on crying

sometimes the crying doesn’t free you,

but leaves you drowned in the sorrows of the heart.

Gathered, a deep river of pain, your head under it,

only the moments of gasps, keep you alive

 

(a journey of grief…a month down the line)

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On Grief

grief is a vicious animal
attacks unexpectantly ,with sharp fangs and skin-tearing claws
constantly alert, he comes at any time
3am , 4, 10pm, midday
surprise is his game
he leaves his victim maimed, not doing the honourable thing
leaving her gasping as blood drenched breaths try escape suffocating lungs snd a heart so squished up, it’s rhythms have lost any sense of a beat
grief has no redeeming features
it cares little for the life you once had
or the life you hoped to live
it does not even look you in the eye when it attacks
and yet after ravaging you
finally makes eye contact
and you know you are in hell
in a prison you can’t escape
with grief the gatekeeper

for now

100% you

there is a beautiful quote but I cannot remember who said it, nor its exact words but the gist of it is this:

“I trust everyone 100 percent to be who they are, and not necessariy who I want them to be”

It’s beautiful. It gives me empaghy for everyone. And gratitude for those who play the parts they do that are not always ones that endear them to others.

It allows me, also, to be more grateful to to the man at the morgue. he was just playing his part.

PS: If you know the correct quote I would love to have it. Thank you so much

 

the man at the morgue

wrong information

again

you give me

i stand in beating sun

a snake like line at Home Affairs

A beautiful stranger comforts me when she hears I am here about a death

I race Back to you, to be able to go and identify Him

No, you made a mistake, you tell me “I meant you should have these documents”. I go back and phone you while in queue again.

Just to make sure I heard you right. No you say, the certfied documents are enough in fact, come back.

I leave the queue.

I drive back. five hours have gone since I have tried to identify the body of my nephew, the child I love.

I return. Oops you say I actually do need to go back to home affairs. Law’s changed a few days ago and no one told you.

I am so shattered. all i want to do is identify Him, I start to cry and ask you why you are doing this to me?

You tell me to go home and come back tomorrow when I am calm.

I will never be calm, I have lost my north, south, east west, dont you understand, i shout

your boss intervenes. We’ll keep the morgue open later for you so you can stil do this today.

I go to Home affairs again.

The queue again.

Front of line. You’ll have to come back tomorrow, we’ve run out of paper.

Is this my resistance to the fact that my nephew has died? WHy cant it be smooth? Why cant i do this simple task? They see my desperation and somehow paper appears.

Finally 5.30pm I am in the morgue again

WHy did you talk like that to me in front of my boss, you, the man at the morgue demands

Dont shout at me, I say.

I havent even started shouting , you tell me.

I look at you,  and wonder where you lost your compassion, where you lost your empathy, at what point. I tell you  “I am very traumatised, I dont remember even what I said.” A part of me just wants to placate you . My nephew’s body is in your care. you have the power.

you start telling me about your two ex wives.

I listen but I am not there.

Finally a kind faced man arrives.

He will take me to see my nephew’s body.

I take a final sip of water…

And follow him,

i don’t look back to see your face. i hope i will never see it again

Goodbye

I drove in the hearse, one hand on my nephew’s coffin. all wrapped up in hessian , masking tape slashed  across the top and bottom, black capitals His Name with it’s missing T. he hated the missing t, even that made him different.

J, Driver of hearse and picker upper of me and my nephew from the airport to take his body home,. a grey hearse. two suitcases, one His, I had packed a few days before, one mine, nudged next to the coffin that held Him

finally on the open road. looking for signs , they’re everywhere.

a rainbow, rays breaking through clouds .

driver says he had met my nephew once, they’re similar ages. 23.  he’d wanted to do the funeral , coz he’d liked Him..

once you’ve seen someone dress a dead person you’ll always know how to do it. he tells me. shower, wash their hair . ‘we like to keep the bodies natural looking so we don’t do make up’ he says. I stare out the window. We’re getting closer to home. I ask if he has any music .

only a cd with one song he says: it’s time to say goodbye. He loved music, my nephew, I ask j to rather turn on the radio. david bowies heroes starts playing. we put the sound high up, “we can be heroes for just one day” blaring from the grey hearse, my hand on my nephew’s casket, and as we drive into our old hometown, the rain starts falling hard. I still haven’t cried.

in my mind He is five years old and He’s holding my hand, dimple smile and ruby red lips, he’s looking up at me with cheeky eyes, and I’m smiling back at him.

It’s just that this time

I am never going to let go of that hand….

RIP my hero, my nephew xxx

keeping the story alive

in a far far far away land, much further than any you can see, in a place called The Sad Side lived a fiery monster call RAmon. RAmon was the colour of an emerald green sea, and he had black speckles, but this is all hearsay…because no one has ever met RAmon.

He is legend in the land where I live.

For decades or as far back as the last living person in my land can remember, no one would dare venture close to him. ANd those who had, had vanished forever.

At night time when we sleep we can hear his raging fiersome growls throughout the night.

It sends shivers down my spine, and often i fear that RAmon wil come down to the Light Side, where I live. BUt over the years he has stayed on his side of things.

Then it came to be that one night RAmon’s roars sounded just like whimpers to me and all of on our land.

But an old man in the village recalled what had happned the last time in his greatgrandfather’s time when RAmon had stopped terrosising the village. One brave man had ventured to the sad side and had never been seen again.

SO this time no one wanted to go over to the other side when night after night we heard RAmon’s whimpering. He is trying to trick us, we won’t be fooled. In fact if you look at the calendar it was around this time a century ago that the same thing happened.
And so no one budged.

Far far far away in The Sad Side RAmon was struggling to move. At night he tried to keep up the roaring to keep thevillagers away, but he knew he was not sounding good. a fortnight before as he was scrambling up a mountain he had fallen, older these days the recovery – if there was to be any – was not fast.
he was in extreme pain, and his cut leg was oozing a venomous looking liquid.

RAmon was alarmed one day when he heard a voice calling out his name. It was a female’s voice, in fact it was mine.

‘RAmon, RAmon, where are you? I can hear you are in pain, let me help you.’

In all his effort RAmon still tried to frighten me away, blowing a small fire my way but it was weak, and i could see in its light that RAmon was old and suffering. I came closer.
‘RAmon let me help you. My name is Clarice, I am from the Light Side, let me take you over.’
No, no, no he said. he refused to let me take him there, so I stayed, and i nursed him, putting salve on his wound and daily making him a broth my mother had taught me to make to help heal the sick when i was a child, before she had died. ANd as the days turned to weeks, turned to months I started to forget about The Light Side so much was my need to fix RAmon. And soon he became all i could think about. I stopped rushing back to the Light Side come sunset and just stayed with him. I no longer cared what story the villagers made up. No one would have believed it if I told them I had met RAmon and he was a good man.

I suppose you could say RAmon and I fell in love He told me of the lonely nights he had endured but how he could never go back to the Light Side where he had come from because he was afraid of being turned away. ANd so he stayed here.

We exchanged stories and spent many nights talking until the wee hours. I told him my story, how as a young girl i was orphaned and had always felt something was missing in my life. How finding him had in a way given me a reason…
.
And then one day i went to fetch herbs to make him the broth he had come to love and on my return i found him there. lyng on his side, Dead. he had died waiting for me, alone, like most his life had been.
The pain was insurmountable. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed as I touched his body. ‘My RAmon, My RAmon.’

and in between the sobbing a roar came out, I hadnt meant for it to. But I was angry that he was gne, and i was sad and i was cold, and RAmon was dead, and the roar came out so loud it even frightened me.
ANd i roared and I roared and i roared. and it began to feel good.

Meanhwhile back in my land, the villagers were relieved to hear the roar again. ‘You see I told you he was just trying to make us feel at ease, so that he could entice us there. he already got clarice, i am glad no one else went there.’ they said.

and so everything felt back in equilibrium for the villagers asthe roars that once terrified them lulled them to sleep. They had managed, in their heads, to keep the story just as it had always been.

And yet it wasn’t all as it had been and it wasn’t all okay. they were short one, and that one had gone to the Sad Side and like RAmon, who was once Jesite, who lived and was loved on the Light Side, and all the men and women before him…this one also wasn’t coming back….

transplanted love

6am. ‘DOn’t look so worried I’m going to be okay’

6.30.’ LOve you’ our eyes connect. I leave to give him time with his parents and girlfriend

7am. Huddled on couch outside surgery

8am. The psychologist/social worker arrives to talk to us. “they’ve started opening him up”

9am. She’s back. “they are still busy opening his sternum and chest. It’s the toughest part of the operation because he has a lot of scar tissue.”

10am.  I go get some tea for my brother, his wife, mathew’s girlfriend and his friend.

10.30 A family friend who hasn’t left our side comes to visit and we have a chat. The distraction helps.

11.15. Man with a red bag over his shoulder. human parts in white written up.

11.45 two men with red and white cases Human blood emblazoned on it. He’s losing a lot of blood, we hear.

11.50 “They are clamping the hearts”

11.52 WHat does that mean. Is the body of the donor next to matthew? No the heart has been brought in, she says. I think of the donor’s family. In that moment i send so much strength to them. i think of the doctors around my nephew as the transplant is happening. i think of the transplant co-ordinators. ANd i look next to me, and there is my brother, and i see him as a young boy and now decades later outside this surgery room praying for his son. nothing prepared us for this when we were growing up.

12.11 she comes back. “I have some great news, the heart has had its first beat on its own, unassisted…Matt’s new heart is beating all on its own in his chest..

we look at each other, tears well up. the moment lingers, stretched out, all of us suspended in these sweet words.

Then the moment’s gone and We all start sms’ing our family, our parents, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters, so far from us, in another city, to tell them the news. and the sms’s start coming back

hallelujah

YAY

thank God

Yes yes yes

He is a lion

Oh thank you thank you, God is great

YES!

and finally we start exhaling. and my brother says let’s prAy. and we hold each others hands, the five of us, my brother, my dearest sister-in-law, matt’s girlfriend and his friend, and me, and we pray in our own different ways, connected together by our humanness, and pain, by the genetic code that has bonded us forever but mostly by our love

for

matthew