This morning, as I inhaled a cloud of pain and breathed it out again and said No, I will change my life, I will not let the cloaks of recent events take me down, and I rang the electricity board, and I unpacked my new mini laptop and prepared for the launderette, I got a phone call. It was the phone call. The one I’ve waited for two years. Perhaps.
Mum has been rushed into hospital again today, this time with breathing difficulties. But she went to sleep and didn’t come out of that, and now we’re all playing the waiting game again to see if it’s another stroke, the one that’ll finally take her, if she’s finally able to swim to freedom, away from tubes and machines and the same view of squirrels and daffodils from her bedroom window.
Today, for the first time in my life, I lost the power of speech. I'm a good communicator. But today, my brain shut itself down, and the world span backwards, and my mouth no longer said the words I wanted to say. I slurred my way through this afternoon, this evening, a personality I no longer recognised, in a world all too familiar. That blurry world. Where walking forward feels like going backwards, where I blink an eye and am filled with terror. Where I suddenly notice the moonlit sky or the glassy sea-water and I feel like heaven is exploding right inside of me.
I am used to being split open. I even get accustomed to it even, and find joy in what I discover inside - the hidden jewels, the rapture of knowing what really matters in this life, behind the masks and the craving, the need and the games. I can hold it in my hands for an instant and know it’s worth everything.
As I cycled slow as a snail towards the Meeting Place today, I saw a little girl with her dad on Hove lawns, just learning to walk. She turned as she marched with wobbling legs away from her father, her face lit with an incredible radiance - sheer exhilaration, unadulterated joy coming into being. It's hard to accept, but true nevertheless, that what lies behind that little girl’s smile is the same as what lies behind my Mum’s closed eyelids, and what will take her, if not now, sometime soon, away from me forever.
What a magnificent beauty of a terror for us all to live with. It makes me want to love all the harder, dance all the more fiercely, hold what’s precious in the palm of my hand and never malign it. Then it makes me want to crawl under a bush and stay there forever. We are idiots, and that makes us all the more human. We throw away the best things in life and usually we learn the hard way.
I hope I'm learning. One day I will finally no longer call myself a victim. One day, maybe tomorrow, I will reach out and see all this is my making, not my breaking. And that forgiveness is always, always, already there, at every turn.