Memory Lane Ebbing flow of joy deep Sorrow Words images thoughts Borrow When pain doubles us up Burrow Sometimes truth hard to Swallow But there is always Tomorrow
I am someone who needs to know, however bad it is, I need you to tell me the truth and not gloss it up or wrap it in pretty packaging, just the harsh reality, the naked truth.
When Mama was in hospital I looked the senior doctor in the eye, his name was George, tall, dark and handsome of Greek descent and asked him to tell me the truth, however bad, I could take it. And he respected that and said he would want the same. So he gave it to me.
It would take a miracle for your mother to pull through. Miracles do happen but …
When I had to make the difficult decision of whether to fly back to work or stay till the bitter end I asked the consultant how imminent and her advice that I should stay answered my question. In the end I did the right thing. It would have been a lifelong regret and I would have been plagued with guilt.
Weird but I always envisaged I would get that phone call in the middle of the night from my sister and be numbed. In reality it happened very differently. I was there at her bedside with the Prodigal Son whom she hadn’t seen for years and the Favourite Daughter who was always there came too late. Ironic, or what? The Black Sheep and the Prodigal Son there when Mama needed us most. The Model Daughter needed her beauty sleep and was allergic to hospitals; it brought out a rash on her face.
Being there for Mama’s last breath was priceless. At the end I hadn’t let her down, though I have felt that way from my first breath. Part of the reason why I had stayed away and not been there for her as much as I should have. My excuse, I had my own issues and health problems and then there was always the ‘Not good enough cos I am not a boy’ brick wall between us and feeling unloved and inferior.
Why is it that wisdom always comes too late after loss; my marriage, Mama, career, siblings …?
I resolved in 2014 not to write about heartbreak nor cancer and not to be late, a very bad habit but I just want to write one last time about lost love.
just like that
here one minute
gone the next
gossamer blowing in the wind
petals floating on the shimmering water
to the shores of the past and beyond
The tides come in and out
carrying debris from the ocean floor
the smoke of a summer barbecue
the blast of a motrobike shooting by
tulips windmills amsterdam
There was you and there was I
Then we became us
And the Little One
Three In One
I felt complete
The storm clouds descended
Thunder lightning stuck
Gale force winds
Love hate resentment entwined
The music stopped the flowers wilted
The Friendship Tree no longer bloomed
Signalled The End
I often wondered where that Love went
Did it evaporate or simply got lost before GPS
Is there Lost Property where one could claim it back
Provide evidence of Love once owned
Say the kid we created out of Joy and Intimacy
Is that proof enough
Or a consulting room where broken hearts could be mended
Like a garage for broken down cars
I’m over you
The collateral damage no longer haunts
I have survived the friendly fire
Withstood the chill of indifference
Being eliminated excommunicated eradicated
Yet here I stand TALL
it no longer matters
that I don’t exist in your eyes mind nor heart
I exist I know I laugh I cry I love I care I dare
It is enough for me and me alone
I could bottle pain
watch it sail away
let it soar
see it burn
seek selective amnesia
sieve away the bad
yet in the core of my very being
the dull aches keeps throbbing
robbied fobbed off
for being mere human
failing to live up to expectations
imperfect flawed unworthy
Catch myself unawares
tears streaking wrinkled face
all that bravado
it doesn’t matter
be happy for others’ family reunions
unwrapping presents from under the tree
stuffing themselves with turkey and booze
a jolly good knees up
for she’s a jolly good fellow and so say all of us
I know drowning in self pity ain’t gonna do a damn thing
but rationalising ain’t working either
can’t seem to talk myself out of the hurt
buried so deep under piles of shit
strata upon strata upon strata
loss upon loss upon loss
not just losing your favouite earring
but those on the top of the list of the stress scale
this year of course there is the loss of Mama
the wave of grief suddenly has knocked me off balance
I am nostalgic for that family any family
yet reality smacks me in the face
what family get real stop day dreaming
just another day in paradise
now i know why the suicide rate shoots up
over the festive season
all this jollyness family bliss
kinda rubs it in huh if you are the Matchstick Girl
gazing enviously through the window
left out in the cold
what can you do
had to wipe away the tears
put on the game face
smile and carry on
what is the alternative
Be careful what you wish for because it may just come true. My dream came true, a husband, a baby, a house, two cars, two cats and even two pygmy goats into the bargain. The latter was my ex’s idea. I’ve never been a high flier or a career driven person; what I craved was my own little happy family and to give my child the best childhood which I was deprived. That is the ideal and if the husband part, you know, loving, supportive, emotionally available, respectful then it would have been perfect.
Sometimes we mourn our loss to the point that we can no longer function properly in normal life, as in my case, yet fail to recognise that what we had wasn’t all that fantastic. Maybe, just maybe, not having it anymore is a blessing in disguise. Perhaps the person who hurt you and betrayed your trust did you a favour inadvertently and released you to live a freer and happier life.
I used to be a black and white person; it is either right or wrong, there is no grey area, truth is truth, absolutes exist. I hated pastal colours because to me they were wishy washy. I needed things to be definite, either this or that. If there is one thing I have learnt is that there is no absolute and there is no TRUTH per se. It is all open to interpretation and influenced by your own experiences and personality. Even brought up in the same family, my experience of my childhood is very different from my sister’s as her asthma meant she got all the attention.
Everybody wants to be wanted and loved but I feel we need to be needed too. It gives us a sense of purpose. I guess that is why some who retire get depressed and experience a loss of identity and meaning. The empty nest syndrome too.
Anyone who knows Mama G. knows she loves to talk, she loves to reach out, communicate … In fact you can’t shut her up and she has this annoying habit of butting in mid-sentence.
So when Mama G is silent, lost her voice, this is not a good sign. It is bad, very bad. Either she is clinically depressed and has withdrawn into her own safe shell behind the invisible barricades in her head or worse still she has been silenced. Sounds rather alarming and dramatic as if my tongue had been cut off or a gun is put against my head or my family threatened if I dared breathe a word.
Silence like a thief in the night crept upon me unawares; being ignored, my opinions, feelings dismissed, unacknowledged, worse still ridiculed and so the brainwashing began, the drip drip daily effect convincing me I was not worth being heard. Later it became that I was paranoid, over-anxious and quite possibly insane. How I felt and thought were not based on reality, truth. I suffered from depression, a mental illness, so could my emotions, opinions and concerns be rational and valid.
The man I was married to and loved, the father of my child kept pointing out my faults, imperfections in an attempt to create a better me. He was doing it for my own good. If he didn’t care why would he bother? After all he wasn’t doing it to his friends or family. He must love me so much and what he said must be true otherwise why would someone I trust with my life and for whom I would take a bullet for without hesitation do that?
So I shut up. I swallowed my true feelings, what I wanted, what I needed and never opened my mouth to express them because I was thinking and feeling wrong. In fact I was wrong; there was something very wrong with me and it was his job to save me, to show me the error of my ways.
It was also too much of an effort, exhausting to have to fight your corner every single time over the most trivial of things and of course there was also the harmony of the family, keeping the peace to consider. I was always the one to say sorry first whether I believed I was right or wrong. The family was my world, was what gave meaning to my life and what made me; wife and mother above all else. It could not be broken at any cost, even if it meant losing my identity in the process, although it was never such a conscious decision or thought.
The need to fill the bottomless void of a sense of belonging, of loving and being loved, being accepted, being validated and having a specific role in life that gave meaningful to my existence superseded everything. Yes in the end without realising I lost my entire self not only my voice.
In spite of my superhuman efforts the family was demolished and matters were taken out of my hands. Loss registering on the Richter scale.
But everything has a flip side, everything, no matter how dire. The opposite of loss is gain. Stripped of everything and I mean everything there was nobody but me. I found me again because there was nothing else. I rediscovered the use of my voice because now there was no one to tell me to shut up or mock what I had to say. Nobody to make me feel stupid for feeling the way I did or that my emotions were somehow wrong, irrational, invalid. That I was being paranoid, crazy, difficult, sick.
I gained freedom. I could sing at home, out of tune, it didn’t matter, it made me happy. I gained happiness, freedom, a rare feeling of being comfortable in my own skin, of not feeling on edge, on permanent defensive mode, ready to do battle against verbal attack and put downs.
Finally I could give it a name: emotional abuse, a form of domestic violence. I never in a million years thought I was a sufferer. I was never punched, kicked, slapped, had my hair pulled or knocked to the ground. Nevertheless abuse it definitely was just not physical but it poisoned my mental and emotional well-being and affected my health. Frustration and anger turned within became clinical depression. We all know mind-body spirit are interconnected. Maybe it weakened my immune system too and allowed the cancer cells to run riot not once but twice, who knows.
With huge loss comes tremendous gain and a tough old bird is born, broken wings healed ready to soar the heights beyond the clouds into yonder blue.
Gorgeous is a little melancholic today, suddening realising that this day 21 years ago she was a beautiful bride in plum silk cheung sam sitting on the love of her life’s knee to take their wedding photo. It was the best day of her life followed closely by that early morning half a year later when her beautiful baby came into this world. Her angel and shining light. She was beaming from deep within and so was he.
Alas the fairy tale didn’t last; the princess turned into a middle aged cancer survivor/divorcee living with depression and nursing a broken heart literally and emotionally. Rejection has hit her hard, to the very core of her being and she has had to dig deep, grit her teeth and go on.
stopped asking why
moved on to
everybody says move on let go
words are easy
do you get all the pain out
forget the hurt accept loss
begin a new life not mourn the old
hold onto the good memories
not permit the end to taint
wring the last drop of love dry