Falling into a Moment.

Today, is just as times before. When I feel the pain of another’s story, long after my ears have heard. When I remember back to my own journeys through the pain of chronic ill-health. And the mental anguish of being unable to function for days, weeks, months. The self-imposed stresses. The very real stress of maintaining a relationship whilst unable to maintain yourself. Being unable to work, unable to generate income, unable to meet deadlines.
Unable. Disable. Needing more enable, but those days were rare.
I have known defeat, suffering, struggle, and loss. Somehow I have found my way out of those depths and stand here today.

.

Pain reaches forwards
Up from the past
Clutching and dragging me
Back
Fearing all that
Now, as then

And I tell myself right now
These are emotional ghosts
They have no power over me
Except that which I give them.
Though I feel unsteady, unsafe
My comfort lies in others
Asking for help
Accepting supportive hands
Belief in my own inner strength.
These are my tools
With these now I survive
And prepare to thrive once more
This is my hope, my truth.

My Dad.

What I saw, what I experienced, what I remember. There were other darker times, but to me they were caused by his motorbike accident induced physical battering and brain damage. Here is the true man that I recall.

Physically active, healthy and strong.
Strong energy of person, bold.
Comfortable to sit with himself.
Caring, patient, considerate.
Dedicated.
Humble.
Loving.

As I remember him being laid to rest with his parents one year ago, in this way I honour his memory and acknowledge his life within my own.

(1 January 2015)

Hi Dad (365 days).

Hi Dad,

It’s been a year now. 365 days since I last saw you. There was a phone call, I slept through the first ring, but a minute later I registered something was up for my phone to be ringing in the middle of the night. I saw who it was calling, I answered, and I knew it was bad. Pulled on some clothes and shoes, jumped in my car and drove around. I was only 4 minutes away, so no time to think other than “get there, see what you can do” and “be ready for anything”. I pulled into the driveway. An ambulance out front, the front door open. And there you were, laying on the floor in the passageway of the house I grew up in.

(I’m still growing up – still learning, still growing – I think you’d appreciate that. I never had the courage to tell you something like that before, but I do now.)

Laying there surround by medical staff, trying to revive you. What was it, about 1 or 2 AM? So I stayed clear while they did their job. Sat in the kitchen while M cried. Looked after her as best I could. One of the medical staff spoke to us in the kitchen, said they were doing all they could. Soon afterwards, came the expected news. Forty minutes working on you and no response at all. It was time for them to stop and call the police because that was protocol.

The officers who attended were very good. Explaining the process, what they had to do and why. We needed a funeral home to come and take you away for now, but who? You were so organised in many ways, but this came along a bit quick for you to be ready. If you’d had a funeral home chosen already, it would have been much easier for us there, that night. Suddenly, seemingly important decisions needed to be made on the spot. Well we did the best we could, as ill-prepared as we were, M and me.

The funeral home staff took a while to arrive, but really that’s understandable. A couple of people would have received their own phone calls in the middle of the night, have to get up, scrub up, and dress up, and arrive to deal with you.

While waiting, we dressed you. Changed you out of your pyjamas and put some comfortable clothes on you. It was relatively easy. I was surprised at how light you were, so easy to move around. And so at peace. The memory of your face then is already fading, but I will always remember how it felt. Taking care of you one last time, while you rested, comfortable at last.

They staff that arrived were great. Communication, understanding, sincerity, care, consideration. They showed you every respect and showed us every care. We wrapped you in white, so that we could lift you onto the gurney. And then you left.

I saw you again, later, but it wasn’t the same. You weren’t there any more. The life and spirit had all passed. You were made up so well, so natural, so neat in your suit, you looked good, but you weren’t there any more. I could tell, and I felt a little sad for it.

I visited your final resting place just over a week ago. There with your mum, and your dad alongside. That was what you wanted, I’m glad you had made that known. I didn’t know what to expect, I hadn’t seen the new memorial stone for you yet. I thought I might get a little teary. Thought I might want to talk out loud to you. Get angry or something. But there was nothing obvious wanting to come out. It’s just life. This happened and I was there to help you in the end. I just deal with it. Just do what needs to be done and keep going. I don’t really know any other way. Is there any other way? Maybe not when I’m me.

Oh the grief has been sneaky. It’s been bad. It has just disabled me at times this year. It has left me conscious but unable to think, unable to process a thought or make even the smallest decision sometimes. Grief has trapped me in bed, unable to get up all day. Unable to function, unable to look after myself. Unable to feel anything more than fear and oppression. Grief has dragged along depression and switched my brain around so that I disbelieved anything people said to me, so that I felt isolated from everyone, hated myself and couldn’t bear another day of it all.

It’s been a tough year. I don’t blame you. I don’t blame anyone (anymore). It’s just who I am at this time and how it’s effected me and how I’ve needed to process it. And it’s probably not over yet, may never be, but I’m learning how to deal with it. Relearning how to be me, rebuilding from the ground up. Not patching little holes of pain, but learning how to really live all that is life – the easy and the difficult times. All the emotions. All the feelings. The highs and lows and the quiet times between. It all means something and I’m learning that, bit by bit, with some great help.

I don’t wish that we’d had more time. I just wish that I hadn’t lived under so much fear that I hesitated to talk to you about my thoughts, about all these questions I had and about all that you might have been able to share with me. That’s my only regret. I wasn’t brave enough with you. But It’s taught me bravery. I’ve become much braver, I’ve become more of the person I always wanted to be. And I can thank you for that.

I know I’m a day or two late, writing this.

(Wasn’t I always a little late getting things done for you? But you never rushed or pushed me, you just let me know how much you appreciated the assistance.)

The last three days I’ve been celebrating Christmas, with family and friends. Celebrating life and being thankful for those people around me.

So today was the day to write this. Today I was ready, finally. To think about it all, to mark the occasion, to talk about and honour you. To say “hey, I missed you this year Dad, but I thought about you, as I always have, and I’ll keep you alive in my heart.”
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Shattered.

Feeling broken. Can’t function properly, whatever that word means at the moment. Couldn’t get myself out of the house today. Tired, worn out, unwell. But more-so, battling the constant negativity that assails my thoughts. Vision clear enough to recognise their unreasonableness, but not to do anything more than barely manage to push them out for a time. Negativity about everything, feeling like a grumpy old man, but knowing the head is skewed. Memory has been rusty for so long, but can now barely recall what happened before last night’s sleep. Everything seems to take twice as long, including trying to feel better.

Existing through this in-between space.
Neither energetically happy nor suicidal.
Neither functioning artist nor pile of trash.
I know the extremes, and
I know this familiar place in the middle.
The scariness is that
I don’t know where I am going.
I’m a person, in pieces.
Fragmented and falling.
Won’t someone put me back together?
Match up the edges and find how they all go together again,
Make me whole.

shattered glass falling

Yesterday’s Pain.

Just when
Life feels better again
Out of the blue
Pain comes through
Stomach twisting
Pain inflicting
But worse yet
What I wanted to forget
The memories
Of endless pain days
Drowning in
Pain recollection
A double hit
To abdomen and soft head bit
Physical turmoil
Strong emotional recoil
The anguish
The death wish
Helplessness
Confused mind a mess
All flooding
Over me suffocating
Hide away
In sleep, ’til new day
Drained, wasted
Such changes created
A delicate frame
All that remains

.
[actually Thursday/Friday, it took another day to get this pressed]

Sometime. (reblog)

I know you haven’t spoken to me in a while
and that’s because you’ve got things happening
and you just don’t feel that great sometimes
and when you remember me it’s not a good time to talk
I don’t mind.
I remember you
And if we could catch up I would drop everything
just to spend a little time with you
a reminder –
that even for the briefest of moments
life is bearable
And I would pray
that is enough for now
.

This is the second of three poems written on Sunday morning during a burst of inspiration. First published by me at:
Sometime.

Empty Shoes.

Walk in your shoes
Get to know you
They are a size big or two
Always bigger than me were you

I look up to you
Even more, now that I miss you
The stories I hear now
Tell me so much I never knew

I always knew the similarities
Matching pieces of personality
Some used to upset me
But now I hold them dearly

What you did that upset many
I understand I can see your view
Don’t agree with it
But in so much your heart was true
And this is what I remember
Of you
.

===

[This was inspired by looking through my father’s shoe collection – many old, some unworn, mostly practical work boots – more reminiscing and seeing photographs of a happy young man. (Photograph by me of a couple of the items). The poem’s structure is a bit rough, but I can’t change it without, you know, changing it. And it’s like my memories of him, good or bad, they are all I have now, so I will learn to love them all.]

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Afternoon with Dad.

Spent the afternoon there
Watching him sitting
and asleep in the chair

Sometimes we spoke
A lot I just sat
Touching his arm

Watching limbs twitch
Seeing fingers shake
Feeling muscle spasm

Reclining the chair for him
then upright again
Moving pillows

Eyes open, words
don’t make sense
context confused

Clear question
I hear, but
is he confused?

Legs swollen
but face hollow
such contrast

Remembering him as before
Remembering him right now
Which memories will last?