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Letters from the Dead

30 Jan

I’m cleaning out the “laundry room”, an awkwardly named room full of dirty clothes, cat litter, summer stuff for kids and all the crap I don’t know where else to put. In the middle of empty boxes, dryer fluff and dried herbs, there’s a box.

Letters.

Mostly, the letters between Mogo and I, the written documentation of the person, long ago, I fell in love with. The good person who listened and cared, who was funny and ballsy and pretty damn awesome.

Fuck me it hurt to read those, to hear that voice again, that voice I haven’t heard in so long, lost behind who we became, grew into. I loved him.

I stopped reading after one. It wasn’t worth the hurt. But I couldn’t quite bring myself to dump them into the garbage. Not today. Maybe never. In those envelopes are my daughter’s parents, before everything else, when a faint lust flowered in ink, an understanding, a camaraderie.  He was so beautiful to me then. I remember that, how excited I would become when a letter would arrive, how I would read each letter over and over, how good it felt to have one certain person in my world, someone who would always tell me hey, it IS ok.

It’s not ok.

I tucked them back into the old box, slogans from my misspent youth scrawled across it, when a letter fell out.

Andrea.

Red hair, huge grin, lively porcelain skin. Perfectly wonderful and yet blandly un-entertaining. She would write me the odd letter when I moved from her town to “the big city”, and I never wrote back, having nothing to say to someone I rarely spoke with, someone I was only tenuously connected to via her boyfriend who liked to play Asshole and sit quietly staring at everyone. Normal in every way, destined to teach, become a mother perhaps, live a full life and die. I never wrote her back that I remember, or maybe once I did. I was pretty high most of the time then, and she didn’t fit in to where I sat, her beauty and the stunning normality of her life a brick wall that breathed heavily on me as it sat, hostile between us.

I didn’t think of her for years. Until Facebook, and I thought, wow, I never wrote her back. I felt bad, a hollow ache I felt about most things from that time, a manic period like no other in my life, when I scorned all that which didn’t burn like magnesium in front of my very eyes. Many a common friendship, lost then, because I couldn’t handle the mundane.

But when I looked for her, when I typed in her name and saw in my mind her lovely face, the hair I envied, I found the one thing I didn’t want to, didn’t dream of seeing for anyone my age, just starting on their life, when you’re honest.

There was an accident one night, on the cold highway linking much of Ontario to the rest of Canada, a twisting road I’ve driven, terrified. A sudden, horrid accident, taking her sister and brother as well. I found she had been a student near me, maybe even at the same time, and I never knew, same school, same town. She grew into a profession she loved.

She had died, and I had never bothered to say hello, or goodbye. She was gone, and I had never really known her.

***

Mortality has always been part of me, more so than most people I meet. I have a keen, if not outsized sense of how close we are, how easily we can fall from this world and into whatever waits. I know we are mortal beings, more likely to float away into dust than meet a maker or live forever in a heaven made of gumdrops and cream cheese. But there is something about a 27 year old woman, just beginning her life, her career, maybe waiting until it’s right to meet her children, dying in a car crash coming home from a movie, that just isn’t right, or fair.

Or easy to swallow. I expected to be well into my thirties before my friends started to die, but then also thought how lucky I am that none of my friends HAD died. Some had been sick, and recovered. Some lost, then found. But none gone, torn from life like this. A page ripped out that I would never be able to read.

I don’t much like regret. I feel it’s wasted. But I regret this-that I never took the time to be a better friend, to be a good person. And that the words she wrote, the thoughts she gave, I never returned.

I thought there’d be more time.

Yes, it was me.

6 Aug

In my head I am:

foolish:crazy:sad, heartbreakingly sad: devoted: angry: broken: wrong: deceitful: mean-spirited: shut-off: lonely: dire: lost, whirlygig lost: confused: pained: accosted: pried open.

Mostly, I feel alone.

All of you are here for me, I know that. But I believe I’ve done gone done something terribly horribly wrong, and I’ve lost my marriage forever. It feels broken. I’m told it can’t be fixed.

And yes Virginia, it’s my fault. For once I will admit that loudly, with no sarcasm, and no fences. I fucked myself.

I have been so proud to have had a marriage that worked, to come home to the faces of my family. But I’ve never been able to say it, not enough. I’ve never been able to appreciate the love and support I have received these many years from my husband. I’ve been able and eager to point out shortcomings. But so inept at saying “Thank you-you’ve been here for me and I love you for it.”

Does it matter now if I say it? I don’t know. I do know that I woke up yesterday knowing I was wrong. That I had somewhere, made massive mistakes, and that I wanted to fix things. In my madness, I was unable to see the goodness in front of me. And I have hurt him so very much, and I have scarred him and now I fear he’s closed off to me forever. And I do love him-I love him so much that I cry every time I utter or think the words, and think what the rest of my life could be without him. He has been my guide, my rock and my protector. And now I think I’ve lost him and I can’t bear the thought.

I am not a good person. I have taken my husband for granted, I have heaped derision upon him, I have blamed him. I have said things I did not mean to try and get at him. I have been a fucking horrible, rotten wife and now it’s time to pay the toll it seems.

I don’t know what will happen, but when I see the closed down look in his beautiful brown eyes, I truly want to die. No one is worth dying for, but I just can’t imagine living without him.

I am trying to be strong. I am trying to be positive, keep my head up. But I ache with fear. I’ve never loved anyone like I love him.

I want to change. I want to be a better person, a happier person, a person who doesn’t leap to the insult first. I know I’ve become callous and foul over the last year. I’ve been wanting to change that about me anyway. I want to be better. I want to treat him better, as he deserves.

Pere

15 Jun

I don’t say it often enough to Mogo, I don’t mention it between work and dinner and bedtime and a little time for ourselves.

Mogo, you are a fantastic father.

Many times as parents we think we need to “do” things to be good parents, that we must be teachers, musicians, artists, chefs, scientists. That every moment can be taught and made valuable. I’m one of those parents, finding a place to insert a little knowledge no matter what.

Some parents are able to ride childhood,  allow it to blossom and bloom through benevolent neglect and a pointed finger directed outside. Some parents will roll on the floor and let their children bounce on them like Tigger’s, until, inevitably, they get hurt while giggling.

Mogo is one of these parents.

He can take them to the park and let them play for an hour when I wouldn’t even make it 15 minutes. He can get down on the floor and play, setting up intricate train arrangements for the resident conductor. He brings home comics for his daughters, explaining the back stories. He makes them hamburgers whenever they ask.

I have sometimes high expectations for all of us, too high. And I forget to remind him how much his daughters eyes glow for him, and how empty this house would be if he was ever gone from it. I forget to remind him how much I love the father in him, how pure and simple this life we lead is, and how I adore it despite myself.

Happy Father’s Day Mogo.

(P.S-Mogo is also the reason that Rosalyn has, for the most part, mastered the potty this week. If that isn’t kick ass fatherhood, nothing is.)

Somedays

1 Jun

I don’t believe in luck. I believe in hard work, perseverance, dedication, harmony. Somedays, I don’t believe that happiness is a simple thing-an equation of love and contentment, divided by the lives we live.

Somedays, I don’t care. I just look ahead, and see my life, and smile.

 

 

Days like these….everything just makes sense.

The Tin and The Diamonds

18 Apr

So today is our 10th wedding anniversary.

No, I’m not really old. I married young.

10 years ago today, right about now we would have been, officially, with only one single God reference, man and wife.

I kept my name.

All things considered, we feel pretty superior about our marriage sometimes. Which isn’t to say that we don’t have our problems-like any couple, we do. But we’re proud that despite our problems, we have a strong and healthy marriage.

Sometimes we look around and wonder if people don’t split up because it’s easier. Lord knows some of what we’ve had to handle has been anything but easy. But we made a commitment to each other 10 years ago, one which many of the adults in our lives didn’t believe.

I love knowing they were wrong.

So what works?

1. He respects me. I respect him. We may not always agree, we may have different opinions, but we respect each other enough to leave well enough alone.

2. We give each other space. This one might freak him out a little more than me-I’m not a jealous person, I don’t need attention every second of the day, and I firmly believe people need their own little “world”, things to call their own. He’s come to accept, and respect, my need for a little space, which makes it easier for me to relent. Giving space is a HUGE one for me. I need my alone corner.

3. We talk. Sometimes our communication is poor-and at that point, we can tell, because things just get crappy. This has been huge with me being bipolar-it can be very easy for me to make something up and run with it. He brings me back to earth, and makes sure we talk, even if we’re then up until 2am

4. Our sex life is fantastic. Sure, we’re tired lately, and with a third person in the house, it gets weird, but when the bow-chicka-wowwow thoughts start, we’re all good. We’re at that point where we’re totally comfortable with each other. Admittedly, this took longer for me than him, but it’s so freeing! I can’t imagine losing this absolute safety in this regard. Newness has nothing on comfort. Of course, I feel strongly that great sex goes back to great communication.

5. We want the same things. Sure, some desires are divergent-I don’t get his thing for comic books, he has trouble understanding my wish to meet other bloggers, but in terms of the big things in life, we want the same simple things-a nice house to live in, a comfortable cash flow, happy children, a happy existence. Nothing fancy-just living a happy life full of warmth and ease. I could think of worse things.

6. Most importantly, we love each other. Are still in love with each other. Even after 10 years, my heart still leaps a bit when I think of him, my skin still tingles with certain thoughts. He makes me laugh, we make each other laugh. He has loved me enough to stand by me through wants for suicide, through a hospital stay, through years of undiagnosed hell. He has truly loved me enough to be strong for me when I couldn’t be. He has held me through tears, through rage, through sadness and confusion. No matter what, he has been there for me, because he loves me.

I don’t think you can ask for more than that in a partner.

I believe we’ve been successful in our marriage because we were truly friends before lovers. From the moment we met we’ve been talking-a connection made, a synergy. A bond reflected in the mobius strips on our wrists. An infinite love, even if Mogo isn’t able to put the words to it. I suppose I more than make up for it.

10 years with the same person. And I couldn’t be happier.

10 years now, bonded and branded.

18 Apr

 

cradled.

my world in brown, in dewy heady

earth we’ve buried our bodies in, the flesh of time.

 

In visions your hands are there, strong dusky mittens of

memory, the cold splash of a peach on a Sunday morning, remnants

of strawberries and cream, slithering up your palms as my belly,

full with child, our child, you brushed.

 

Arms would be cradles.

Eyes would be cradles.

Soft words at 4am buffers

bumpers, shields.

 

Love would be meaningless if given only as gestures.

 

Entwined in my heart you are-tangled like

vines in the backyard, ripe with

raspberries, or

exploding with lupins, bruised in pale blues and purples.

Your fingers dance through mine. Laughter like the rising sparrows

from your lungs to mine

echoes through these years.

 

The tin man is ours, he with no heart.

Empty we were, bereft and yet, quietly unaware.

We fill him now, we fill rooms, we fill forests and cities.

We cradle his heart in ours.

 

Happy Anniversary baby. I love you so very much.

“does bipolar go away?”

23 Feb

No. No, it doesn’t.

I don’t think that there ever was a time I didn’t have this disease in my brain. I think it was minimized, something I could control to some degree, something I could compensate for. But my extreme sensitivity as a child? My varying moods, my shyness-all things that could be normal in a child, but which seem, in hindsight, to be indicators, potentials.

Being molested by a neighbour, watching my mother slowly die over a number of years, only letting go when told there was no point anymore, trying to hold on to the splinters we called family-I can’t help but think these things, and puberty, forced the hand and took me from merely strange, to a little crazy.

I had a nasty habit of hitting things when angry. Things like thick wooden fences and concrete walls. I’d turn on friends in an instant, for no reason even I could discern. I’d shut myself off, blocking the world out for days.

I found lovely delicious drugs which liked me back.

I think most of my adolescence was spent in denial. Denying anything was wrong to any of the shrinks who saw me-pushing away anyone who might have wanted to help me.

What’s surprising is that Mogo was willing to be with the mess I was, and staying through all the late night accusations and needy MEMEME that involves so much of bipolar for me. Nothing was ever enough. I needed to be shown, I needed his love to be proved. As if staying with someone who’d sit in a bathtub running cold water when she was freaked out wasn’t proof enough.

Babies came. PPD came. My mind left.

There’s an awful sense of doom when you’re diagnosed and you realize that this is it. After years of not knowing what it was, years of Mogo saying “I think you might be manic-depressive” and me snapping “Fuck off-I’m not crazy”, years of pretending everything was ok and maintaining a life that was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, you suddenly think it will be ok. You have a reason.

But then you realize that that reason is a life sentence. You will never escape your disease. It IS you. It’s part of you, it’s formed you and in some ways, you’re at it’s mercy. You’ll take drugs for the rest of your life, and you’ll hope like hell they don’t stop working. You’re thankful that there are drugs that make you mostly normal.

Bipolar doesn’t go away. There’s no magic switch to turn on and off. There’s no secret formula to fix your brain. It just is. Cancer you can cure. You can get a new heart. Your brain? All you can do is drink a magic potion, and hope it works.

Do I wish there was a magic switch? Hells yes. I worry daily that the drugs won’t work-now that I’m on Lithium, and it works, and I can see the chaos I spawned and what the ultimate ending I was headed for I worry. Because my BPD, untreated, is a death sentence. If I was still untreated, it’s more than likely I would be dead by now. I could feel it building. It’s why the periodic feelings of “hey, swallow those pills/cut yourself” scare me so completely. Because they are still there, and I fear them. I fear that voice, and I fear, more than many things, returning to that state of living.

You don’t realize how bad those voices, those thoughts are, until they’re not there. Every day, for years, I thought of dying. Of taking my own life. Those thoughts became friends-bad friends, but friends nonetheless. They were always there.

Now, living without them is such clear bliss that I would have trouble going back to living with them in my head everyday.

I wish it would go away. I wish I didn’t have to take 4 pink pills every night. I wish I didn’t have to worry about my children, how I’m affecting them, if they’ve inherited it. I wish I didn’t have to worry about my husband, who has spent far too many days wondering where his wife went, and if she was going to survive. I wish I could say I’ll never be hospitalized ever again.

I wish, I wish….but at the end of the day, it’s not going away. So we pick ourselves up, and soldier on, hoping we stay strong, yet preparing daily for the worst.