We cannot let go of the pain, we have to carry it with us forever. That is what it means to live.

Cover of "Triage"

Cover of Triage

I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie. It’s called Triage, and is about a photojournalist going to Kurdistan, to work. He and his best friend go together, on a quite horrible trip to the war zone. When he gets back, something is not quite right, and eventually, he meets the grandfather of his wife, who has dealt with this kind of trouble before.

‘We cannot let go of the pain, we have to carry it with us forever. That is what it means to live’, he says. ‘Now, I can help you to live with this pain’.

And he does. It is a very tough and touching movie. Recommend it!

Listening to that wise old man saying this, made me think. I actually wanted to play back to find the correct words, but found it on the web instead.

What is done, is done. We always carry our experiences with us somehow. Sometimes we expect too much of friends and others we are around every day. We expect understanding, forgiveness maybe, compassion, but so many times, we find ourselves alone with our feelings and hurt.

What you can change is the way to cope with those feelings. It happened. How many more years is going to be spent inside those feelings, so alone?

I have written before about flashbacks and PTSD, and all the other dreadful things that follow. I’m not sure if I can ever live (happily ever after) without expecting flashbacks to reappear. If what it takes is ‘to live with this pain’, it’s ok. I’ll be fine. I’ve found a way to make it less painful.

I cannot make it undone, however hard I should try.

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Death as routine?

Gravestone of William Butler Yeats, Poet and S...

Yeats, Poet and Statesman, at Drumcliffe, County Sligo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We had a discussion about family and stuff last night, my youngest daughter (she’s 21) and me. Our family has had so many funerals to go to. We talked about how this one is just another one to be arranged. And that’s it, sort of.

She made a list.
Grandma
Uncle H
Grand uncle R
Grand aunt A
Step grandma
One friend
Friend of boyfriend
Best friends mother
Step-grandma #2

My list:
Aunt H
Mum
Grandpa
Grandma
Grandpa (mums side of the family)
Grandma (mums side of the family)
My father
Uncle S
Father-in-law
Aunt A
Brother in law H (we never had much contact though)
Good friend O
Mother –in- law
Uncle R
Step mother
Mother-in-law #2
Aunt M

That’s 17 during my 48 years. No wonder funerals are getting to be routine.

We do remember them, all of us who are still here.

I feel just empty inside, thinking about it. And the pain  I  endured, sort of makes it impossible to grieve. Or maybe it is something else. It might be that it has never been good, my family. It has been hurt, pain, loss, and so many other of those bad bad feelings. Have I ever felt loved by the ones in the generation before me? I don’t know, I won’t dwell on it right now anyway.

Here’s to them all. Honour, respect, acknowledgement. You probably did your best, and if you didn’t, well, you might not have known better. I hope you live life to the fullest. All of you but one.

Those dancing days are over
Come, let me sing into your ear;
Those dancing days are gone,
All that silk and satin gear;
Crouch upon a stone,
Wrapping that foul body up
In as foul a rag:
I carry the sun in a golden cup.
The moon in a silver bag.

Curse as you may I sing it through;
What matter if the knave
That the most could pleasure you,
The children that he gave,
Are somewhere sleeping like a top
Under a marble flag?
I carry the sun in a golden cup.
The moon in a silver bag.

I thought it out this very day.
Noon upon the clock,
A man may put pretence away
Who leans upon a stick,
May sing, and sing until he drop,
Whether to maid or hag:
I carry the sun in a golden cup,
The moon in a silver bag.

William Butler Yeats

Another death in the family

She was old, my aunt, she was  94. Born in the last year of WW1. Second oldest of seven, four girls and three boys. Every one of them went away to study, engineering, chemistry, this one, she studied to be a teacher. Later on she got to be a special eds teacher, one of few. She worked at the same school for more than 40 years.

She never married, and she lived in the house next door. She looked after her old parents, they lived there too.

Yesterday she died, she had been in and out since the weekend, and there was no drama.

I am not sure when I saw her last. For the last ten years, she’s been demented, talking about the war… Mixing our names together, and been ill, so many times.

I don’t really feel anything.

Its not like I am suppressing any feelings, and there is no shock. No loss, no sorrow. A bit relieved, she was tired. I remember her talking about dying, I guess tomorrow, when we get together to plan the funeral, we will find that she probably made plans. Twenty years ago…

I don’t look forward to the funeral, the family (again) and all the stuff we have to do. It is me and my brother and sister who has to do it all. We just did this… four years ago. There has been so many deaths in my family, we are used to it. That sounds terrible. I know.

Some colour to brighten up your day?

Can you remember opening a brand new box of crayons? I can. I would just look at them, see how the different shades of red shifted into pink or orange, and then to yellow. My brother would just throw them all in a big cake tin we had. Mix the old ones together with the new ones. I could never do that. I would keep them in the exact same place in the original box, and open and close carefully, so that it wouldn’t get torn.

If it was a big box, I would perhaps make a small dot, marking the specific spot for each of the crayons. So that they would get back where they belong.

Amazing how colours can affect your mood. Black is for sorrow, white means clean, orange (my favourite) is energy, red is both love and affection, blue… well blue.

Don’t know why yellow got such a bad rumour, at least in my country, it means cowards, and green is new. Sometimes in a negative context.

I had to think about colours today… Feeling a bit down, as one of my aunts are very poorly. There are only two of my father’s siblings left, living here in my town. This is not the one who attended the summer party, though considering the amount of wine an 89 year old women can pour down, she probably felt rather… blue… the day after. This is about the oldest one, and the way it looks now, she won’t see much of the summer coming up. They told me she might die anytime. But they have said that before… So I don’t know. She is 94. We haven’t spoken for years, I have some problems dealing with his family, and so I just don’t. This is where I should probably investigate my feelings on forgiveness. Someone did know, maybe not to what extent wrong things happened in the old house with the large garden, but I can’t help thinking that someone could have done something. She was the next door neighbour.

My youngest daughter told me that when they were kids, I had a really large box with crayons, watercolours, felt tip pens and colour pencils. She remembered it as a lovely childhood memory. She might be a bit like me, that one!

Update:
Just as I was publishing this, my old aunt died. How strange is that?

It goes in the family…

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. Buddha

English: Chicken wings being cooked slowly ove...

Burnt emotions? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is a bit difficult for me. I have invited the whole family on a summer party. My oldest girl is 25, her oldest son is four. My family, that’s my brother and his family, my sister couldn’t make it, but her family is coming, one old aunt, and my girls and their boyfriends and families. All in all, about 20…

We are having a barbeque, I think. Maybe the weather will be good too? I will probably have some wine. My brother will definitely get drunk, and so will many of the others too.

Don’t have a problem with that.

My brother and sister had a hard time growing up too. And we never talk about it. At some very late night parties, my brother has asked me stuff, but we don’t talk. I told my sister what had happened, or, I indicated that my childhood was not just cuddly bears and cute pink things. That was last October, on a trip to New York. Of course I had had a glass too much to drink, so had she. Since then, we have not talked. I met her at Christmas, we live in the same town.

Thinking all these hard feelings we have had, has been passed on to the next generation. Eight now grown up kids, some carrying loads of luggage, three small children in the generation after that. None of us ever learned to be parents. We all have scars.

And the old aunt, soon to be 90. She must know, or remember. Or maybe have her own story.

It’s a good thing we are used to keep our feelings to ourselves. Imaging stirring in this?

I think my motto for the day is to share my good things and happiness (I’ll try) and leave all the other items.

Maybe I am a coward. But I can’t deal with everybody else’s trouble as well as my own. I love them all though!

Me and all the others

child abuse

Child abuse (Photo credit: Southworth Sailor)

I am different. Aren’t we all… I thought about that today, that feeling. Nobody can understand me, because I am different from them, the others.
It was something I read about helping young people with addictions, that got the thinking going.
We seem to think that we are unique. And I am, but there are not six billions different personality types. Something must be similar other then the fact that all humans have a mind.
When I was a child, I defined my whole being, on the “different” part. I saw people being happy, but had problems relating it to my existence. Of course I had moments of happiness, breaks, Christmas, my secret places. But I saw families and other children with lives so different from my own.
I guess that was what made the distance so enormous. When others tried to get near me, I’d back off. I was so different that the idea of being like them was a concept impossible to understand. The idea that someone could help, wasn’t there at all. For me as a  child. Guess I am growing up now.
Following this was the understanding that nothing could change. I was stuck (as the only one in the world) in my situation, with negligence and abuse, and a life outside of the ordinary.
I was way out. When I sort of cleaned up, and got my life together, I used patterns and behaviour I had watched and learned. I did what people expected me to. I hid away the abused child, and what had been me. Put it in a huge locked box and threw away the key. And for some years, I was probably nobody… Well, I know that’s not possible.
I guess over the years I have found me again, and started working out how my experience has shaped me, and my life.
Sometimes I am very strong, feel like I know what I am doing, and love my life. Sometimes I feel very scared about what has been, scared of those feelings that sort of can take over my whole being.
Sometimes I am just scared. But I’m not all that different anymore.

Related:
The end of childhood as a Horror movie 

How are things at home

I dont know if I miss my mother

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember, when other children would ask me, I’d refer to her as ”my mother”. Other children had mums, or mamas, and I talked about her as ”my mother”. When she was alive, I said mum, at least until she went away to hospital, and I didn’t get to see her again. I’d say “my mother” is ill, instead of calling her mum. Something inside me must have known how to keep a distance. Like putting her in a different place, outside and away from me. Maybe I knew she was going to die, even though no one told me. Maybe someone did tell me, and I erased that information from my mind too, didn’t want to know, couldn’t cope with the truth. I was six when she got cancer, seven when she died.

Many mother-daughter things were never done. We never went for a walk in the woods or on the beach. We never went shopping. I can’t remember her buying me things, though she must have. Not sure. I can’t remember staring in a toy store window wanting just THAT doll, and get it.

She never got to help me with homework, or tell me I looked nice before school. Or make my school lunch. All my birthdays before I got to ten, at least, are forgotten. Not one cake, not one present, not one party. I have a recipe for a chocolate cake that taste like something I might remember. Not sure.

I don’t think I miss my mother.

I am not even sure if I miss mother-daughter stuff, my whole childhood got so messed up. I know I miss feeling loved.

I know I miss not having learnt to be a mother myself. Babies don’t come with instructions, and you never get a second chance.