Broken Shards

grief

I expected the world to stop.

I expected the world to pause…to take a collective breath…to notice.

In that moment, right at that very moment, I expected there to be some sort of acknowledgement from the universe that you had gone.

But there was none.

We, who witnessed you stepping into heaven, knew you had left this mortal coil, knew that you had walked into eternity, knew that you had left your frail mortality behind, but there was no acknowledgement from the universe, no shudder from the world that it had lost one of it’s souls, no pause to notice that we had lost a bright light, a shining star, a gentle heart.

My heart still beats, my lungs breathe, my eyes blink…shouldn’t something have changed?  Shouldn’t there be some sort of outward appearance that part of my heart is gone?  Shouldn’t there be a mark on me to tell others that we, the world, have lost a precious soul?  Shouldn’t the world mourn?

But the world still turns.  People go about their daily lives, unaware.

I stand apart, the world a blur of movement around me, and I ask why.  Why does life go on around me?  Shouldn’t it just stop?

I feel like I am moving through honey, the world around me in hyper drive while I struggle against the resistance.  Sounds come from far away, muffled.  I am cocooned, my life seemingly out of time and space, drifting, unable to find purchase, unable to find stability and unable to care.

I expected the world to stop, just for a little while, just so I could find my feet, just so I could come to terms with living without you.

But it didn’t.

And so life goes on…without you.

And I am trying to keep up, trying to keep my head above water, trying to do what the world expects me to do while inside I am breaking.  Inside I am a mess of smashed dreams, shattered wishes and fractured hopes and every movement causes me to brush up against those broken shards and the pain is renewed, relived.

I expected the world to stop, just for a moment.  I expected the universe to pause, to make an adjustment, to prepare itself for life without you.

Because how can this world keep turning when you are not in it?

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Short Scenes: Touch

This is the first post in a series of posts of short descriptive scenes using a particular theme. The theme for this series is 5 Senses and this post is about the sense of Touch

The cool, salt laden breeze caressed her skin as she stood on the boardwalk watching the sun set over the ocean. It was a nice contrast to the prickly heat of the day and her skin shivered deliciously as it cooled. She closed her eyes and let the gusts twine around her, lifting her thick curls from her neck and brushing her damp nape with its refreshing fingers. It played with her dark hair, gently tossing it around her face, the stray tendrils tickling her nose and grazing her cheek. She laughed with delight at its playfulness and revelled in the kiss of it against her bare flesh. The scratchy wooden railing bit into her hands as she gripped it and leant back, stretching her arms and throwing her head back to the sky. She made a picture with her upturned face and gently arched back as the last rays of the sun roved over her, setting her golden skin aglow for just a moment. She felt the magic of those dying rays like the parting touch of a lover and the heat of it radiated through her before it was gone and the sea breeze once again wrapped its gentle arms around her. With her eyes still closed, she could feel the moment the sun finally slid below the horizon. Like a soft blanket being thrown over her, dusk settled around her and she felt the beginnings of the night nudge timidly against her. Her skin rippled with the change and she sighed with contentment. She loved the hot summer days, the way her skin warmed and glistened with sweat, but this is what she loved most about the season. Those first few minutes of twilight when the wind turned cool and prickled her skin, when the eternal struggle of day and night found common ground and shared the day for just a moment.

I would love to read your Short Scenes just link to this post and use the tag Short Scenes

I Am Undone

panic

This is a raw collection of emotions and grief and the fallout from a specifically severe panic attack.

Shortness of breath
Heart racing, pounding like it is going to jump out of your chest
Nausea churning in your guts
Shaking, uncontrollable shaking
Restlessness
Impending doom
The overwhelming desire to run away, disappear…die

I have always suffered with anxiety.
From a very young age it controlled my life.
I learned, eventually, how to control it.
I had to, otherwise I wouldn’t have the life I do today.
I have strategies and processes to help me.
They became second nature to me and I began to feel confident, self assured.
And then Tuesday happened.
I haven’t had a panic attack in a really long time.
This one was the worst I have ever experienced.
Two days later and I still feel the effects of it.
And at 4am on the third day I feel like a old pair of jeans that has been washed too many times; worn, thin, faded and frayed around the edges.
I feel like I am only barely holding it together and am liable to come apart at the slightest provocation.
That panic attack scared me.
Really scared me.
It felt like something in my brain snapped.
Yes, I have been under a lot of pressure lately.
Yes I am grieving
And yes there is a lot if stress in my life.
Logically I know that these things contributed to my attack
But anxiety is not logical and this time I had no defense.
Using logic has been my biggest weapon in the past.
I have taught myself to catch the dark wayward thoughts that would seek to terrorize me.
To hold them up in the light and bombard them with logic.
That is how I have defeated them in the past.
That is how I have kept them in check.
But this time I couldn’t.
This time all those dark thoughts broke out of the prison where I had them contained.
They attacked me with a coordinated assault.
My defenses were down.
I was at their mercy.
They were ravenous and brutal.
Seeking to destroy me with a determined hatred and viciousness.
I crumpled like a wet paper bag, defeated.
I feel smashed upon the rocks.
Tossed by the tide like so much flotsam and jetsam.
And I feel guilty for it.
Everyone in my family are grieving.
We have lost someone precious to us.
I feel guilty that I am falling apart.
I feel guilty that I am adding to the stress.
And it makes my anxiety worse.
I am stretched thin
My skin is like a fine piece of porcelain
A fragile barrier to contain the raging storm within me.
When will it end?
When will the pain lessen?
When will the tears cease?
I have cried myself dry
I am parched.
I am empty.
So very very empty.
The future unfolds before me
Full of uncertainty and dark places.
Every shadow hides a threat
Waiting patiently for me to pass by
Barbs come at me from unexpected places
Stealing my breath and reducing me to ashes
I am defenseless and weak
All of my learned lesson are fled from me
My thoughts are scattered and uncontrolled
Their prison is broken wide
They rampage unchecked through my damaged mind
I feel the seams of my fragile life unraveling
Falling away, blown away in the wind
And I am undone.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Slow-Regard

This started out as a review of a novella by Patrick Rothfuss named “The Slow Regard of Silent Things”, but became something else.

Before I begin my review, I need to out myself on a few things…

 slowregardFirstly, I am a Patrick Rothfuss fangirl (that is if a married 41 year old woman with two adult sons can even be considered a fangirl). I first read “The Name of the Wind” a few years ago and was unashamedly captivated by it.  I had only just started tentatively reading fantasy (previously I had been a strictly crime/political thriller reader…i.e. James Patterson, Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwall, Dale Brown, Sue Grafton) and I had been intrigued by the books title…”The Name of the Wind”. They say to never judge a book by its cover, but to me the cover (especially in the fantasy genre) tells its own story and if it doesn’t interest me, then I’m likely to pass on the book.  I have read other books simply because the cover caught my eye (Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is one such series, before they changed the covers which is a pet hate of mine, they were made to look like old files…kind of cool…and then there is Joe Abercrombe whom I read just because I liked his name), so with a title like “The Name of the Wind” I was definitely interested.  The story that was contained within that cover was even better than the name had hinted at.  Mr Rothfuss’s use of words, imagery and world building wrapped around me like a cocoon and by the end of the book I was converted completely to the fantasy genre. I have since re-read both “The Name of the Wind” and book two “The Wise Man’s Fear” (something I had never done until reading these books) a couple of times and have tried to get them into the hands of as many people as I can.  So, yes, I am a fan.

The second thing I need to be upfront about is that I am grieving.  My beautiful daughter-in-law died two and a half weeks ago (here is her story) and the world just hasn’t seemed the same since that day.  Many things in my life seem meaningless (vanity of vanities, all is vanity) and I even considered whether or not to write this post (but I have and I hope by the end of it you will understand why) and so it is under the very heavy grey cloud of mourning that I read this novella and now write this review.

And thirdly, this is not the book three that you are looking for.  Mr Rothfuss made it very clear in the lead up to and in the forward of the book that this was not Book Three of “The Kingkiller Chronicles”…this is a novella that expounds the story of one of the characters in it. It is an addendum to the original story, not a continuation of it.

So, with all that out of the way, let me get on with my review.

Illustration by Nate Taylor

Auri – Illustration by Nate Taylor

Quite simply, I loved it…but I know that not everyone will.  Mr Rothfuss admonishes us in the forward that this book is not for everyone, and I agree, not everyone will understand it.  This story breaks a lot of rules and there are some people that will find that hard to deal with, but again, we are warned of this in the beginning.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t think anyone could fully tell this story without breaking the rules. Auri is not a character that can be explained by conventional means, she is an enigma and so too is her story.  And, quite frankly, I don’t think everybody should read this book.  I think that something like this should only be read by those that will appreciate it; people who get Auri, who are maybe even a little bit like Auri.  It almost seems indecent to expose Auri to the unwashed masses, those that only wish to impose their will on the world and are not at all interested in being changed by something or someone else.  If nothing else, then this is a story for those of us who have known great loss and have been forever changed by it.

This short story spoke to the part of me that was broken, the part of me that now looks at the world and wonders why.  Although we don’t find out the why of Auri, we do get to know the who.  In very cold and clinical terms, Auri would be considered obsessive compulsive, but in my bruised and battered frame of mind, I see beyond that.  I’m sure that if a psychiatrist got a hold of Auri, they would have a field day and in doing so would destroy her. To me, Auri, through her brokenness, has found a deeper meaning.  She looks only for harmony, she desires only for the things around her to be in harmony with each other. I envy her.

You may think it strange to envy a character who is quite obviously damaged, but it is her very damaged-ness that makes her enviable.  She is no longer consumed by the trappings of materialism, she no longer feels the need to impose her will and desire on the world around her and she takes delight in the simple things.  We have become a world of cynicism and disdain and we have lost the most sacred of emotions…wonder.  Where is the childlike wonder of imagination?  The powers that be have reduced our lives down to scientific theories and financial facts totally disregarding that part of us that calls to the deep mysteries of life.  Children have lost their childhood and adults have forgotten how to dream.  Our world has been broken by the very things that we created to fix it and yet we keep trying to fix it with the same things.  We need more wonder in our world and Auri shows us a glimpse of wonder and my heart yearns for more.

So, perhaps this isn’t a book review at all, but more a study on finding meaning in life when you are broken.  Auri’s world is not perfect, she is still broken, but her brokenness is beautiful. As I grieve the loss of a beautiful person in my life, I look at Auri and I see that there can still be life after loss, not just existence and there can be beauty in brokenness even though it looks different.

The Storm and the Sea

The sky above dark
The clouds bruised and swollen
The little boat floundering
Adrift on the roiling sea

The ocean below heaving
The wind howling unrelenting
Wave crashed after wave
Over port and bow

She stood at the helm
Her hands clutched to the wheel
Her shoulders hunched
And arms straining

She heard the snap and crack
Sail and mast taught and strained
The stinging needles of salt spray
Mixed with tears on her cheeks

The little white boat
So proud when moored at berth
Now alone and broken
Tossed carelessly by the storm

The water loomed menacingly
Towering over the yacht
It grinned wickedly
Before smashing the craft to bits

Her safe haven gone
With nothing left to cling to
She drifted on the churning sea
All alone all alone

She drowned in the sea
All alone in the sea
The storm was too big
With no one there to save her