Hills & Valleys

I can’t seem to climb out of this grief valley right now.  I know I will, but for now the sun is rather dark.  That’s an interesting effect of grief- sometimes, sunny days truly do look dark.  It’s beautiful outside today.  The temperature is mild, the humidity is low, and there’s barely a cloud in the sky.  Still, I just feel like covering my head and waiting for the outside to reflect how I feel inside.

All of this got me thinking about the moment just before a funeral starts.  Most acutely, my grief involves my daughter.  I can’t imagine a more painful blow than the death of a child.  My world will never be the same, and it’s still not close to stable again.  In the moments just before my daughter’s memorial service, I wanted to run as far from that chapel as I possibly could.  I didn’t think I could get through it.  The music we chose was already stabbing at me, and I just knew the prayer of committal would drop me to my knees.

We had a little table set up with things to honour my daughter.  Someone gave me a beautiful ceramic angel in the palest of pink colours, and I ordered a sunset picture with her name written in sand.  The nurses took a picture of her after they had cleaned her and I had dressed her.  All of that looked somewhat out of place next to the tiny urn that held her ashes.  Life and death, beauty and desolation laid out right there before our eyes.

When the reverend came in, I stopped breathing.  His presence made things so final.  This was really the memorial service for my daughter, and she was really dead.  I made it through the service, staying relatively composed throughout it, talked to the reverend very briefly afterward, and completely fell apart in the safety of my best friend’s arms once we were alone.  Even now, as I write this almost nine months after the service, I feel like my entire body is breaking open.

Hope is missing from my life, as is the feeling that there is a rhyme or reason for the world afterall.  Even with the trauma in my past and all of the losses before this one, I was able to keep some hope and faith in something larger than us.  Now, I truly have trouble accepting that any supernatural being would be so cruel as to end the life of a child.  The service had a Christian theme.  My best friend’s mother, a devout Christian, planned the service, and I was ok with that.  At that point, an appeal to any being at all to take care of my child was fine.

We used the song ‘Still’ by Gerrit Hofsink.  I think anyone who has lost a baby can relate to this song.  You can listen to it here, and the lyrics are listed below.  If you’ve lost your baby, my deepest condolences go out to you and your family.  I hope that, regardless of faith, this song is a comfort to you.

———————————————————

‘Still’ by Gerrit Hofsink

I’ve been waiting for you
For such a long time
You’re always on my mind

And I’m lying awake
Most of the night
Waiting to hold you tight

Now that I do
And look at you
My heart is breaking
This can’t be true

Chorus:

Lost you before I found you
Gone before you came
But I love you just the same
Missed you before I met you
On earth we never can
But in heaven we’ll meet again

Close to my soul
Close to my heart
Right from the start

Lost in time, lost in space
Can’t wait to see your face

Now that I do
And look at you
My heart is breaking
I know it’s true

Chorus

Sometimes I find myself wondering what to do
With this pain that I’m going through
But I know one day, God will take me away
And I’m coming home to you

And when I do
And look at you
My heart is healing
I know it’s true

Chorus

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I Just Feel It

‘In My Life’ is my absolute favourite Beatles song.  It has a ‘looking back’ undertone, but it’s also hopeful.  It’s recognising that, although you’ll always look back at people you loved and lost, you’ll also move forward.  My sister had a habit of putting on really bizarre sunglasses, making a peace sign with her hands, and saying ‘I feel it.  I just feel it.’ when she related to a song.  That was hysterical coming from a child who hadn’t reached the double digits in age.  I’ll have to agree with her just this once, though.  When it comes to the song ‘In My Life,’ I feel it.  I just feel it.  🙂

There are places I remember all my life

Though some have changed

Some forever not for better

Some have gone

And some remain

All these places had their moments

With lovers and friends

I still can recall

Some are dead and some are living

In my life I’ve loved them all


Justin Currie News

I was thrilled to find that Justin Currie has released a second solo CD, ‘The Great War.’  After having listened to the samples on Amazon, a unanimous verdict was reached:  We must have this CD.  🙂  Granted, I’m incredibly biased in that there are only three Del Amitri songs that I don’t actually like, and I’ve listened to Justin’s first solo CD (‘What Is Love For’) far too many times. From the samples I’ve heard and from previous knowledge of this truly gifted artist’s work, I *highly* recommend this disc.  (His being ridiculously handsome is a bonus.)  🙂

You can find more information on Currie’s website:

http://www.justincurrie.com

On the Outside

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the ‘technical’ aspects of SRA lately.  The what is done and how it’s done bit.  Programming is *incredibly* sophisticated, and I don’t really want to go into that at the moment.  I do, however, want to recommend a song: ‘When I’m Gone’ by 3 Doors Down.  Driving to school a few weeks ago, I heard this song for this first time in years.  The first two lines struck at the centre of me.  So much stays locked up inside SRA survivors, even to those closest to us.  In talking with my closest friends, I avoid certain areas.  No one will benefit from hearing the more grisly aspects of life inside a satanic cult.  I’ve always tried to express what talking with ‘outsiders’ about SRA feels like.  That protective hesitance.  These lines from ‘When I’m Gone’ express it perfectly.

There’s another world inside of me that you may never see.

There’s secrets in this life that I can’t hide.

The whole song expresses quite well the things I could never say.  I’ve been trying to put into words what it’s like to separate the emotion (as much as possible) from the business of SRA, for lack of better terms.  That’s how it’s done inside cults.  I had to suppress emotions, sometimes as a means for survival, and carry through with things.  In the early years, thinking about my younger sister got me through.  There were so many times when we were separated, and I was terrified of what might have been happening to her.  If this song had been out all those years ago, I’d have told her to sing it to herself.  The chorus is exactly what I’d want to say to her.  I wanted to tell her she could keep her faith in me, even when I wasn’t around.  I wanted her to know I’d always be the something stable she could hold on to.  Still, she got me through so much– I *had* to get through in order to get her through.  In that sense, we saved each other.  I was never able to let her know just how strong and powerful she was, even as a small child.  She was my motivation and the strength I needed to get through some of the darkest times in my life.  She was amazing.

Anyway, the song ‘When I’m Gone’ is performed by 3 Doors Down, from their 2002 album ‘Away from the Sun.’  It was written by Brad Arnold.  Click here to listen to the song.

There’s another world inside of me

That you may never see

There’s secrets in this life that I can’t hide

Somewhere in this darkness

There’s a light that I can’t find

Maybe it’s too far away

Or maybe I’m just blind

Maybe I’m just blind…

Chorus

So hold me when I’m here

Right me when I’m wrong

You can hold me when I’m scared

And love me when I’m gone

Everything I am

And everything in me

Wants to be the one

You wanted me to be

I’ll never let you down

Even if I could

I’d give up everything

If only for your good

So hold me when I’m here

Right me when I’m wrong

You can hold me when I’m scared

You won’t always be there

So love me when I’m gone

Love me when I’m gone…

***

When your education x-ray

Cannot see under my skin

I won’t tell you a damn thing

That I could not tell my friends

Roaming through this darkness

I’m alive but I’m alone

Part of me is fighting this

But part of me is gone…

Chorus

Love me when I’m gone

When I’m gone

When I’m gone

When I’m gone…

An Unexpected Shock

Here I am this morning, minding my own business and listing to the digital broadcast of Radio 2, when something horrible happens– I hear the not-so-mellifluous tones of one Taylor Swift.  I’ll admit that, even though American radio has so much more variety, I prefer BBC Radio (specifically 2).  Hearing that particular singer, then, was quite a shock.  Radio 2 usually plays *good* music.

Mind you, my computer is still regularly churning out the broadcast, and as always, it’s nice to hear.  Just skip the American teen pop next time, please!

Nostalgia

Here, on the other side of my night of panic, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.  Nostalgia can be a powerful thing.  It can wrap you up in the past so badly that you forget to live the present.  But, it can also motivate you.  It can help you see the patterns in your life that you’re repeating, good or bad, and it can help you remember where you wanted your life to go.

I wanted to have a stable career and a life free from the cult by the time I reached my current age.  I’m a bit far from both of those goals, but I still have faith in them, and I still have faith (sometimes) in my ability to make them happen.  Positive steps.

One has to be careful following down the road of the past and focusing on the changes time has caused.  Time is merely a loop, and we choose the part of the loop we follow at any given moment.  Everything grows older and time keeps passing, but it never really gets away.  We just have to wait, sometimes, for the part we’re missing to come back ’round again.

There’s a line from Del Amitri’s song ‘When You Were Young’ that says it best–  ‘And down nostalgia’s rocky road, you watch your former lovers growing old.’  Click here to see the video on YouTube by universalmusicgroup.  It’s a great song, and very fitting for this lazy sort of homage to the past I’m meandering through at the moment.

New Page

For those of you who read the blog via RSS or mail programmes, I wanted to let you know I’ve added a page on song recommendations, called, appropriately ‘Song Recommendations’.  It’s at the top of the homepage and will be added to probably more often than one would think.  That’s another thing about DID– millions of opinions on the same subject.  🙂

The Boxer

Excellent song by Simon and Garfunkel that I relate to in an odd way.  It’s not exactly my story, but so much of it resonates with me.

There are days when I just feel tired.  Not in the sense that I didn’t get enough sleep, but in the sense that the weight of my past settles on me and I feel unable to stand with that weight on my shoulders.  It’s hard to explain, but I’m guessing many of the trauma survivors who read this will know exactly what I mean.

‘The Boxer’ talks about someone who leaves home early and survives the streets on his own.  The last few lines are what I relate to so well, and again, I’m sure this will resonate with other trauma survivors as well:

In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade,

And he carries the reminders of ev’ry glove that laid him down

Or cut him till he cried out in his anger and his shame

‘I am leaving, I am leaving.’

But the fighter still remains

Regardless of the trauma, people have an innate sense of survival.  Even if we have to back out sometimes or take routes we don’t exactly want to take, the fighters within us still remain.

Feeling a Presence

I make it a point every day to ‘talk’ to the candle I got at the Candle Lighting Ceremony a few weeks ago.  It’s a suggestion someone made to me that really helps– find a way to communicate with the person you’ve lost and, in that way, keep them as part of your life.  I don’t stand in front of the spot where Andy’s candle sits and talk out loud.  I just take a few minutes as I’m getting ready each morning and concentrate on him.  The candle feels like a physical connection.

This morning, the song ‘To Where You Are’ by Josh Groban came on the radio.  There’s a line from the song that really captures my feelings– ‘I wish upon tonight to see you smile.  If only for a while to know you’re there.’  I think the need to know the person who has been lost still exists in some form haunts everyone trying to come to terms with grief.  As that line played today, I *felt* Andy with me.  I closed my eyes and *felt* him there in my arms, bundled up like I used to hold him when he was a baby.  It wasn’t at all sad.  It was comforting.  Maybe, for just a brief moment, he felt my love.

I can’t claim to know what happens after we die.  My inclination is that our energy dissipates and moves on to its next form.  Maybe the essence of who we were in life stays whole as other facets of our energy travel on to their next destination.  I’d like for that to be true.  Regardless, I *felt* my son there with me this morning.  It could have been simply a trick of the mind, but whatever it was, it made me smile.

‘The heart stops briefly when someone dies, a quick pain as you hear the news, and someone passes from your outside life to inside.  Slowly the heart adjusts to its new weight, and slowly, everything continues, sanely.’ — Ted Berrigan quoted in ‘Many Years from Now,’ Barry Miles’s biography of Paul McCartney.