Can’t read or knit or go to buy my daily bread.
Staring at the window without focus, an inch from the jaws of paralysis.
Will it continue like this until I am laid to rest?
The principle victim might beat addiction,
and push temptation away,
But for sisters and mothers and all of the others
the danger is always in play.
Tried to hold it at bay, but last night it crept up from behind, encroaching on my peace of mind, floating just beyond my vision like a fruit fly scouting for the sweet rot to feed on, and finding it in me.
Thannie’s funeral was today, and I feared what the wake might bring.
So many premature deaths, but – apart from the worst one, so long ago, –
this is the first one that has occurred since he ripped away the chemical curtain.
Tried to sleep through it, but I woke stiff with dread of what he might do after the coffin passed through the doors. I choked down my breakfast and read for hours, struggling to stop the words from blurring, determinedly working the words into sense, my limbs heavy with the effort of pretending that I wasn’t scared.
Tried not to call him, until I could stand it no more.
His voice flowed strong across the line, and I could tell the ogres had fled at the sight of his tears. He was as safe as he could be.
Need to take some exercise, but my legs still refuse to work, and there’s a wall between me and the front door.
I knew that ringing him wouldn’t help. Someone’s trying to break in. There’s no rationality to this. My hands are shaking. It’s dangerous outside. There are people with knives. This isn’t me. None of this is real. I have to break through the wall and return to sanity.
I want to phone him again, but I mustn’t. I’m putting all kinds of imaginary dangers into my head, to avoid the fear that he’ll use. Images of knives and the smell of death on my hands are distractions, to stop me from thinking about what really frightens me.
He’s not going to use. I mustn’t ring him. I have to remember what my coping strategies are, but I can’t concentrate.
I’m afraid that if I stop writing what little courage I’m holding onto will fall apart.
To all the people who loved Thannie, I’m sorry. Today should be about him. It’s horrible that he died.
And to my son, I’m sorry that my faith weakens when I think of your grief. It’s not your fault.
©Jane Paterson Basil