Friday, 14 February 2014

Kind of a year in, on good days when lots is going on, it kind of feels like:

I lost something big, or small, something crucial, but I can't remember what or when or how.
And importantly, like I don't know how to get it back.

Like my tummy is empty, but no, it's not my tummy, and it's not food that'll fill it.

Empty, and lost, still.

Maybe I always felt this way, but now I have a good excuse.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Letter to my Father

Dear Papa

I miss you.

It's Mum's birthday today, and I'm away in England.

I'm writing this on my office table.  The one I was sitting at when we talked for the last time on the phone.   We've changed the room now so the table doesn't look out of the window.  It now faces the wall, so the window is behind us.  It was too glare-y the other way.

The Man and I sit together at the table when I work at home.  It's cramped, but cozy and I love being near him.

My book is still not out, nor my paper.  I'm still working on both though.

Winter is turning into spring. The small cherry (or almond?) tree in the town center is always the first to burst into bloom every year, and this week, it has.  The moon is a hazy smile, waxing in a dark blue sky.

I think of you so much off late.  I wonder if you can hear me, if you can hear me calling you in my heart. Yesterday I woke up in the middle of the night, shortly after falling asleep.  I thought: If I fall asleep at once, Papa will come to me.
Then I shrugged it off and turned around and couldn't fall asleep and I guess that was the end of that.
Are you trying to reach me, Papa?
I'm trying to reach you.

Can you hear me?

I love you so much.


Saturday, 1 February 2014


Months and months of just nothing much.
Tasks and lists, and getting the veg bag every week and wondering about deadlines. Will I get that job, will I want it if I got it? Boredom. A movie, coffees out. Plane ride home, plane ride back.
On and on, round and round the mulberry bush.
Straight face, flatlining.
That's what grief does.
It does not wail, or scream, or howl or screech. That's life, that's awakening, birthing, bleeding. Those    Things screech and howl.
Grief is the empty nothing that has nothing to tell.

EXPRESS YOURSELF!!! our culture shouts.

But grief cannot be 'expressed', or 'let out'.
It just is. A quiet, enormous, aching flatline. And rather boring, actually. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Deep Freeze

For the first time since my arrival in England 7 years ago, I find myself aching for winter. The cold, the blankness, the silence. Trees asleep in white woodlands, punctuated by ravens, by the soft swish of falling snow. Deep, quiet nights. Storms. I ache for storms, and then silence.
This year, I will put my arms out of the window in the first winter storm. Then I will walk under the trees in the quiet after.
No 'winter landscape with robin', this year. Sickening. No fireside, no mugs of hot chocolate.
Come winters past, I began to dream of red scarves and fur hats and the smell of burning wood. Pine cones, and log cabins and ice-skating at the Natural History Museum in London. Fairy lights and starry nights. My friend and I would make apple pie and Christmas cookies. We'd spend evenings writing indoors, watching the mist gathering outside. Outer and inner would merge: As autumn danced on, my make-up turned copper, then brown.

This year, it is gunmetal and black. My new coat is black. My three new dresses, my hair, my new eyeshadow, my new diary, my pens.

This year, it's dark feathers and ice. Bare branches, and grey skies, and the silent, knowing winter. White, and black, and wild.

Monday, 26 August 2013

My sadness comes over me suddenly. One minute I'm asleep, the next I'm awake for no reason, disturbed and anxious. I get out of bed, make a cup of coffee. The light is changing outside. Perhaps I'll go for a walk, I say to myself.  I creep out of our bedroom, not wanting to wake the man.
But no, my body doesn't want to go for a walk. I sit on our couch, and curl up with a cup of coffee, watching the light change. The house is quiet, there's a bird chirping outside. And suddenly, it's quiet and private enough to cry.

I miss my Dad, I feel his absence, I feel my need for him, and I feel my sadness at thinking that throughout our time together, something separated us.  Something I can't explain or pinpoint. He was a great Dad. He was actively a great Dad, right up to the time he was physically unable to speak or open his eyes. He always sensed my moods and needs, struck the right balance between support and teaching me independence, was a strong, guiding presence in my life. So why, why did I feel this way so much?

I don't know. But the fact that I did - and still do - really kills me.  I wish, so very hard, that it was different. That it could still be different.

The light moves from blue to grey, the sky turns, and all of a sudden, it doesn't feel quiet enough to cry anymore. I put my coffee cup away, come upstairs, and start to work.   

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Guilt is a fearsome enemy.
I used to wrestle the idea that if I am feeling guilty about something, I should simply change my actions.

But here's the thing.  I find myself now wrestling with my guilt rather than changing my actions.
It's a stubborn thing, and I sense it runs deeper and stronger than I even know.
I know that answering its every heartless call affirms my goodness and braveness and strength.  I can be guilted into being a golden child, a care-taker, a healer, a martyr.  But I am not happy, and I feel like a phony.
Of course, I love my Mum and want to help her at this time in our lives.  But my guilt whispers injunctions that go beyond 'help' and tend towards 'rescue', 'save' and 'redeem'.  It whispers that I should have thrown up my life in England and moved back to India.  It whispers that I should consider doing this.  It whispers that terrible things will happen to me if I don't - I'll lose my health, I'll regret it, I won't prosper, I'll regret it.
It's never a happy voice, beckoning towards the higher path. It's a slave-driver with a pitchfork to my back, driving me.
And that is why I feel the urge to fight it, and I think having made this distinction, I have a way forward. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

I wanted to link to this post by the beautiful Claire Bidwell Smith. 

Claire writes about her life in California with her family, and I've been following her blogs for many years. She lost her parents young, to illness, and so when I first came across her writing, I felt ... that feeling you feel when for an instant, you don't feel alone (except of course, I still have my Mother!) 

The last lines of her post made me cry. She writes (in a letter to her daughters): 

"If there’s ever a moment in your life when you’re feeling unsure of who you are, take a little journey like this one and you’re sure to remember.
I think that’s one of the bravest things you can really do in life. Remember who you are."
How beautiful, and so true. 
I think I will take a "little journey" too, very soon, and do what I ache to do - remember who I am, behind, under and above all the pain and sadness of the last few months. If there is anything left of that person, I think she will come out to say hello if I am alone, under a tree, with nothing but a landscape and the weather for company. 
Yes. I think I will :)