A Star Fell

Last night I had a dream that was certainly prompted by Gail’s poem and all of the – sorry, I haven’t a word special and kind enough to describe everyone’s support.  This dream may interest you; it certainly made me smile.

Last night I dreamt the simple dream that I stepped out of the shower all dripping wet and heard Seanna’s voice mumbling and murmuring outside in what I supposed to be a hallway.  I didn’t recognize the bathroom I was in.  Regardless, I was soaking wet and my purpose was to take care of that problem.  As I began to dry myself I heard Seanna’s muffled voice ‘asking’, “See Steph?  Come in?”  Unsure of what to do, not knowing the rules wherever we happened to be, I didn’t answer.  I felt a great fear.

When I hesitated I heard again a mumbled, “Wanna see Steph,” and I said loudly, “Okay babe!  But I think we have to ask someone first!  There are probably forms to fill out or something!  So wait, okay?!”  But to her that was an affirmation and that was all.  “Yes” is “yes”; there is no “yes, but…”  Instead of coming to the door, however, I heard a rustling under the counter.  Curious, I reached for the door on the far left but it popped open before I could grab the handle.  Seanna?

Yup.  Apparently on the other side of the bathroom wall there was a closet or cubby of some type and she just weasled her way right through the hole in the wall (like the one in her Grandma’s house) and followed it through the base cabinet of the bathroom, knocking all manner of soaps and jars and bottles willy-nilly with a great racket, utterly oblivious to the mess and noise (she never changes…after all, someone else will be picking that up) and was almost all the way into the room, shoulder length chestnut brown hair escaping every which way from her pony tail, mumbling “see Steph?” while I laughed at her customary chaos, when I woke up.  …when I woke up thinking, “Jeez it was nice to see her again!  It must have been all those Soul Food people talking about she and I like that that brought her back.  Especially Gail’s poem.”  Thank you one and all.

My great panic and assumption that permission and forms were necessary were due to the vicious custody fight that was underway when she died.  The rules of the family court took away all of my access to Seanna except via phone until the custody between birth parents was settled, but she died before that happened.  So now, even now, still, when I dream about her being alive I often don’t see her face but only hear her voice.  I will always hear that voice asking those questions she asked me until the day she died: “See Steph?  Come see me?  Seanna go to Steph?  Now?  Soon?  Please?” 

She was a Babbler with a capital B, but the circumstances in the last months had their value: I can’t imagine the sound of her voice will ever be forgotten by me.  In my mind I held the sounds she made over the phone as tightly in my mind as I would her whole body to my heart if she were in front of me.  The absence of my person did not stop her from bringing me everything of importance to her, either.  She told me everything that hurt and where and when it happened and who she saw and what she did and how she felt and what she wanted and what she ate and what she drank and, and, and…until she cried because I wasn’t there to do it all with her.  Thus was every phone call and there was so much time spent on the phone.  I often thought maybe I shouldn’t talk to her if she ended up crying, but her dad said she cried when I didn’t answer, so I always answered.  I guess I’ll always answer.

Oh…the shower theme.  For our lifetime together Seanna showered with me.  I was the Seanna-cleaner.  I still feel lonely in the shower.


Work Without Hope – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (composed 21st February 1825)

Oh, They Have Robbed Me of the Hope – Anne Bronte

Oh, they have robbed me of the hope
My spirit held so dear;
They will not let me hear that voice
My soul delights to hear.
They will not let me see that face
I so delight to see;
And they have taken all thy smiles,
And all thy love from me.
Well, let them seize on all they can: —
One treasure still is mine, —
A heart that loves to think on thee,
And feels the worth of thine.

Anne Bronte

For Steph and Seanna

How will I know who I am without you?
In an ocean without a star to follow
I would drift until I bumped ashore, forever lost.
You are the star that holds me to my course.

How would I know what road to follow?
You are both the destination and the source.
I am who I am because of you, no longer lost.
You are the star that holds me to my course.

How will I know who I am without you?
All my travelling was to be with you.
You can’t abandon me so far from shore.
You are the star that holds me to my course.

Hold to your course, Steph. Her star still leads you.


witness and witlessness

Writing openly about my life used to be like water off a duck’s back for me.  I was Say-Anything Steph once-upon-a.  So many battles, big and small, seems to have whittled me down from feeling large to little in a twitchy, embarrassed-for-no-reason kind of way.   It aint purty!  So I’ve been consciously pulling my s___ together for the sake of … pride?  Yeah, maybe pride.  Pride goeth, I know, but there’s something to be said for sparing the world from another simpering, twitching, ever-apologetic mess.  I got down; I can get up.  Me big girl now.  *smile*

The point of this post is to share an experience I had yesterday and take solace here in the temple.  Actually, the experience has been ongoing since April when I begin what was supposed to be a year long “crisis support” program at the local hospital.  I brought them the crisis, but I’m still wondering when they’ll get to the support part. 

At the end of 2006 when I had to leave the house I loved so much because I was being abused by one of my stepdaughters I began do slide into a depression that spiralled as the events following my departure went wildly out of control.  Simply surreal, not to be believed, this is not happening to us, no way Jose kinda stuff.  The depression absolutely buried me when we buried our beloved Seanna last August, and that’s why I turned to the community care centre at the hospital for help in April. 

Every month that I have met the therapist and doctor since I started six months ago I have been asked the same questions about what it is I think is bringing me so down and why it is that I have no interest in life or plans or hope for happiness in my near future.  They have focussed on the depression but offered no grief counselling whatsoever.  In fact, they offer no “depression counselling” either; they just keep asking me over and over why I think I feel the way I do.  The psychiatrist asked me each time for the last three months why I don’t return to my regular activities, my normal life,  and why I am not content once again now that I am out of the depression.  And every time…as I have for six months…I have to remind him that my home is gone, my gallery that was my beloved work is gone, my job as Dorian’s bookkeeper is gone because he is bankrupt, my one stepdaughter (abusive as she was) is gone, and my other child, the child of my heart, is DEAD! THERE IS NOTHING TO GO BACK TO!  IT’S ALL GONE!

Barely controlling my feeling of insult – well, anger, really – that these basic facts of my life cannot be remembered, or least not gleaned from reading a simple chart or file before meeting with me again, I requested a different therapist, a switch that also comes with a different doctor.  If I end up with no “crisis support” from the hospital at all and am not allowed to go back there, I surely won’t be able to discern a difference.  Other than, perhaps, being free from the monthly insult. 

I have been embarrassed to be enduring this nonsense in my quest for solace and really should have just come to the temple once a month instead…heck…you probably would even have let me weep here once a week!  *smile*  You all are so kind that way.  LOL  But for so many years I told myself the story that I was the one holding other people together, my family, my children.  Yeah.  Such fairytales I tell myself!  And believed them because I needed to as a child needs to believe in Cinderella’s prince for a while. 

Nonetheless, here I am, feeling much better though still without any great enthusiasm for living, but I am Alive enough to have regained my sense of the necessariness of bearing witness to the witlessness that We, many of us, have to bear at times in life.  I bear necessary witness here in case someone else in Soul Food has or is being so sad and enduring the ridiculous dismissal of their entirely acceptable and understandable sadness, despondency, or simple exhaustion.

I am grateful for this wonderful temple and the solace of this place.  A place where I know words and tears and fears and questions and weariness and wonder and wishes and women are welcome to wait for healing and love and better days to come.