion bruised,
shame locked tight to ice.
No movement.
Nothing moves in winter’s hold.
No breath.
Lungs harden,
a carapace
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.

Can we change our patterning? Researchers into 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.


Viv said...

We all die.
But when is written somewhere else and by someone else and not by Death himself.
Trust that you will be given exactly the right amount of time to accomplish that which you have been set to do and then Death comes as a friend, your best friend, at the farthest shore, and the game you play is for amusement and fellowship and not for stakes that hurt.

Zoë said...

I was so sad to read this Jane.

This '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.' is exactly how cancer made me feel.

It runs in my family too; death and fatalism. My aunt and grandma died of what I have, and yet - despite having many days when I think,'what is the point' I have as many days when I think, if not more, I shall beat this bastard death, and make the most of what I have.

I know death will come sooner to me than many, I have a one in 5 chance of being dead in the next years (learning that was a mindfuck, I can tell you) but what I am trying to do is make the best use of the time I do have - and well, maybe I'll live to see many of the things I want to see and do?

Stay strong - my hand is always there if you need someone to help you along *huge hugs*


Fennie said...

At the risk of seeming uncaring - isn't this all rather deep and black?
There are lots of people who have written long life into your karma (including me for it will be a long time before we crack the riddles of Feng Shui - still working as you ask)
and will insist on not being disappointed. Booo!

F said...

Oh Jane, I am so sorry.

I do understand, to the core of my soul.

It's always there, coming for us, coming for everyone and everything we love, and we are so small, so weak, so powerless.

I don't have any words of comfort to offer; I haven't found any yet that give me solace. I'm with Dylan Thomas on this one. Don't go gentle; give that fucker a hell of a fight.

F said...

Also, I want to watch the Seventh Seal now. It's a beautiful film.

Stephanie said...

I am so sorry to hear you have had such a hard time...sending hugs.

Lois said...

If I knew you, I believe we would be friends, something inside me wishes we were.
I would let you be dark or light or beige, and only ask the same from you. I would share my favorite drink with you. That alone would make life have meaning, even if it had to end at some point.
I hope you have a friend like that. Thanks for sharing/writing about your grief. Cheers, (as I clink my glass to yours) Life is what it is. People come along with us for the journey, sometimes they leave sooner than we do, others are waiting to travel along with us until its our time. Keep your head up, your hand open and your heart real.

Eliza said...

You sound like you're having a bad time, I don't know your personal circumstances, but I hope you feel better soon. As for your chest infection, blame it on those couples at the spa.

Exmoorjane said...

Oh you lovely lot. I'm okay, really I am. Every so often the loss of my mother just wallops me in the heart and I lose it for a bit. The run-up to her death is something I can't write about (due to family constraints) so there's a lot of *stuff* to process in other ways.
But catharsis is good, I think. Truly don't worry about me - I just think too fecking much for my own good! :) And writing is my therapy...that I inflict on you bunch.

Blossomcottage said...

It is my belief that we are dealt a hand long before we arrive here, it's not set in stone but the guide lines are there, it is up to us mould and sculpture that hand in the best way you can, that said however I truly believe we are not given anything we cannot handle.

Why should you not want anyone to hear your sobs its a very worthwhile human emotion and I know from experience that the more you do it the less you can.
We only have so many sobs for each sad moment, when the sobs are gone the light is magic.

Chest infections are draining things I had one for several weeks over Christmas and I know how much if pulls you down.

So get moulding and sobbing Jane it good for you, and mark my words the sun will come out and you can get back to kicking the arse of the hand you have been dealt and moulding it into something you want!
Love Blossom

Joanne said...

I read this yesterday, Jane, and it's been on my mind. Personally I don't think one is ever done with grief, and once it is in you, there it stays. With time you have to look at it less and less than when it was new, but once in a while you have to feel it in all its horror, all over again. As awful as it is I think it's important to acknowledge it, and feel it, and then you can move on again. Onwards :)

Deb said...

Hi Jane I was reading Hades' Bride last night and had one of those missing my Mum so much it hurts moments! In about 9 days it will be 28 years since I lost my Mum, I was 13 and she was 38. She hadn't been ill, she just had one fatal heart attack after doing the school run one morning. I have spent a lot of time reflecting on whether the fact she passed suddenly with no protracted illness or loss of self and hopefully limited pain is preferable (obviously if she had to go at all at such a young age which is a whole other story!); or whether selfishly I would have welcomed some notice, the chance to come to terms and say goodbye. All these years on I still have no answer to that! Now being older than she was when she passed and having had my children in her absence, one of whom is now older than I was when I lost her, I know how she and this experience affected my approach to parenting. As the anniversary of her death always falls near Mothers Day, and as it comes near once more I smile for my children as they spoil me on the day and once alone I shed a tear for all the Mothers Days I have not shared with my Mum and particularly as an adult when I see my friends celebrating with and spoiling their Mums!

In summary I suppose I just wanted to say that the pain doesn't ever go away, but sometimes it eases and you can focus on the happy memories and other times prompted by a song or a smell it can come and hit you like a train! But surely that's what makes us human?

My thoughts and empathy are truly with you.