Posts tagged ‘parallel writing’
I have become a hoarder of memories………..
T.s. Eliot;Andrew Lloyd Webber;Trevor Nunn
I sang that particular number, once a upon a time, in my days of theatre. I always identified with the lyrics – even more so now that my son has become a fading memory to the majority . The lines in bold – hold for me – a meaning of my life as morning dawns.
Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
The time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again
Every street lamp
Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters and the street lamp flutters
And soon it will be morning
I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I mustn’t give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin
Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning A street lamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning
It’s so easy to leave me
All alone with my memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You’ll understand what happiness is Look, a new day has begun
Some times I wish I had selective Alzheimer’s so that certain people and the cruelty of those days are lost.
As my own memories have become more about my life today, I have discovered I have an affinity with others and how precious their memories are and were.
How I wish I could ask my grandmothers more about the stories they used to tell, how I wished I had paid more attention , how I wished I had asked about their mothers, fathers and grandmothers as they “remembered.
I did have my mum write her memories down- but mum being mum wouldn’t write about the scandals of the day and to me the “more interesting” memories of “naughty stuff”. She has stored those way back in her attic memory and refuses to let me in…..
To Be continued …………….
I have not downloaded the Dragon Software-
coward that I am , especially due to my once or should I say many times experiences of being bitten by technology. I don’t want to do anything which may mess with the latest expensive desk top and my myriad of files ( even though I can’t easily access them – thank you Windows 8!!!!). I decided instead to “persuade” my husband to download it to his lap top- he only uses it for recipes and solitaire anyway :). Knowing my penchant for wrecking technology he is understandably hesitant, although he did say
“Yeah, Ok but it will have to wait – I can’t find the microphone- I thought I had it in the box” -
As mentioned, I wanted to make a start on one of three books I have in mind .
I will start the old-fashioned way
until he gets around to “finding???” and downloading the dragon .
However, as I started on – page one- that has not worked out too well. The writing follows the direction of the “ME of the moment” that is in control of my emotional state. I started as defensive me, then angry me, depressed me, wounded me, apathetic me, logical me and then puddle me. The fragmented “ME” -I am now- all had a hand in the writing and editing and therefore it was a jumble. The 1st page has been revised more times than a politician’s platform . I can’t make up my mind and neither can my writing.
I feel inadequate, out of my depth in this instance . I thought possibly if I could “talk” the story first and edit later I might be able to make some sense when it came to a direction and editing.
I tend , because of the blog and many years of a column, to edit as I write. This isn’t going to work in this case- I am too much a part of the story. I am not a mere observer. I am a mother first , a mother who has outlived one of her children – there is a blame, a guilt a questioning of life or faith of everything that was “before” my son died , changing the ME.
I was checking my searches this morning and the search –
how intense is a mother’s love
brought the person to the following post:
At that time, just weeks after my son died, I received a letter in my dead son’s clothes from my son’s “bride” the “healer”????? Angela Marie (Lombardi) Ritchey DO who made my love for my son something of a negative which “blinded me to who my son was” . I replied to Dr. Angela Ritchey in an open post-
The wounded me , shaken me and just trying to “live and get through the days “me due to the loss of my son found it cruel and incredulous she would try to taint the memories I shared with my son. I refused to let her take anything more of him, she and her family had done enough.
Hence the rise of the “anger me” and the “bitter me“!
Since that time the “questioning me“ questions intent and the worthiness of some in the supposed healing profession.
I have realized, after these many months, the death of my son has not stopped my love for him, it is undying; if anything it grows with each “memory that should have been” is missed.
The love continues , but the love given to the son or daughter who is no longer among us has no outlet , no recipient. When Chris died , the part of me who was Chris’s mother died too. The other me- the daughter , the wife , mother of Nikki, grandmother of her children still lives and loves but I am fragmented from the “whole” . It is hard to find which “ME” will write the story but it will be “truth” no matter the ME .
Now whilst my husband is otherwise occupied I am going to look for that microphone !
Texas and another September 3rd comes to mind today-
- one that we thought might bring you a cure- not to be– the cures can also kill-
and your body could not ( I found out later )take the amount of “curing” -
not a swine related flu but Acute Pulmonary Toxicity .
As I looked once again through all your work trying to decide what you would want to put into the art show later this week – I was besieged by a thousand knives of my reality cutting ,slashing and ripping into what little strength I have with murderous intent — my brain flooded with so many memories – my heart mangled and wanting to stop beating – I couldn’t breathe, and then……..
your ability to make me smile -just a silly little cartoon in amongst all the creativity , projects and seriousness –
I think of you as the fan above this desk continues to turn- I couldn’t reach the pull- after asking your dad so many times to get and extension to the chain -you took some wire and in just a couple of minutes made me one-
Hey mum you should know by now how to make men dance to your tune
It was weeks before I noticed my dancing man was anatomically correct— and I still smile every time I have to pull his leg to turn on the fan.
So yesterday I breathed once more looked through all the, work, photos and files and once again you spoke……… and thanks to you – a smile played once more on my lips as tears fell …….
During the course of Chris’s education (Cleveland Institute of Art) he wrote a book- yes! a book!
The brief as I understood it – limited the number of words to be used ( under 30 ? ) – using different fonts to emphasize each word – texture of the paper / colours etc also to give visual emphasis to the reader. Subject (of one’s choice) telling the story with a beginning , middle and end- evoking at least two emotions from the reader.
Frank Warren of Post Secret stated:
Every single person has at least one secret that would break your heart. If we could just remember this, I think there would be a lot more compassion and tolerance in the world.”
I know my friend and neighbor Kelly Boyer Sagert has published more than one book.
Oh! to have her talent and ability to start upon the journey she undertakes every time she starts another book. I can start but then ………….
In past years my thoughts , words, observations and conclusions have been published in magazines and periodicals but I can’t seem to get my plethora of thoughts together in a beginning – middle – and end- no matter the writing technique used- to actually write a nonfictional or even a fictional novel.
I did start a category on this blog on my family and my son . I have “saved” the categories and downloaded them as I wrote them in order that Gavin and now Braedyn will “know” their family, especially Chris, and the history of the events as they happened to us.
My mother wrote her book ( selectively published) MY Book about her youth, the war years (WW2 Britain) and her life . I know the sons, daughters and grandchildren of my mum’s extended family were pleased and I hope in years to come her own great-grandchildren will enjoy her memories
One of my previous publishers has offered to take my writings about my journey and publish BUT I have to clean up the grammar, the run on sentences and edit my writing in order that a copy editor can take a further look- SIGH- easier said than done. It is asking a lot because I would have to edit my thoughts and sort them into some sort of order- the story is jumbled as is my life and my brain is fragmented . Where do I begin ?
I suppose I could start by telling my “secret““. Is there a book in that? Yes! I would say most definitely – but I hesitate –
there is the burning question does the world really want to know my secret…
Am I not being a hypocrite when I say I am all about truth when I am holding back a truth ( even if it a truth as I see it – my truth). And for whose sake am I holding back – mine or the readers?
For instance, remember that old conspiracy theory about having a magic pill or process that would turn water into gasoline?
Ask yourselves IF you really had the knowledge of turning water into fuel simply and without a great deal of cost- Would you share that secret IF – it would mean the world’s economy would crumble- institutions would dissolve stock markets crash – the haves would definitely lose out , countries would fall( middle east in particular) would you share that knowledge? Would it mean the world’s water supply would face further annihilation what would be the trade-off?
There is a dire responsibility in secrets……
Generally, says Von Reiche, “secrets do create a lot of separation from other people, and they also prevent you from feeling truly authentic.”
“If the world were ready to be accepting of everyone, it would be a better place,” McDonald said. “In an ideal society, we would have no secrets. Do I think that’s likely in your lifetime or my lifetime? No.”
It has been one of those weeks- the more that normal life situations have been part of my day – the worse my grief. I know that will only make sense to some who walk my path.
Losing Chris , the trauma of day after day of watching him have his world crushed and the riding the wave of hope, the days and nights of watching him fade and fight and standing by helpless are burned into my brain and my heart.
I am inadequate to deal with “normal” – I long to escape the pain, the images that swirl in my brain waking and sleeping , the cruelty of cancer
and the cruelty of people
have taken such a toll. I don’t know who I am anymore so as once again I pace the house and watch the sunrise on another day of “trying to cope” – the normal……..
There was a study sent to me by one who walks my way- click on the jpg to enlarge and you can find the full PDF file here Article from Psych Medicine
And this morning another study along the lines of one that had also been sent to me a few weeks ago:
Why having a son puts a woman in a new frame of mind: DNA can pass into body from foetus before reaching brain
Cells pass into mother’s body before making it to brain
Male DNA may linger there for decades, scientists say
Study in journal by cancer research centre in Seattle
You see we try, those that have lost , those that have endured the daily torture of watching our children and their life slowly leaving them.
We try, we look for reasons why we aren’t
” moving on- getting on with life “
We try to find reasons why we see the sunrise and our children don’t.
We try not to make others uncomfortable in our presence.
We try to “be”- and we reach out to one another to find the kinship of those that understand, those that know the language of grief of losing your child minute by excruciating minute for weeks on end.
And as much as we try – we still walk the nights, dread the days and TRY our damnedest make it through another day. That is our “normal” AND IT IS SO BLOODY HARD
From the Center for Loss and Trauma
Dr. Joanne Cacciatore
I’ m surprised I am still writing this blog on this New Year’s Day. This blog should be the “last front page” by now and the “Oh! Her Again” should be up and running BUT at the moment there doesn’t seem to be a fini in “infinity”.
Looking back ( and I believe we have to in order to understand where we are and where we are going) I thought I would share this New Year’s Day some of the searches that bring people to this blog.
These are just “some” of the hundreds from yesterday in no particular order and some of course are multiple searches for the same subject:
school safety Lorain City Schools
ernest j king
is downtown Lorain safe?
industry lorain, ohio
“joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat”
that woman blog
let me refresh the signals from my end
woman crying with worry
brother sister letter
bash street kid
america’s youngest mayor chase ritenauer
hodgkins lymphoma curable?
strasbourg night cathedral
that woman’s weblog
angela ritchey do
viking funerals services
property values Lorain
the front fell off
ww1 german masonic
crime in Lorain
Once again the most searched this year has been Dachau, followed by “war” and religion. Locally (Lorain) the top searches have been about “safety/ crime” and “property development” followed by the school system ( although that has drawn the most daily readership locally) .
According to my annual web report- Continental US readership comes in at the top, with Canada and UK right up there, Southern Hemisphere (Australia and New Zealand) followed by Germany ( most translated language with french and spanish following) France, Spain Russia and then South America. The stats tell me that still less than 30% of readership is local ( Lorain/ Lorain County) . I am honoured to be told my writings have “longevity ” and are still in some of the top ten searches on a subject even after three years of being published :)
So a day in stats, a year in stats and hopefully the coming year will find an “ending” and a “beginning”……. I hope your 2012, no matter where you are, is all you wish it to be.
Today’s post marks the 1,000 post on this blog since I started “that woman” blog three years ago. How many words have been written? I couldn’t begin to count- it has been a written journey which has found me changed from that 1st January post.
In the beginning it was about finding the ending of certain things left undone after leaving the old WoM Blog – CRA being one of them . There are now 62 categories, 111 tags and the CRA which was done is now becoming “undone” once more .
The writings changed from advocacy to sheer terror as my son a month into this blog was diagnosed with the so-called curable cancer- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
that too came undone-
a family came undone -
life has been explored and death-
heartache and heroism-
and education -
Lorain and Loraine -the USA and Europe -linked in this little blog.
I never thought to get to 1,000. I thought I would write the last post on December 2009 the day my son flatlined
was the day I thought to flatline this blog.
Anger at a self-serving obituary written by those that hardly knew him and we barely knew brought me to the keyboard – the last words written about my son were not going to be a mockery of who he was. These people, whom we barely knew, making decisions based on their limited knowledge absolutely sickened me and it still does. I roused myself from the pain of his loss and sat once again at the keyboard
The journey commenced ,
the mask of the basilisks
http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/september-3rd-war-movin-on-hell-truly-is-other-people-chris-ritchey/slipped and closure denied caused the fingers to once again mate with the keys giving birth to post after post interspersed with life
http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/category/lorain-dude/as it happens outside the den walls.
There have been so many times when I have thought the next post is the final post- the post where the front page of this blog will not be refreshed but we are now at this 1,000 post .
As I have watched the numbers click off with each post I thought I will make the 1,000 post an ending BUT there is more to write on this journey so I will mark this 1,000 post by reiterating that all the posts no matter the content were the truth, the documentation that backs up any and all scenarios available.
I have tried to be as honest as I possibly can be, to write from my heart and my soul,
http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/to-be-or-not-to-be-why-and-wherefores/to give those that read a glimpse into a world as seen from a keyboard in the den and a mind that tries and is failing to make sense of that world, even if not always grammatically or politically correct :)
I will continue to try to do so until “that woman” gives way to OH! HER AGAIN BLOG but in the meantime number 10001 coming up . Thanks for reading, commenting and being there with me through this journey of words, life, anger and grief Loraine ( aka – THAT WOMAN)
I have hesitated to publish this post- it is a fair warning post and although extremely personal I believe it might help those who in recent days are questioning
“Why didn’t he or she call me – tell me ?”
Most people know someone or know of someone who have taken their own life. Those who are closest question
“why didn’t they …..” “I would have been there to help them”…. “get them help” ….. “why???? nothing is so bad as to end your life over”….. “I should’ve seen this coming” (
ED note : Assisted suicide and a terminal illness aside- that is a whole other topic.
In the past two years, since the death of my son, I have been in a state of a grief so overwhelming that I have no words to adequately describe the way it cripples me and yes! GUILT.
A guilt that actually is illogical – I know I did my best to help my son – I know there was nothing else I could have done – but there is still the thoughts everyday of “what if- why didn’t I try this” I bargained with fate or God or whatever, I did the take me instead deal , I would have gladly taken on his disease and pain if it meant he could live. There is a mother’s guilt that I wake in the morning and he doesn’t.
I sat by his bed. holding his hand, trying to understand what it was I was meant to do -how could I stop this from happening to my child- and how I was failing him. I KNOW logically it was out of my control – there was nothing more I could have done BUT that illogical guilt still eats at me everyday, I can no more dismiss it from my being than I can his dying.
The grief, I have written about , tried to explain its cold bone chilling ache that is part of me every hour , the sheer weight of it , how ,even after these many months, it is as debilitating as those first few days, how it eats at your very life. I have known the pain of death but none like this and the cold cruelty that followed only added to the pain and the “why didn’t I? “ guilt.
I cling on to any life line to get me though each day and night. Sometimes when it is so overwhelming I have to take a life pill. No! not drugs but I have to fight my way through my brain and emotional turbidity with logic. I focus on Nikki, Gavin , my mum, husband and friends to try to logically pull me out of the dark emotional maelstrom that engulfs me daily and nightly . Sometimes the pull of the maelstrom is stronger than logic, love and will and sometimes I am so tired of fighting its pull I don’t see how I can go on fighting.
I have tried the counselling – nothing more than a placebo in my world- the drugs- faith- works for a great many but as I have written earlier that is not my path and the experience I have had with those that profess faith and goodness in the death of my son leaves a lot to be desired and questioning .
I do know however, there are any number of people all over the world I can reach out to – who will help me through- various avenues I can take to ease the pain, they are a mere call away . I have used these life lines when I feel the grief becoming too overwhelming when I have warning of its build up.
Pain , pure physical strength sapping pain, that is what it is a cold weary mind numbing ache that you carry with you. This pain is there everyday – this losing of my son- the watching him die hourly- slipping away minute by minute – it is imprinted on my brain- every movement – every word of those last days- every beep of the monitor- every second that I was totally useless and could do nothing to stop the ebbing of his life- haunts me.
I relive those days , unbidden, over and over. The memories assault your senses as a trigger moment starts the whole thing over again- I can be driving, eating dinner, watering the garden yet be instantly transported into another time and place of such anguish.
But “life goes on” – I wonder how those people who are mere acquaintances or strangers who attended the lead up to the various events this past weekend, of which I was a more than cursory participant, realized it was taking a conscious effort on my part to get through the performance that has become my life. Did they know I was dreading the question “do you have children” because it could trigger the end of “the act”? Because those that carry the enormous weight of a depression, hurt, or fear are actors. To look at us we appear OK and are dealing with……BUT that is not always the case.
Depths of Despair – by Chris Ritchey
How many times have we read after someone commits suicide?-
they seemed fine , they seemed to be handling the situation-
( whether it was bullying, loss of loved ones, loss of hope, cruelty etc. They aren’t fine they have just become very good at putting on the costume of the person the world wants them to be. I know.
Drugs- they, the professionals, prescribe drugs to help you through some of the darker days- but when the drugs wear off the emotional maelstrom comes rushing back. In my case I took the “antidepressants” and they did their work. It was very strange what these drugs did (to me at least) – the nightmares still happened – the pain was still there – the loss still as great- except somehow the drugs removed you from the event . I can only describe what happened to me with these drugs as not being split in two as I usually am now but into three -
(1)the emotional wreck- with the pain and weight of this person I have become due to the death of Chris-
(2)the logical me - the remnant of who I used to be and then
(3) the “fog” person who was watching the other two parts of me from afar and “not caring” anesthetized as I was being sliced and diced emotionally.
I know I am not explaining this very well -there is probably a clinical explanation- BUT it was bad enough being divided into two let alone three. I also felt in my case the drugs were actually causing more issues than I could handle.
Your body and brain tries to protect itself from this weight of woe as it does when the body is attacked by a illnes or virus. There are days that even the strongest mind , the most logical will in the world can do nothing to protect self.
I have been lucky – for one thing the logical me has managed to win through BUT I have been there sucked into a place so dark , so painful so blindingly emotional , you can hardly breathe with the weight of it , you want to escape its sheer agony . You just want it to STOP- you feel you can no longer endure one more minute of this overpowering anguish that floods over you like some a great wave . You fight its pull to get to the surface only to feel its great power enveloping your sanity and your sense of self .
At such a time I can tell you there is no logical thought , no
let me call my friend , let me reach out, get help
Your being puts you in a place without hope – you aren’t thinking of tomorrow or of anyone else . You are just trying to stop the crushing weight of it all, the agony of blackness – you just want it to stop.
The part of me that is life has my daughter’s face as my talisman and has pulled me from the depths on more than one occasion in these past months.
I am exposing my most intimate moments for a couple of reasons – I believe strongly those that didn’t reach out to their loved ones and “made it stop” were in such a place of pain in their own mind and body there was no room for logic or love.
Those left should not wonder
why didn’t they”?
The cause of their great pain was all-powerful – logic, love, help and hope had been overwhelmed by a black hole of hopelessness , its inky black strength the ultimate victor in life’s struggle.
To those that have suffered such a loss I hope this small insight may help, it has been difficult to write but I promised at the start of this journey not to sugar coat my thoughts.
INFINITY by Chris Ritchey
The writing game -
Previously I have written about media manipulation and language when it came to Lorain. In particular the CRA debacle
and recently with regard to the importance of the usage of language as it pertains to our lawmakers
Can you really believe everything you read just because it is published?
Can a reader be mislead by just the absence of words?
Can the mere absence of a phrase or description or clarification tilt an article?
Can a clever turn of phrase lead the unsuspecting and less cynical of readers down a path directed by a writer whilst still being somewhat true to the facts?
And if that is the case should the whole article then be looked at with a view to overbalanced in the world of fair and balanced media?
And what difference does it really make?
As I have stated before published articles are often used in the court system where lives, property and rights are at stake.
Lorain County dot com – The Lorain forum had a poster directing the readers to the following article about Lorain and the Lorain LPD.
Excessive Force- Cleveland Scene Magazine- by Kyle Swenson
NOTE: THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT THE LPD/DOJ/MONTELON subject matter or in fact the Allen/ Smith case – readers already know my views on that aspect”
THIS POST IS ABOUT THE “WRITTEN WORD” and the importance of words- something else I have been exploring lately
I read the article written by Kyle Swenson – I have to say I liked and yes! enjoyed, the somewhat flowery, but very descriptive writing of Swenson. His writing was a change from the normal “plugged into a format” , sound bite reporting of late .
Swenson’s clever usage of the language I appreciated BUT as I read the “descriptive paragraph” introducing Lorain I was a little confused
Nestled on Lake Erie, the low-slung cityscape of old storefronts is dwarfed by the spidering black architecture of nearby steel mills, the longtime municipal heartbeat. Today, its working-class neighborhoods are a crazy quilt of gang turf; gunshots are common on the weed-cracked streets. Residents say they come home from work, bolt the door, and don’t dare peep out until sunup. Council members have been known to make their door-to-door rounds with Kevlar vests and handguns.
Swenson’s eloquent turn of phrase painted a very unattractive picture of Lorain. I could just see in my minds- eye the spidering black architecture dwarfing the store fronts
Lorain circa 1899
Swenson had got part of that picture in “one part of Lorain “ aptly described but those of us that live here KNOW that is not the whole picture of Lorain farther up the street in other wards or along the lake shore where Lorainites “nestle” we have views to delight and savour. And when they talk of “shots fired” well you can find them here see for yourself.
Shots Fired Along the Black River This Morning
Photo Mark Teleha
Yes, we have some definite road problems with potholes and weed filled surfaces – but we aren’t alone
PHOTO JOHN HORTON CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER Cleveland has some too actually.
A few years ago I attended a function in Cleveland with the “elite” I was the guest of an “entertainment critic” when the “uppity Cleveland entertainment critic” learned one of the areas covered by my host was Lorain –
“poor you” having to cover such an intellectually challenged area …. what do they have in the way of theatre? Do they even know what a live performance is in Lorain – how can you be bothered with nothing more exciting than poor “community theatre” snicker snicker-
My host was somewhat embarrassed knowing I was living in Lorain and had a great deal of experience with “snicker snicker” community theatre in my time.
And then the “critic” turned to me
Don’t tell me you are from LAHRAIN” -
No, I said I am from London – you know that little town in England where Cleveland theatre is seen as truck and bus and Cleveland referred to as the Mistake on the Lake- however even in that remote backwater we did hear of your river catching fire
So back to the media ……..
It was the following sentence in that short paragraph of 10 pages and over 4 thousand words that caused me to sigh. The picture drawn by Swenson gives “running for council” in Lorain a totally different slant – no wonder they need all these fundraisers I never realized the added expenses for a Lorain City Council “dress code”
Council members have been known to make their door-to-door rounds with Kevlar vests and handguns.
Now let us take this sentence and write it factually.
FORMER Lorain City Council member Dennis Flores, now a member of a block watch, on his own volition patrols his street, which is known for gang and drug activity, with a vest purchased by his friends and with a concealed weapon.
Just the little difference of a “s” “Council members ( plural) – Council members making their door to door rounds- leading the reader up a totally different path than the facts – to read that sentence one would believe our council members are armed with their vest”S” and handgun”S” whilst checking or politicking on our city streets all over Lorain .
So you see how one little missing word ( former) , one “s” ( members and vests and handguns” can make all the difference .
I CAN be grammatically challenged , spell the way I was taught the english language, have run-on sentences, but I am just a blogger and my own editor :) not held to the higher standard of those that are in the “real media”.
Reader Beware there is more than a “S” at stake , more than an absence of a word – reputations can be lost – perceptions tainted . the legal system flummoxed and a town castigated by the adding of a letter and absence of a “word” .
Beware the English language the Chronicle Telegram has this headline on the 4th of March 2011
Mother upset son was assigned to slave roll in social studies lesson
I would be upset too if my 10 year old had to roll slaves about-
NOTE: by 6 p.m. that evening the ” roll” had been changed to role – could that be a case of revisionist writing ;) Can you imagine the poor Chronicle reader telling a friend
I know I am not crazy I swear I saw a story about a child being made to roll a slave but NOW it is gone
To be continued…………
The neighborhood bunch- mostly boys- I really can’t remember any girls except for my friend Helen. We were the tear-aways of 5 and 6 year olds. It was a different time then- mum’s were housewives and the “avenue” became our playground. We were sent “out” to play. We roamed from back garden to back garden, visions of mums with aprons usually drying their hands appearing at front doors to “check” as we “roamed our territory, the older ones keeping an eye on the “babies” among us.
Looking back on those times they were good times- a time of innocence. The Anderson Shelters that had protected our parents from the blitz became our forts to be protected, coal bunkers – great hiding places if somewhat filthy with coal dust .
Helen ( whose parents were Jewish and had escaped from the Nazis ) and I being girls and the weakest usually ended up being “the bad guys, the robbers to the boy cops , the Indians to their cowboys the Germans to their English”. We had no choice we were outnumbered and male egos prevailed at even such a young age ;)
However, we sissy girls learned to hold our own in those formative years and there were times when the Indians outsmarted the cowboys, the robbers got away with the loot but the English always won – even we dared not let the Germans get away with anything or ever win a battle – our patriotism made us vulnerable we always “gave up and surrendered”.
There was one house on the street that we dare not play or invade as our games progressed up and down the avenue . It was not that it was spooky or derelict, in fact it was the same as all the other houses on the street. The front garden behind the garden wall was always awash with colour and beautiful roses.
No! it wasn’t the house as such that made us uncomfortable it was the woman who lived behind the garden wall. There was something not “normal”- something not quite right. She looked ordinary enough, her hair was greying but she wasn’t so very old ( as I remember now) but to a five-year old someone who must have been in her late 40′s was ancient.
When we tired of being the “bad guys” Helen and I would retreat to our dolls and mud pies and making “perfume” from flower petals- much to the annoyance of the boys. Even they though would not venture over the garden wall to gather the fallen rose petals from the house with the “strange lady”. She was one female who frightened even the toughest among them.
Then one day spying a great number of fallen petals of all sorts of colours, just right for the mixing of our special brand of perfume – I opened the gate and walked the path ( which seemed so long although it was just a matter of a few feet) to ask if I could have the petals.
She answered the door with a puzzled look finally lowering her gaze to what must have been a somewhat disconcerting sight – a golden-haired , grubby little girl who was asking for rose petals for perfume . I wonder what she thought at that moment ?
I remember her smiling and telling me to have all the rose petals I wanted and if I was careful of thorns I could take some roses to my mummy.
After that I would be at her house , playing behind the wall when the boys got to be too much like boys. I was safe they were too frightened to enter and see what was behind the wall.
Later I learned the lady scarcely ever left her house and garden. She had lost both her husband and her children in the war – she too was escaping behind the garden wall.
I think that I can identify with my “strange lady” you see she is no longer strange – but I also realize there is no escape from grief- it comes unbidden. We, who grieve a loss of their child live in the past and present. All the advice and why you are doing this and why this happening to you only helps until you are blindsided by the unbidden.
The past few days have been especially “dark” I can’t think of another description for the feeling. I am sure some “head Dr.” could diagnose my condition.
I try to avoid triggers and situations in these hours of “dark”. They are the days when you dread the night because as bad as the day is with its overwhelming loneliness and heartache you know that sleep will have to come eventually and your brain will work in such ways that the night will be one of torment.
But it does no good to wrap yourself in the armour of self- protection; the mere act of walking around the dining room table to plug a cell phone into its charger (as you have done night after night for many years) can without warning, transport you back instantly to walking around that dining room as you tried to ease the “labour pains” the night your son was born.
The parallel world comes unbidden and your night will be one of tears that fall as rose petals behind a garden wall.