Sunday, December 8, 2019

A post that turns dark

Sometimes if I’ve been in another room for too long Hal starts distress meowing very loudly and terrified and pitiful and I always tear into my bedroom to make sure he’s okay because he’s still a feral kitten who gets into stuff but he’s always at the foot of my bed marching back and forth like Napoleon wanting a scritch this happens at least twice a day and bog knows what he sounds like when I actually leave I keep telling him that one of these days I am going to stop falling for his trick and then if he truly does get into trouble I won’t be there to rescue him he doesn’t believe a word I say sometimes when I scritch his chest he wraps his very muscular front legs around my hand and arm and squeezes with ecstasy purring like I’m a raw salmon and it’s his his first day off a fast when those front legs and exceedingly sharp quick claws start kneading I just let him have at it because if I pull away too fast there will be blood

this morning the newscaster on a local station was talking about how to do Christmas with small children and she said instead of running around like a crazy person  and it struck me as off as insulting and it made me ask myself exactly what does that look like in fact? is that how I look when I’m depressed certainly not most days I don’t move is it what a panic attack looks like?  indeed not how about mania? PTSD? full throttle anxiety? I can’t speak to the mental illnesses that aren’t mine I have heard this expression countless times since I became self aware and since I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 and it never affected me this way in fact I use the term crazy  about myself all the time though I didn’t pay attention to it until I edited my manuscript and realized I had used it 17 times to describe myself or Henry Darger or my mother maybe that’s when my ear tuned itself to hear

I’ve been rewatching the first season of The Affair  because because it deals so honestly with the aftermath of the death of a child what happens to the parents what happens to the family structure what happens to faith how everything breaks apart and not a single structure mental emotional or physical is left standing I have my own family and the death of my sister Lark who died at three from drinking weed killer as a powerful lens and my entire manuscript was my way of digging backward to find out what happened

what happened

I’ll never really know the truth of it just the family version or versions of it the history and fable of it my mother’s and my father’s stories that warped and changed with each telling and the terrible truth of my brother and me barely old enough to know what we were looking at passing Lark’s pink baby book back and forth to each other trying to crush her molecules into our already troubled and damaged bodies the birthday cards then the obituary and sympathy cards this memory is real though over the years I’ve come to doubt it at times I know it’s real because that baby book came back to me after my mother’s death along with the missing photos of my brother and Lark and me as children photos I never saw or only dreamed seeing I kept Lark’s obituary and our childhood photos and nothing else the stink of death and grief was too deep and rotted into its water stained satin cover it is gone

my book my manuscript helped me dig through the ashes of that tragedy and answer the questions to satisfy myself and my life I was never able to answer the why of how my mother treated us but I came close as close as I will ever come to finding an understanding of her rage and grief and of my father’s terrible distance from me

I dedicated the book to Lark but it is indeed for all the missing children and to all the families who live through this



Blogger Ms. Moon said...

Oh, Hal! He is royalty and love.
Anytime I start watching something and children are put in peril I have to stop. I can't, I can't, I can't.
And I cannot imagine what your sister's death (Lark- say her name) did to the very atoms of your being, of your brother's.
I suppose that if I am honest, my own mother's loss of a stillborn baby affected her forever. And then of course, all of us who came afterward.
I'm sorry Rebecca for all of the sorrow and rage and grief and for the little pink baby book and for everything that took your parents away from you, or at least their love, their ability to love truly, for whatever dark forces it was that caused your mother to turn what should have been one thing into something so horrible.

I love you. I love your spirit which is stronger than the darkness ever will be.

December 8, 2019 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Radish King said...


December 8, 2019 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

This is so very beautiful. I have many friends who've lost a child and each grieves in not "ways" but forever. I do not know that grief, although I feel sometimes I lost a baby that I once had and everything that followed was the result.

December 8, 2019 at 5:23 PM  
Blogger Radish King said...

Elizabeth I feel your grief as large and real as a planet. Thank you and love.

December 8, 2019 at 5:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home