should have known

I have been descending into a well of grief for my daugther, for both the children I raised, for the abscence of one and the betrayal of the other.  I don’t know why now, why it was necessary to be overwhelmed once again by the evil intent and the lies that took my child, my freedom, my reputation, and my well-being.  But down I go.  Today in particular I found myself made almost helpless by the pain.  Why?  I didn’t call it to me.  I didn’t go digging for it.  It came to me.

Finally I put aside my attempts to do anything productive and went upstairs to lie on the old couch and just listen to the traffic whoosh by until I fell into an uneasy half-slumber.  And then…Ah…there it was.

I am sensitive to the energies of certain people, extraorindarily so, and you can just balk at that if you wish, but I heard her voice through the window, my heart went THUD, and I knew what was stirring my wounded soul such as it is.  The child returned.  The child I raised.  The one who accused me of terrible things that almost put me behind bars.  The accusation that had my daughter taken away and kept from me until her death.  The one who devastated my life.  She came to visit for Father’s Day.

And so we sat together at the table making cautious small talk.  Avoiding talk of what she’d done to me, to all of us, lest she get up and walk out.  The idea in my mind to build back the relationship (with her fatehr, at least) to the point where she’s again old enough(17 now) to face me over what she did.  *sigh*

What bullshit.  I’m such a fool.  Eventually I just came right out and called her on the audacity of faking an injury in order to destroy my life.  Out the door she went.  After she swore that she didn’t fake the injury.  It’s been so many years now she’s convinced herself that her story was true. 

I feel so tired I can barely move.  Utterly joyless.  Weeping inwardly. 

You know what?  I still desperately want my family back.  Death precludes the return of one child.  And the other?  The other just stood in the kitchen and declared, “I just don’t take anyone’s shit.  If you bug me, I’ll make their life a living hell.  I’ll make them wish they were never born.  They just won’t believe what I’ll do to their lives.” 

I believe her.  She was smiling when she said it.  She was also smiling when she – just before that – asked her father to buy her a car. 

It’s time now for the storybook ending: the protagonist (moi) shakes it off and finds something new to fill the void left by Family.

But I am sad.  So sad today. 

steph

when it rains

When it rains, it pours, and sometimes the accompanying winds threaten to take the roofs right off what little shelter we have in the world.  And sometimes…sometimes the roof goes. 

Heather Blakey, webmistress, teacher, guide, guru, Friend, is in the eye of such a storm yet again.  I have not offered her any words of wisdom or comfort because, one, she is older and wiser than I, and two, could any word be true enough to comfort a daughter watching her mother die?  Not from my personal experience on the matter.  And so I’ve read the kind words sent from others and wondered about storms and grief, my own grief and memory of grief rising up like the floods on the Canadian Prairies. 

Heather’s mother has cancer of the eosophagus, and I lost a very, very dear and important friend/guide in my life to that just a few months ago.  Her absence is very keenly felt in my life today.  Tears well for her near daily every time I go near my gardens, a subject we discussed often.  Elizabeth loved gardening and adored all plants, but she was wise enough to assure me that “A weed is ANYTHING you don’t want in your garden, my love.  If you don’t like roses, then OUT they go, and don’t you feel a whit of guilt about it.  A garden is supposed to be a thing of pleasure, not a task to be tended to grudgingly.  Make it what you love and to hell with what anyone else says.” 

The most important women in my life, and I think the most important women on earth indeed, are those who are strong enough and smart enough to encourage the world’s daughters to tell society to “go to hell and just let me live as I was meant to live, in peace, in beauty, in pleasure.”  From what I have heard, Heather’s mother is such a treasure, and so her weakening condition is a heartbreak that touches all intelligent women. 

I wish Heather a continued connection with that deep down still spot inside her that withstands the ebb and flow of every flood, and the force of every emotional hurricane.  I can think of nothing more to say in the face of a normal but nonetheless devastating pain of life.

Love and honour,

Steph

Kelly

peonies blossom

wild grasses grow tall

the mulberry matures

and the scent of lavender wafts by

from I don’t know where

but death seems stronger than life

when I remember how

I held her in my arms

and felt her body become still

as the last breath left her

then cried as my beloved was

carried away wrapped in a quilt

Stephanie K. Hansen © 2009

all done

At 5 o’ clock today my dog Kelly finished her life.  She was in pain and far from herself.  I am beside myself with sadness at the loss of my incredibly friendly and affectionate companion.  She was a wonderful creature who brought a lot of smiles to a lot of faces.  She healed me with her unconditional love over the course of this last year in a way that nothing else could.  I am in her debt.  The silence and stillness in the house is profound.  I don’t know where to put all my kisses.  I may have to shower love and affection on my fellow humans now. 

Rest, my love.  You were a sweetheart.  You made me happy when nothing else could.  I love you forever.

steph

again

Thank you everyone who left kind words and supportive comments regarding the sad situation with my dog Kelly. 

She’s a great dog with a charming nature.  She inspires loyalty.  We were out walking one day when a much larger dog charged Kelly viciously snarling with teeth bared obviously intending to attack.  Kelly’s an older dog and truly no fighter, certainly no match for the enormous Sheppard bearing down on her.  Without thinking, I pulled her behind me and took on the attacker myself.  Terrifying!

The big dog got a couple of well-placed kicks and one whomping smack that knocked the fight out of him and left him cringing.  I felt just awful for striking an animal like that, but the damage he would have done to poor Kelly would have been heartbreaking.  It wasn’t until a couple of moments later, still shaking like a leaf, I fully realised how badly mauled I could have been. 

I have had a strong instinct to protect Kelly sicne she came to me a year ago.  I adopted her because I was painfully lonely and longing for someone to take care of.  I was a mother for a long time and was not coping well with being so suddenly childless after my Seanna’s death and her sister’s move wholly into her birth mother’s life.  There’s no other way to put it than to say I’ve been using Kelly to make myself feel better.  To heal my own wounds.

And now she needs me to make her feel better.  Quid pro quo.  I owe her deeply for what ease she has brought to my life.  I think it’s a good bet I’d be in much sadder shape without the continuous solace of her affections. 

I can say exactly the same about Seanna, and there’s where my greatest unease comes in.  Seanna had an illness that would eventually claim her life.  I lived too long watching desperately, with growing panic, for signs that she was nearing the end of her life.  I have not healed from that experience and am floundering finding myself in a similar situation with another living being who has brought so much to my life, to my Self.

steph

time

I’ve been waiting for the news to really hit home for two days now.  The vet called to tell me my dog Kelly has malingnant cancer and that it’s a matter of time.  I feel like a shallow jerk for saying no to his suggestion of chemotherapy for her in a town about a half hour’s drive away.  She’s just had surgery to remove a large lump in her mammary gland and is healing well it seems.  She has three different infections going on right now to fight and the cancer isn’t helping. 

She’s been a saviour to me.  I feel like hell for not being able to return the favour.  The vet says the lumps will reoccur within 2-3 months somewhere else, most likely the chest and lymph nodes.  The hardest part to get my head around is that it’s almost impossible to tell when she’s sick and suffering.  I have to watch for signs of deterioration to know when to let her go peacefully, put her out of her misery.  She’s not a whiner, though.  She had such a terrible uterine infection that she was dripping blood everywhere and never flinched or gave a sign that anything was wrong.  She’s just the sweetest natured dog in the world.  I am heavy with the responsibility of divining her time to leave this life.  How will I know?  I am afraid that I will keep her here too long, and afraid too that I will let her go too soon.  What an awesome responsibility to be in charge of deciding the life and death of another living soul, such a sweet soul as Kelly’s.  I fear greatly that she will suffer quietly for too long before I see what is happening to her. 

Love will have to be my guide. 

steph

Knowing

I don’t always know what Enough is, but I know that too much is what is stuffed and piled and packed around my house. In an effort to lift myself up spirit, mind and body I have been culling my bookshelves and drawers ruthlessly boxing things up and carting them to local charities. I even took to shredding numerous old journals that are really nothing but scribbled out drivel that I needed to empty from my crowded mind so I could concentrate on other things. I thought I had done away with the journals when I found a few more today. They were tucked into the hard little overnight case put under the computer table here to put my feet on like a makeshift footstool. They were the last three years worth of day-to-day scribble of life stuff.
I sat down beside the shredder and opened up the cover to the first page of the first notebook and saw written at the top of the page August 11, 2006. My daughter, Seanna, died that same day one year later in 2007. The date stunned me. I turned off the shredder and just sat staring at the date thinking, “I didn’t know. I didn’t know.” On that day in 2006 I didn’t know we only had a year left and my writing reflected that. I talked about summer things and children’s squabbles and things I looked forward to and the things I didn’t look forward to. On all the pages that followed it was just our lives as they were then. Love, pain, fear, more love, more fear… And in between every line I saw pictures of us today, Seanna and I, doing the stuff we did the same way every day. The way we touched, the way we looked at each other, the way we sat together, played together, bathed and dressed and napped together. And I just kept thinking, “I didn’t know. I didn’t know.”

Eventually I had read my thoughts and details of the time between then and her death when I stopped writing, where the journal abruptly ends, and I set to shredding them all up while the tears gathered in my throat and just bulged up there. Soon the shredder was too slow and I was too…something…and I simply tore all the remaining pages to shreds and deposited them in the recycling bag. There were no special details about things Seanna and I did together that needed to be saved in those journals. All the details that mattered then or now are in my mind and heart. But I had a question that begged answering: If you’d known on that day you had exactly one year left together what would you have done and what wouldn’t you have done with Seanna?

It’s been a long evening since the journals met their fate and I’ve spent nearly all of it sitting quietly listening to a clock tick and wondering, “What would I do that I didn’t do?” I didn’t know. We were very affectionate and I told her constantly all the things I loved about her. So I wondered, “What would I do more of?” Still, I didn’t know. To be more affectionate or spend even more time in each other’s company would have been ridiculous as much as we were already huggy-kissy-hand-holding people. So I wondered, “What wouldn’t I have done?” I thought I’d dig up a few answers here. I spent a long time on this one, but I still didn’t know. We struggled to make sure she got the most out of being alive by putting our faith in the truism that ‘change is life’ and insisting she grow and learn to be independent as possible when she struggled as hard as she could to maintain the total dependence that was easier. I know that independence made her happier than she would have been otherwise. I wouldn’t take back any of the struggle.

Sitting here after all that musing I have to admit we didn’t lose anything by not knowing. Lord, but that’s got to be worth something, something real big, you know? I’m having trouble feeling that specifically. I still just have those tears in my throat and a knowing that I ‘lucked out’ big time in one way but still hurt too much to feel lucky yet. It’s been a while since her death now but I’ve been avoiding myself and herself, if you know what I mean, for nearly all the time since. It’s good I got rid of those journals, those makeship placeholders. Time passed needs to be acknowledged and I need to stop waiting for some mysterious future date to start living and enjoying my life again. This waiting, however, is not new to me. I’m a wait-er. Thankfully, I’m also a ponderer and I’ll give some more thought to this knowing/not knowing business.
steph

Quilting Love

before my time
before my time

You all might think I’m daft for not realising until so recently what the quilt buying was really about, but it is true, I didn’t know I was on my own ‘comfort rugging quest’.

I stumbled across a lovely old quilt on eBay while sitting up with my dog Kelly when she was so sick and in pain and I tended her throughout the nights.  The more she hurt the more I hurt, and the more I hurt the more I turned to external things for distraction from a fear of having to euthanise Kelly, a fear that was threatening to drive me right around the bend.  By the end of the three week stretch of a hellish illness with the poor creature I had developed a wicked shake in my hands that I could not still, a shake so pronounced I could barely type on my keyboard, with twitches and tics in spots on my face.  Now that’s stress.
I realised I was looking for distraction with the eBay shopping but I didn’t catch on that the contents of my mailbox and deliveries were all about comfort and a quest for a sense of histories, of the roots that would hold me in good stead during these life storms, roots I don’t have.  I have gained at least ten pounds and more quilts than I can count (because they haven’t all arrived yet).  I have no money(somewhat disturbing, but only somewhat) so all were bought on credit.  I’m not cringing about that really because I spent no money for Christmas as I have no family to spend it on and an acceptable interest pay-back rate.  I also have self-compassion and (finally) self-understanding.
The quilt pictured above was the most expensive at only $80 US.  You read that correctly!  The fellow didn’t sell me his grandmother but he might as well have for that price!  The piece is enormous, covering most of one entire living room wall, entirely handstitched with no discernable pattern and most pieces no larger than a *small* Post-It, and very, very many as small as half a pinky finger.  I keep sitting on the couch staring at it in awe and gratitude to have such a work of art in my home, for it has done something to make this house seem more like a home to me.  All the quilts seem to have that magic.
The best clue to their real meaning for meaning, their connection with my need for roots, for history, for a sense of something besides the terrible present, is that the one requirement for all the quilts I’ve sought out is that they all be antique at best, vintage at least, and hopefully made with love.  The ones called “crazy quilts” are best because they best reflect my crazy life and my episodic internal chaos while managing to be full of comfort at the same time.  I strive to be like that: able to be warm and full of comfort despite my own chaos.
Steph

Better days for a good friend

My good friend, Kelly the dog, is finally seeing better days.  With much very loud yelping and snarling on her end and heart palpatations on my end we managed to wrestle her down and get her bandage off yesterday.  She’s able to move around more freely now and even go outside again, which means there’s some tail wagging once more, but she’s making it very clear that she blames me for the entire ordeal which means there is NO tail wagging in my direction.  When I come in the house, NO tail wagging.  Anyone else…MUCH tail wagging.  If her tail is wagging for someone else then she will stop wagging her tail as soon as she sees me. 

Oh.  Hurt.  Hurt feelings.  Excuse me for having hurt feelings! *lol*  Who cried when the vet came?  Moi!  Who cried when Kelly cried?  Moi!  Who called the vet four times in the first place until he agreed to change an appointment in his full day schedule to make an emergency house call???  Moi!!!  And no wagging tail?  Crazy dog. 

Crazy owner, actually.  I just got laughed at for going to the store to buy a different jar of peanut butter because she wouldn’t eat the bargain brand stuff that I bought on sale.  I mix peanut butter on her dog food or she won’t eat it.  (uppity mutt) 

I thank you all on Kelly’s behalf for the good vibes and lovely wishes for her speedy recovery.  Animals companions are a very special gift of compassion and humour that fill our lives in ways nothing and no one else can. 

Steph

rough day for a friend

A friend who has provided me with solace when nothing and no one else could is really suffering today.  Kelly hurt her paw sometime in the night by twisting a toenail entirely around and backward.  The shock just to see the bloodied swollen paw this morning and the look in her eyes can’t be a fraction of the discomfort she felt yet she didn’t make a sound.  Just laid there with her head down.  Poor babe.  The vet just left and she’s well sedated but still crying a little.  Send some good vibes out for a sweet soul, will you?  She’s been an angel of mercy for me and deserves much in return.

Kelly
Kelly

 Steph

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.

steph

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.

steph

all souls need solace

My internet connection was down for a week and thereby shut me out of the Temple of Solace and Soul Food Cafe.  After a few days I realized that anywhere in Soul Food is my Temple of Solace from my surroundings.  The whole world seemed to get stuck on the “ugly channel” for a while.  And then somebody switched it to the “Seanna” channel again, and though that channel is a painful one, it is anything but ugly.  There’s so much love and beauty to be discovered in there. 

One of the reasons for getting a ferocious looking dog, and a dog who indeed would be ferocious if anyone broke in while I was asleep upstairs, is the lovely addition to the neighbourhood of the crack house on the corner of my block several houses to the right of mine.  They of course are not to be outshined by the neighbours three doors to my left who left such an enormous number of bags of garbage outside the city refused to take them away and the tenants let them rot by the sidewalk until they were overrun with rats.  Yes, rats.  Neighbours called to yell at The City, and The City called to yell at The Building Owner, and The Building Owner threw The Tenants out and there was quite a scene.

The rats came from the hazardous waste site that my property nears.  I say “nears” because there is an alley between my backyard and their storage yard.  It’s really called an “environmental waste storage facility“, but they are moving and the land being redeveloped into something friendlier.  I think.

I know everybody likes Spring, but winter’s snow covered the garbage in the alleys and streets and gulleys and ditches.  The snow has receded to reveal the same mess only now with colours muted slightly from last year’s garrulous hues. 

The brightest display this season was put on not by a showy flower but by flames shooting skyward from what we thought was the old St. Vincent De Paul building.  Coming home from dinner two nights ago we saw thick black smoke rising in the sky and followed it down to its obvious source:fire.  The fire appeared to be coming out of the building next to Beasley Park just around the corner from my house (inner city version of a “park”).  No fire trucks or police cars were on the scene so we called 911 and got through just as the first fire truck arrived on the scene and said “Never mind.  They’re just arriving.”  We drove around the block to park well out of the way and came back to discover that the building was not on fire, but just a car that was parked in front of it.  Totally engulfed in flames.  Must have had a full tank of gasWelcome to the neighbourhood!

Last night I dreamt that I was looking for my Seanna, sure that she couldn’t really be gone, that she must be around here somewhere.  Where’s my beautiful girl?  Where’s my beautiful babe?  Where’s that pretty smile hidin’?  Where’s she tuckin’ away them pretty hands?  I dreamt that I broke into her birth mother’s house, where Seanna died, to look for Seanna there.  Thinking that I’d been misinformed.  But no.  There was no sign of her.  Life had gone on with all of its kid stuff but not with Seanna.  They went on without her.

The world was such a pretty place when Seanna was here.  But then…I wasn’t living in this house…then.  Here.  This is a sad place.  I have been planting trees and ducking the bees buzzing the gorgeous scent of the blossoms on my apricot tree.  Tomorrow I will take pictures for you, but today is a migraine headache day.  Damn the sun!  Ow!!!!  I took a small wayward seedling of plum from the back corner and planted it in the front.  And in the corner of the postage stamp lawn (where people throw garbage…argh!!!!) I dug up a section for a wee patch of garden.  There are peonies, something that will reveal itself when it blooms, and a tiny tree replanted from the kitchen garden.

My eyes are filled with ugly images and the promise of beauty alike.  I wonder which will follow me into my dreams tonight.  I’m looking for something.  I need something.  I need solace.  This house, this home, must become my own temple of solace.

steph

Sunday

Depression and sorrow have turned me into a cat.  I have a constant craving for soft, warm places to lie down where no one will bother me until it’s time for my next feeding.  I stare dazedly out the patio doors watching, waiting for something interesting to wander past.

Speaking of which…the other day my partner wandered past me wearing a shirt printed with the words WE ARE WHAT WE REPEATEDLY DO, and I thought with great dismay, “Oh my god!  I’m nothing!  I’ve been reduced to nothing!”

 A deeply imbedded survival instinct urges me – absolutely INSISTS! – that I Never Stop Trying.  This instinct is there for a reason.  Bred in the bone.  A gift, no doubt.  I trust it.  But depression is not a ‘normal’, healthy instinct.  It’s an abberation, and error in my programming.  It creates special rules for survival, like Don’t Fight.  Resistance to depression deepens it, like struggling in quicksand: it will just make you sink faster.

 Activity can pull me up out of a depressoin, but only at the right time.  This round of depression is taller, wider, deeper and longer than any I’ve experienced in many years.  It was made monolithic by several months of nerve-shattering tension and then by great loss and acute grief. 

 I at least have imaginings of making art.  This is a significant Something.  But lying down and imagineering things doesn’t LOOK like activity, and so this doing nothing (seemingly) isn’t earning me the praise and respect (though not quite scorn, either) of the people around me.  Even those that love me dearly are looking askance. 

 They will just have to keep looking.  Desire will not come at my bidding.  Enthusiasm is too quick and elusive for me still. 

Steph