Friday, 8 May 2015

The Other Side of the Story

I have had writer's block.  Frustrating times where I can’t seem to find an interesting idea or coherent plan.  I stare at the screen.  I surf the internet for stuff I don’t need.  I organize the sock drawer.  I procrastinate. 

But niggling in the back of my brain is a voice reminding me of the reason for my block.  I know it, and I choose ignore it.  It’s that voice reminding me that there are things I really want to write about, but am afraid of facing.  Afraid of seeing as black and white text and of it all leaving me to travel over the electronic space to other people who will read it.  Afraid that all that makes it more real.   So I don’t write it, but consequently I grind to a halt.  The voice gets louder and I start to argue back like a teenager, saying, ‘I KNOW! I’ll do it when I’m ready!’

Through all of this, a passage I remember reading about group therapy in a book by Yalom keeps coming to mind.  Something about, if the group isn't talking about what’s important, then nothing gets talked about.  He doesn't mean that nothing is said and groups sit through their time in silence, but that they go about chattering worthless, meaningless words.  I admit that many, many of my blogs are like that.  Chattering about nothing, trying to put a happy spin and find a sort of circuit for completion.  But life isn’t really like that all the time. 

So I sit here now to write about the other side of the story.

It’s been almost 3 and a half years since Ethan came into my life.  And 3 and half years since his brother Noah died.  I must share with you that I cry most days.  Although it feels an improvement from crying every single day, I realize it is a sign that this pain doesn’t really ever go away.  And I wonder sometimes, if it’s becoming somewhat of a friend of mine.  A constant companion.  A sort of shadow against the sunshine of everyday life.  It’s so hard to describe, but life is a wonderful, bursting bright ray of sunshine from the moment I wake up to Ethan’s beautiful face, through the day of 3 year old ups-and-downs and straight to the snugly bedtime kisses, I am amazed that such a sweet, amazing person came into my life.  And I am happy to just be near him.  Yet, without taking away one ounce of his glittering wonderfulness, I feel depths of sadness – just like shadows seem darker on the brightest of days.  It’s almost as though when Ethan’s beauty strikes me most, I also feel the most grief.  For Noah, who should be here, and who would have been just as beautiful a person as Ethan. 

It screws with my mind a lot.  I think maybe I didn’t deserve to be that happy.  I still imagine ways to get him back.  I still dream as though he’s here.  I’ve wanted to still be pregnant with him, holding him inside – safe from harm – forever.  And it takes my imagination to all the other terrible, horrific things that I cannot provide protection from for Ethan.  Illnesses, bullying, tragedies, sadness, failures.  Normal, everyday difficulties people face, but I am also beset by paranoia that people will break in and kill us, we might die from carbon monoxide poisoning in the night or that I’ll lose him and Thom in a car crash.  So deeply has the unexpected, unjust loss of Noah punctuated my life, that I have turned into a catastrophic worrier.  I’m practising with letting these ideas go and not letting fear get in the way of life, but it is just that – a constant practice.  Sometimes it goes well, and others not so much. 

Listening to that voice, and breaking my writers block silence, is a step in that, I suppose.  Thom also recently helped with another step.  I cannot have my babies safely tucked inside for eternity, for obvious reasons, but also it would not be fair to deny them their lives, no matter how short or how difficult they might be.  And even though I let them go, they are part of me forever, inexplicably but certainly.  To symbolize this and to bring some closure, Thom carefully made ink from some of Noah’s ashes and tattooed me.  It doesn’t change situations or my feelings, but it reminds me that he is part of me, as much as my own cells and skin and blood.  It’s a symbol to last me forever – or at least as long as I last. 

So there it’s out there –real and raw.  I hope that the electronic world and readers don’t find my sadness a turn off.  And I hope that facing fear means less writer’s block.