Dreaming again

I wrote a letter in my dream last night 

The truth be told it was a farewell 

To someone I couldn’t leave without explanation 

The words eloquent and flowing 

Spoke to my tightrope walk

Between present and eternity 

Hopefulness and hopelessness

It was such a wonderful composition 

Whose life was measured in

The length of a dream

If only I would recall the words 

When the time finally comes.

Another day another dream

A practical exercise in wrapping 

Up a life that has lost

It’s desire, it’s purpose 

It seems like it should have taken hours 

To “put my affairs in order”

Yet with so little to arrange 

It should have taken but minutes. 

There’s enough in the bank to 

Put me in the ground or

Reduce me to ashes. 

With enough left for dinner and a few drinks. 

A few possessions, an antique or two and my words. 

Give away the artwork 

Clear away the mementos gathered

On the bulletin board 

Find a relative or two to give shelter

To the few bits of family history remaining. 

Give the rest away

or throw it away and call it a day. 

So little to show for a lifetime 

But what about the words 

Curated and saved so carefully,

Would they mean anything 

To anyone but me?

Add them to the funeral pyre

And declare the job complete. 

Legacy

I hope that I am remembered kindly
It seems such a silly thing
As I won’t be there to know
My thoughts on suicide
Used to imagine looking down
At a funeral and thinking they all
Looked so sorry for the way they treated me.
But I have been dead now
And have erased such useless thoughts from my thinking
I won’t see and I won’t care
If I haven’t lived a life of kindness
I deserve to be forgotten.
At this point the die has been cast
I’ve tried so hard to be worthy
Of a gentle smile
At an unexpected remembrance
But what will be, will be.

Another morning with Tears and Sunshine

Another morning with tears and sunshine, reads the day’s journal entry,
along with a quiet warning to keep my feelings close to the vest.
The propensity to over share about my mental fragility
can always be counted on to come back to haunt me.
The threat from my youth of a “mark on your permanent record”
Seems to have followed me into adulthood.

I know that they have the best of intentions
All those that would save me in spite of myself.
Their unbidden appearance, not in response to any cry for help
reminds me they are always watching.

My writing, when not paralyzed by depression is a way of coping,
But honesty on line or to the therapist is likely to end badly
If you read the news, a wellness check by the local police
Is as likely to get you shot, as earn you a trip to the hospital

Even Facebook is watching, eager to help
and put you on a list for future scrutiny.
So, I write in my journal where it’s safe to say
I really don’t understand why I want to be alive anymore

And in the real world I drop subtle hints about where
My mind is really dwelling.
So, if I don’t survive they can go back a read
The truth about it.

I Recognize This Place

I recognize this place, I’ve been here before

More than once.

As usual I describe it as being in a funk or occasionally a deep funk.

Which is simply a self-protective way of disguising what is actually mental illness.

So I’m not in a funk, nor just feeling sad or feeling down.

I’m in the throes of a major depressive episode.

So… having been here before I know how this goes.

The first thing is to stop the slide.

Call the therapist,

Explain I need help, it’s bad, it’s getting worse, I’m scared.

Her list of objectives is pretty simple.

Keep me alive, keep me out of the hospital.

Sounds simple, straight forward. Just wish it was.

Discuss the options, make her promises for one more day, one more night.

Even though the point of it all eludes me.

So the battle goes on

In a war that promises to go on forever.

I Gave Her My Word

I gave her my word
I’d be here in the morning

That didn’t stop me from uttering
My prayer not to wake up again

Because that wouldn’t be like breaking my promise

What I’ve learned is that those prayers
Don’t work any better

Than the ones I whispered as a child
To wake up as a girl

The Dream took me Back

The dream took me back as dreams sometimes do

To that previous life.

The time of suits and ties and wingtip shoes

Business meeting haircuts, leather portfolios and hundred-dollar pens

 

It was a role I knew well but never owned.

Stolen from tv shows and business magazines.

Borrowed from those that took their rehearsals

So much more seriously than I.

 

I spent the night trying to find the answer

To someone else’s problems.

To prove that I belonged, that I was indeed one of them.

I needed their gratitude to affirm my value

 

Yet who was I?

 

I didn’t hear my name spoken, or any name

Was I Rachel or was I Richard?

Is he still in there? And does it really matter, if it was a dream?

Or is it simply a synapse or two that refuses to fade away?

 

Could it be a message fighting to surface from deep within?

To covey a meaning I cannot seem to grasp.

The question remains, will he always be there

Waiting in the darkness to poison certainty with doubt?

Full Circle

I used to chase quiet spots at the base of waterfalls

Where flowers grew to the water’s edge

Where in solitude I could write hundreds of words

on the shape of the swirling clouds above

Or the rise of the mornings fog on the mountainside

I wrote dozens and dozens of pages

On the beauty of finding myself,

At the surprise

of finding within me, courage I never knew existed.

Year after year, the words trickled forth

From a vast reservoir of emotional memories

Impounded over a lifetime

They made their way onto paper then out into the world.

I was so proud of the story I was creating

In the face of fear and uncertainty

Fashioning a life from bits and pieces

Copied from others or as imitations of the visions

I saw in the world around me.

My confidence nurtured acceptance

And eased my passage through the world.

With fewer slights and fears to cloud my mind

I’ve felt secure in my visibility and

proud to leave my mark on the world.

Yet always on the horizon depression has lain in wait

Ready to assault my heart with lies about my worth

Stating with certainty that every friend

Will eventually break my heart.

And so it is, I pass my days, from confidence to doubt.

Mother’s Day Rebirth

I lay unaware, stretched out like a corpse on a mortuary slab.

Gone but apparently not irretrievably so

I can only imagine the burst of adrenaline

That exploded in that room,

But for me time had ceased to exist.

 

A minute or a lifetime could have passed

The events only reconstructed later

by nurses’ comments and strategically placed bruises.

Testimony to incredibly enthusiastic CPR.

That had transpired in my absence.

 

I returned to the living at the insistence

Of 1000 volts of electricity

Its ability to negate the effects of gravity

affirmed by my vertical rise from the table.

and pain beyond anything I could have imagined.

 

Pried from momentarily dead vocal cords

A shout announcing my return to the living

And a plea of,” Don’t do that again!”

Then the questions, “where am I?”

What just happened?

 

It slowly became obvious whatever it was,

Was far from being concluded.

Voices from the darkness provided a running commentary

While screens staring down gave proof in black and white.

That my heart while now beating, was in serious trouble.

 

I watched, fascinated at an unexpected glimpse into

The mechanics of my mortality.

At an analogue of a great river system

With its largest tributary now completely blocked

It’s downstream course white and bloodless.

 

I watch as a snake dark and lifeless, slowly makes its way upstream,

Toward the blockage, beyond which no blood moved

A tiny push forwards the smallest pull backward

Subtle directions issuing forth from beyond my awareness

 

It’s left to me to trust that the final outcome

Will be whatever it is destined to be

It was at this point I surrendered completely to

The peace of the darkness to await the answer.

I died on Mother’s Day

A few weeks ago, I died.

It was a quiet Sunday morning

Filled with warm sunshine

and a mild chest discomfort

I surprised myself

by doing the prudent thing

without knowing what I was doing

I arrived at the ER…Just in case

I listen as someone is told it could be a

Heart attack.

Wait…

That’s me they’re speaking to.

We’re going to lay you out on this table

And check out a few things, just to be sure

Just relax we’ll take care of everything.

A gentle push, an insistent pull, they align my body

Beneath the banks of technology

I’m looking up, into so many earnest faces

the self-assurance of those that have been here before

Their confidence seeks to reassure, to contain the rising panic

Among the crowd, my daughter, the tears in her eyes

Betrays the reassurance she seeks to convey

With a squeeze of my hand she quietly withdraws

In her place anxiety flows in, a cold grip on my imagination.

A disembodied voice says we just need to take a chest x-ray

I’ll just slide this plate underneath you

Stepping out of sight to take the x-ray

My heart chose that moment to stop.

No bright celestial lights appeared

No chorus of angelic voices

One minute the reassuring background murmur

The next minute, blackness and a silence as deep as death itself

Gone in that instant, my entire lifetime of certainty

And so, it was that I died on that Mother’s Day

Tomorrow’s Promise

Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone

How many times had that rolled across my lips?

A trite cliché with just enough philosophical import

to prove my intellectual depth

It’s the companion to “don’t take anything for granted “

Which of course I did

Which of course, everyone does

But as with all things, perspective is everything

And mine has been blasted into atoms

A lifetimes’ assumptions wiped away in an instant

Tomorrow isn’t promised takes on a whole new meaning

when the permanence of an unending string of days

is shown to be an illusion.

I’m now left with a void to fill

A void from which all my certainty had been extracted

A place that once was filled with religious dogma

Now filled simply with the unknown.

How am I supposed to carry on?

Certain now in the knowledge that life could,

without the slightest warning, end in any moment

and how without the intervention of providence

would have ended on that fateful Mother’s Day.

If I had crashed my car on the way to the hospital

I would have died

If I had gone home to lay down when I didn’t feel well

I would have died,

sobering realizations each.

Without a hint of how to cope with them.

I’m left to wonder if there was a reason

Things played out as they did.

Is there any hope I will ever understand?