What Not to Say to Someone When they’re Dead

Janey,… Jane Spears, Jane Kirk Spears, who lived with me in this house, who spent that nice evening with me in this room, before I changed it all about, whose books are on the bookshelf, getting a little dusty (i’m sorry) and whose photos still leap with life, and whose words still ring clear in my ears, who (correction) lives with me in this house, … Jane? What am I going to do with you?

Fact is, that for practical purposes, you are useless to me as a partner. You don’t (nodding to Jack Lasenby) do a hands turn around the place, you don’t answer when I talk to you and you are no fun in bed.

Oh, yeah, no-one said that this whole business had any practical purpose but I’m back at “whatever the purpose of this is, it better be good”. And could somebody please enlighten me as to what that is?? Oh hang on, I had something… Jane came into my life to teach me that I could love and could be loved. That I could, after being scared nearly out of going ahead with it, let myself get close to someone, to be vulnerable with them, to let myself feel the love flowing all around and let myself be seen like that with the actual person. OK, I’m getting that, and then she left to… for me to learn…. ? Oh, hang on. There was something about feeling all this and not dieing myself. Kind of “what doesn’t kill you…” but really, there’s a pretty liberal dose of benefit of the doubt, there.

So I had a reasonable string of good months, Feb and March, evidenced by the lack of woe posts here (that pain muse). Ha! Such fun at the ANZPA conference, returning with such zest for life. Thought it was acceptance. Turned out it was denial. Merest provocation and I was right back in despair, peppered excessively with anger.

I know this isn’t a linear process. It’s navigating once more the thin film between holding on and letting go, with a new clarity on the impossibility of them both.

You might, you could easily say that all this “Jane, you…” is textbook “holding on”; acting exactly if Jane isn’t gone at all, because that’s what it feels like. That’s what I want! But, the inner-home-shrink in me knows that the misery concomitant with this drills the psyche closer to the seat of the pain, inexplicably but inexorably cleaning out the pus and grit from the seat of the wound and allowing it to knit gradually with tender tissue. Holding on, I am unwittingly letting go.

And I attempted letting go. Carried on a little as if nothing had happened. Ah right. I found where that gets me, even when, damn, it was acceptance, I had done dastardly yards of dankness. I was enjoying deserved enjoyment. And yet, slam in my face. Smack at the beginning of the grieving process. First day all over again, and again.

It’s eleven months and one day since that day, Jane Spears. Since I half woke while you gasped your last. And then whole woke with your body dead but you still alive inside me, as you are now. Sure, you are a little faded, and you haven’t aged. How could you, would you have. Oh, ok. How our lives together would be today. How you could walk in the door right now.

I really don’t know whether or how to say this, Jane but at some point, I’m going to be, you know, moving on a little in my life. I’ve already pretty much written off my own lame-arsed-ness or worse, deprivation assumption as the cause of this (Lloyd, tho I loved your email and yes I will definitely do that luck-cursing, raging at the world drinking session with you!), so it’s kind of, Jane, somehow would you, could I let you, want you to, just a little bit move on out of my life, perhaps die properly, like you were actually dead and not just pretending?

Finding a Voice

Dear Walter,

How lovely to read your post and listen to your podcast. But what an irony! I never knew I could do this: could have a voice that was mine, could write anything other than transactional writing and email. Of course, your post reaches me while I’m angry about the very thing, the person who was and is no longer, who has been my muse (that’s a whole other post)! As you say, this has come as the cost of my pain. I don’t think you envy that.

Walter, I know that what pushes down your voice is not the technology, and is not the time, or you being an introvert. It is exposing for me, too. Maybe I’ll come to regret doing this. Professionally, of course, the issues are different for us but, really are they? Do I want my business clients or colleagues reading about my flounderings? It could affect the share price!

So you being a therapist makes it more exposing? Of course, I am familiar with the boundaries around this. The therapist’s business is not the business of the session. As client, one knows that there is a whole life there of which we know nothing – but do we? Did the clients of Freud and Jung have no idea whom they were being treated by? Do the clients of Orbach and Yallom?

Is not the self the primary instrument with which the therapist works? You speak of a professional blog. Client case studies anonymised, perhaps? When you use yourself in your profession, what could you authentically blog about in a professional blog, other than yourself?

You conclude your podcast saying “how do I click stop?”. I think the question is “how do you click start?”

Loving Blood Lovers

Blood Lovers

Year: 2006

Length: 7 minutes

Media: Video

Rating: 5 out of 5

I’ve got a few movie reviews queued up but this one comes first because I helped make it.

The weekend before last, as part of the 48 Hours film competition, I joined a bunch of folks (lots of them Hanna’s friends and church-mates) to make a short film in 48 hours. We got the “monster” genre and the same givens as everybody else. I was in the writing team and then was “1st AD”. With no experience whatsoever, I think that title was a slight overstatement. Notwithstanding, I had a heap of fun. I like our movie, too and feel pretty good about my contribution to it. The judges weren’t as impressed. Perhaps they didn’t put as much emphasis on writing, acting and directing over production values (ours were fairly rough) as we thought they would.

But, decide for yourself.

By the way, watch this space. I have shot my mouth off about writing some scripts so I guess I have to now. Plus, I had such fun on the set and want to get more experience so I’m putting myself out to help on more films. Secret ambition: to be “Second Second Assistant Director” in something decent (and to know what that means).

Tags: movie vampire 48hours

Blood Lovers

Year: 2006

Length: 7 minutes

Media: Video

Rating: 5 out of 5

I’ve got a few movie reviews queued up but this one comes first because I helped make it.

The weekend before last, as part of the 48 Hours film competition, I joined a bunch of folks (lots of them Hanna’s friends and church-mates) to make a short film in 48 hours. We got the “monster” genre and the same givens as everybody else. I was in the writing team and then was “1st AD”. With no experience whatsoever, I think that title was a slight overstatement. Notwithstanding, I had a heap of fun. I like our movie, too and feel pretty good about my contribution to it. The judges weren’t as impressed. Perhaps they didn’t put as much emphasis on writing, acting and directing over production values (ours were fairly rough) as we thought they would.

But, decide for yourself.

By the way, watch this space. I have shot my mouth off about writing some scripts so I guess I have to now. Plus, I had such fun on the set and want to get more experience so I’m putting myself out to help on more films. Secret ambition: to be “Second Second Assistant Director” in something decent (and to know what that means).

Tags: movie vampire 48hours

Back in the Forest

Unfortunately, May pretty much sucked for me. I spent it grieving. Roadkill. Unable or refusing to recognise any progress. Let’s see what June brings.

After a hell of a good cry, the other day, I had a couple of good days and then, back into misery. One day, not long ago, I felt the desparateness of my need to be loved rise up inside me until it reached the top of my head and started spilling over. I felt like screaming at the phone to ring. Screaming at the world to love me, not leave me where I was, not knowing.

Hello? Anybody fancy starting a relationship with this guy?

I know that the love has to come from me. That the love has to flow into my heart as the sadness flows out. I know I have that love but I am witholding it. Why should I have to do all the loving? Why do I have to do this alone? Where is the someone to take me in their arms and hold me until I know I will be alright? I don’t want to do that for myself. I am angry that I have to. I would rather try to ignore it. Keep going with my life. Tell it to FUCK OFF. If you are going to keep dumping me in the shit, then fuck you. Smash. Smash. Smash. I will smash this fucking forest as my legs melt off and my arms turn to butter.

Even this stupid regressive drama, I have to do by myself, and on the stupid internet. Actually, it’s probably better that I don’t embarrass myself by letting anyone know about it.

Just forgetting about my dear and loving friends, for a moment, that is.

Julia reckons that I create my life the way I want it. That I (my version) created abandonment by women: my mother (and her abandonments before that), Mary-Anne, Jane, Chicky Babe, my former therapist (Jenny Rockel who just died, right when I was thinking I’d give her a call) and Elsie. It is certainly true that I get pretty knocked about by some of these things. Am I indulging in this? Recoiling in self-pity and self-protection? Whimpering, helplessly? Or is it that I have the courage to feel the pain and face the not knowing of being in this darkness? (And the knowledge of my heart and the fire that burns there?)

I know, I know. I _am_ doing progress with this, just by writing like I am. But I don’t want to, you hear? I don’t want to be single and enjoy that, do some more dating. To bring myself fully to parenting, to my work, to having fun, being social, creative, learning, making this house lovely, travelling and being active and healthy. I don’t …

I know a little about the abandoner that I am. I have the role. I also, know about the abandoner who I am not. Yes, I get moments of loyalty-fatigue like the next person but who I am in this world is the one who does not abandon. Not myself, not my children, friends, family, or (with certain limits) my partner. But the me bit, this is a step in my learning about that.

It is, and always was going to be a step in my grieving for Jane. I have felt more anger (A) and despair (D) in this last month than I have for a long time. My first brush with love – actually not the first but the first halfway decent one. First the being in it tipped me into grieving, then the being out of it tipped me right into the pit again. Ach, well. One more small step forward. A few more litres of tears I don’t need to shed any more. A reminder of just how unfinished, or anything like it, this process is.