Monday, October 20, 2008

Why I'm "Lucky"

I have been listening to I Will Follow you into the Dark which is probably one of the most asinine ideas (and songs) that show up all over the place, an AB fantasy. That whenever one of them dies, the other will too.

Life is for the living. I tried to get outside today. I didn’t but I will try again. Yes, sometimes I wish I was dead, but I’ve NEVER wished that Linda die simply because I do. That’s because I am not a narcissist, like our culture seems to be. When my Grandfather died, my Grandmother got lovers; admittedly having already MARRIED lovers in a care home doesn’t go down well on visiting day.

If I love Linda, I want her to continue: to live a full life, to love again, to meet someone she wants to spend the rest of her life with. I hope she waits until I am a bunch of ashes in a box first, that’s all. I want her to take trips, to have fun, to laugh without restraint. Heck, I want to do that now, it just doesn’t seem that with the stresses on us, to be possible, but maybe worth fighting for.

I know a lot about not wanting to be alive, about wanting to be anywhere but HERE: this place, this existance. I know about depressions so severe the pain is so severe it is hard to breathe, the pain in the bones such that it is hard to know how the blood circulates. Styron wrote that he slept on his left side in hoping of tiring his heart of beating. I know that, I knew that for years, decades. I still contend that my greatest victories were accomplished in the hours I sat sit, and did….nothing. I did not get a rope to hang myself, I did not get a butchers knife, I did not throw myself down the stairs, I did not throw myself in front of a train (though I was caught once by a student of mine climbing over the railing to do just that). No, I sat there, and I survived, even if it meant gripping the chair. Mostly because of Linda. If they want to make a song, they should make a song about staying here for someone, because that is what happened. I stayed, and tried, and tried and did different meds and came out and one day, one month, I had more days I wanted to be alive than dead.

I didn’t make that happen, some people will suffer from depression that is an illness I would not wish on anyone, for their whole life. I got lucky.

Right now I have 12 deep bleeder cuts on my right inside arm, five on the outside, two on the bicep, and six on the left arm, three or four on the collarbone (non-bleeders) and three on the jugular (non-bleeders). And I don’t remember why they are there (they are over a day old). Obviously I must have believed I was a bad person, a very bad person. I did it with scissors apparently which amazes me because as AB, I never could get enough force to cut with scissors, but a couple of these are quite deep, on a person with minimal circulation. But because of the Seizure, which may or may not be connected emotionally, I can’t remember. But I know I was in a dark place. I’m not going to take pictures of the cuts because this isn’t a contest and cutters sometimes get “triggered” by pictures. I don’t hide them, because this is a part of whole I am. But I suppose it is rather sad. Still, I consider myself lucky.

I am lucky because I know what it feels like to want to live, to be alive, to be fully in the moment, to be happy without regret. I have done things that made people happy and seen the happiness on their face. I have used my ‘powers’ across five or six languages and a couple continents and had experiences of genuine contentment. And I have shared these with Linda. Whatever is happening now, or this week or season doesn’t take that away, as long as I have one memory of it.

Does it make me sad that I am under such stress or unhappiness that I returned to cutting, to wanting to destroy myself so bad I CLAW at myself? Yes. But while that is a part of who I am, and will likely a part in the future, it will not be the majority of who I am.

I have met Cheryl, who I wish I had met years ago, but I didn’t and so the time we have is now. And much of it, I can tell by picture, I can’t remember. But that doesn’t take away from what I have. THIS is living. This also happens to be dying, which is why I can’t remember. It is also why I don’t need to believe in miracles. I was thirsty and you gave me drink: I have people in my life, people who I have never met who have taken parts of themselves and given them to me. I have cards, and postcards, and I have someone who takes off work to watch over me, someone who didn’t know who I was until maybe a year ago. And I have a partner who has had to take over responsibilities no one should have to: being a protector, being a caregiver as well as a partner and trying to keep all the roles straight. And trying every day to do better…..for me. Is there a great gift than that?

I know that whatever happens, that three things are sure. 1) I will definitely annoy someone in authority. 2) I have at least two people’s hands I trust to hold, and who will, by simply by being there, make it the one safe place in the world for me. 3) That I am a better person because of the people I have met and corresponded with online. If there had been no people to trust me, I would not have gotten the idea for the postcard project. If two specific people had not spontaneously sent me packages to cheer me up, I would not have thought to sent packages to make other people happy. If a specific doctor had not written to tell me to kick butt when it seemed I was all alone against the medico’s, I would not have realized that I am not alone. I am become a better person, a more aware person, hopefully a caring person, but also a challenged person because of number three – the people online. You make me more. Whether it is someone riding a bike while I do a 10K, or someone who didn’t leave me when the strip left me, or the people who have sent me pictures to cheer me up. It challenges me. I am here, I am, on some nights, carried back to the computer after seizures because I refuse to go to bed until I have fulfilled my promise to my friends.

As for number two, I could extol Cheryl’s virtues: she has an unending ability for turning a sexual innuendo, she can totally perv out and um, “enjoy” the sights of nature, as well as those created in animation! She probably has the hots for Betty from the Flintstones. Oh wait, those are only virtues to me. For me there is only one thing that I can say about Cheryl; that in all conditions, in all circumstances, she did not leave. She was there, and she cares. And I would die happy if I could see her in a corset (Zing!).

When I was a youth in the UK, I saw this 10 year old boy on a fallen tree above the brambles; “Jump” I told him, to come over to my fallen log, “I’ll catch you.” He jumped. He didn’t jump directly into my arms, so I grabbed him, held him to my chest as I fell off the log with my back to the ground. The brambles torn into my back and arms until I hit ground, but the boy was safe. He bounced up and bounded away.

In my life, if I commit, I will be there. I have found it…less so with others. I do not trust others. Or rather, I trust one thing about others; they fail.

Cheryl told me she would catch me. She did. I don’t know what the cost has been to her but I know it costs her, physically, financially and otherwise. I don’t ask because how can I second guess the choice she made; which was to keep her word. That’s Cheryl. She came for me (And I believe if you had come, back then, you would have fought and I would be a different person, because I would have fought too).

Linda, well, I suppose you could say that Linda is religion. You can believe in what you want, but Linda does it. No, she is not perfect. But she loves, and loves and even when she gets mad, she comes back and loves again. She heals the wounded, she tends the broken hearted, she gives sight to the blind, she frees the prisoner, being there for every nightmare and she has proclaimed the liberty, the freedom of the captive. I did not know how empty was my soul until you filled it. Because of you, Linda, I not only relearned what "wonder" was at seeing the world, I learned to share it. The rest is just how it plays out in life. Sometimes up, sometimes down, but as long as you are there, I WILL eventually sleep well, I will be at peace.

And authorities: I have a hatred for two things, bullies and hypocrites and believe me, men might be loud about it but women are experts at it. And women in positions of authority, where the most vulnerable can be found there will also be bullies and hypocrites. If you get paid to care, and you don’t, then I will expose you; and you will punish me. And I will expose you again. Certainly there are guys who do this, but since I am out of sports mostly and into “healthcare” it is a predominately female driven group. And if I can’t get at least a few people fired and one put in jail before I shuffle this mortal coil, then I’m just not trying hard enough. Haha. I laugh becuase I will not cry at a culture that doesn't want to see that someone who puts their vanity of authority ahead of care while preying on the weakest and most vulnerable members of society; they are the lowest parasites amoung us. I would that their name become synonymous with mistreatment, that they get nothing but an anonymous cleaning job the rest of their lives. Because ANYONE entrusted with care of people who are unable to protect themselves and who abuse them, be it verbally, emotionally, physically, or all of them has broken a sacred tenet. And while the Furies may be on retirement, I am not.

So, the end of the matter is this. Life is living. Yes, it sucks, it cuts you like a blade. It leaves you alone, it leaves you aching, it has times where you cry and don’t even know the name of the emotion which leaves you in that state. But if you have a memory of a blue sky, or a cat pouncing, or some private joy, then it can happen again. It took me over 20 years to find one person, and another 10 to find another. Yet, I AM lucky. And all the pain and seizures, and ripped muscles or loss of function or drooling or heart stopping can’t take that away. So Linda, don’t die with me, just TRY not to sleep with a lot of married women, okay?


thea said...

Yes life for living very much. I don't know anyone who lives more intensely than you do, but the fact that you do is a good thing, a good way to show LIFE and love.

Support your mission to reform the dodgy powers of healthcare authority. Go for it.

Caroline said...

The love of my life was killed almost four years ago and it is not helpful to me when people say "he would want you to be happy, he wouldn't want you to be alone" - well duh! I completely get what you are saying and absolutely agree - the trouble is, when he died I couldn't help but die a bit with him. Don't get me wrong - I laugh, I work, I have fun but I cannot imagine dating let alone falling in love, I wish I could, I am lonely, but it just isn't possible, the space he filled is still full of him, irrespective of the fact he is physically gone.I have felt a certain amount of pressure to get out there, pressure which I am sure is well meant but I sometimes want to say "the dog didn't die, this isn't like getting a new puppy" I think Linda will decide for herself but I hope she doesn't feel she has to "move on" (hideous phrase) any faster than she wants to, that one has to be completely her choice

Victor Kellar said...

Beautiful words, beautiful pictures.

I have never understood this selfish compulsion to "go together" or "take you with me" Do these people think they are Eygptian royalty or something?

If I went today, of course I would not want Collette to "come with me" because that would be too soon. Why would I want her to end too soon, just because I did? She has lived with me for about half her life now ... maybe living without me for a while would be her reward for such agony (just kidding .. a little)

Elizabeth, I'm glad to read about the fight still in you, I know there are times where you don't want to fight, you don't have the envergy to fight, and I understand that but on a totally selfish level, I still like to see a glimmer of EFM now and then

Neil said...

And after 50 years, I found YOU, dear Beth. You have made me a better person without ever being able to meet you in person.

And I must say that your writing is as powerful as ever. You've still got it, dear, even if you've also got a swiss cheese omelet for a brain.

As for one person following another into death, I always did think Romeo and Juliet were bloody fools. Old Will's pen should never have allowed them to meet.

One again, beautiful images, Beth. I think the girl in the second last picture has been put on too much of a pedestal; but I'm jealous of her boots. I do wish I could find something that looked that nice on me and still be fashionable. Of coures, trying to find it in a size 14 (49 or 50? in British sizes??) would be another problem entirely.

Zen hugs and positive thoughts for the ripped-up muscles and shoulders,

Anna said...


I really hope meeting with specialist went well. I Imagine all your blogreaders round their world keep our fingers crossed and pray to whatever deity we believe in. PLEASE get E some help!

ALSO thank you for your gift that lay on my carpet when I got home after a busy day. One of the gifts was a mouse pad, you're right the image wit a dreamer suited me perfectly. And the children motive to. BUT You kindly wrote I could donate it to the childrens department. I WILL NOT, I WILL KEEP IT FOR ME:) Because it's so pretty and I want it on my desk with my computer and my officemates will admire it:) The flowerbookmark I will use for the new swedish gothnovel I will read tonight.


Thank you so much.

Veralidaine said...

I am worrying about you a little seeing no comments yet, but I hope that you are sleeping and/or making out with Linda, not having seizures or something totally unfun like that.

And, YOU GO EFM on getting people fired and thrown in jail before you shuffle off the ol' coil. I want to see Beacon burned to the ground (metaphorically, please do not get a torch yet!) before this is over and all the illiterate, abusive, uncaring "care"givers in the unemployment line. Same for the specialists who deny you pain relief.

wendryn said...

Beautiful post.

Not sure what else to say.

Devi said...

Yes, yes. Well put, very well put, every word of it.

OneSick said...

I don't get the "follow me into death" thing either. Very presumptuous on a lot of levels.

I do remember feeling rather resentful of me Dad marrying again after my mother died, but I was seven then. I have a different opinion of it now.

And to continue a thread we started in your last post: Hell YES I have seizures! But I prefer to call them "fits". Most of the background is in my profile.

In fact, that is the reason I am disabled. I have EDS and syringomyelia and some other unfun stuff, but the fits are the reason I cannot work.

...and why I am so passionate about you getting some treatment for your own 'fits'.

Seizures BAD.


rachelcreative said...

Wow. Beautifully written post. Your words really move me.

I love that final picture - the blue sky and the light falling through the branches of the tree.

cheryl g said...

Wow, such a beautiful post. I wish I had met you years ago too but I am glad to make as many memories as I can with you now. I will keep being here, keep reaching out and I will catch you.

Linda is an amazing person. Her love for you is a tangible thing. You are two people who were truly meant to be together. I am glad Linda kept at it until she convinced you of that.

The community that has grown around this blog is also full of amazing, generous, caring people and I am proud to be part of this group.

As for authority figures… I will cheerfully help you raze Beacon to the ground. I would be happy to see your GP get a clue (especially if said clue smacks him up side the head a few times). I have no use for hypocrites and bullies and often wish karmic retribution was instantaneous.

I love the pictures you used and as for your words – I am so very touched. I love you Sis!

yanub said...

That was beautiful, Beth. Absolutely beautiful. And it's true, you are lucky. We are all lucky, if we have someone we love, someone who loves us, a community that includes us, and a role to play. It is the little lights that get us through the dark, the student who stopped you climbing the fence, you catching the boy though it meant harming yourself. For me, it was a lady who let me in ahead of her in line when I was facing a serious deadline in ten minutes. No matter what else, I keep replaying that in my head, how kind she was at a moment that really counted for me, even though she couldn't have known that I would likely have killed myself if I missed that deadline, that it would have just been too much more to take.

The postcards are in the mail now! Here's to speedy delivery!

Abi said...

Although it pains me to follow the crowd, I must state that I found this post to be particularly beautiful and moving.

Somebody I always remember with a lot of gratitude is a lady who lifted me off the monkey bars when I was small and stuck, and the ground seemed an awfully long way away.

Lisa Moon said...

Yes, indeed; a most beautiful post. I am so very glad that you have two such amazing women in your life. I'd happily take that over a city worth of 'friends' and money which only buys things, not people (not the ones I'd want, at least).

Not having met you in person, I can still feel so clearly your love for Linda and hers for you; I especially loved the photos of you both in the video that L & C made for you!

What perfect pictures you chose to illustrate your post.

As for being pervy: is is pervy to get kinda... um, oogly over a drawing?! There was todays, but I'm really thinking of the girl with glasses and overals that were slipping tantalizingly off her perfectly... CARTOON breast! Yikes, I AM a perv (not a suprise, but...)! Who knew I'd notice a DRAWING, though! LOL!

Tammy said...

When I was in my severe depression, I came to realize, dying is easy, living is the hard part.
Beautiful. Linda is a beautiful person, inside and out and the love you two share is the stuff of legends. I'm glad Cheryl came into your lives. She definitely shows what caring and friendship truly is.
I hope all went okay with the neurologist. I'm so nervous for you.

Laura said...


So often your words have left me spellbound and speechless. This is not just another one of those times. This has to be the pinnacle of those times.

The only words that I can say is, Bravo fine Lass, Bravo.


Lene Andersen said...

Darn tootin' - dying with your beloved isn't romantic. Ever read a poem called The Dead Woman by Pablo Neruda? I'll read it to you when we talk if you haven't. You'll like it.

"The Furies may be in retirement, but I'm not". Wonderful, powerful and funny line.

I'm glad you found people who've caught you and continue to do so.

Beautiful post.

Raccoon said...

I like the girl in the flowing robe with the sword. The girl on the pedestal is a close second.

Murder suicide in fits of anger, those I understand. Dragging someone along "just because" not so much.

Today... today was you giving thanks, publicly, to all of us, but I think most specifically to Linda. It's not always easy to do something like that.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Thea: thanks, well, it turns out I got beaten down very quickly the next day, but I think I may have irked him a little (I asked questions).

Caroline: I am very sorry for your loss and I appreciate you sharing that point of view - yes, it wasn't the family pet. I guess I should stop having late night conversations with Linda on who she might want to consider dating (Sadly this is true!). The thing is, I only want to be happy and I DON'T want to be the presence in the room when I am gone, I want her to go on, but yes, she is a person and that loss will have to be dealt with at her own time. Ironically our greatest fears was her getting cancer or dying first because I tend to act very quickly and decisively (hence the cutting), and she said she was putting in her will that I was to be watched 24/7 for a considerable period. I don't know how to help her in the future. I just don't know.

Victor: I am glad you understand, I think that idea is romantic when love is young maybe, but real love knows that cutting another person off, like denying them to apply for a job or go to uni becuase you don't want them to change isn't real love.

I like having a bit of fight, however tiring it may be. I also refuse to be defined by what is dominating me, even if I don't know how to refuse it and succeed. And that includes despair.

Neil: the woman on the pedestal was my vision of the way VIHA and Beacon look at me! which is why I oppose it. I am glad you feel that I made a difference in your life. Certainly you have made a difference in mine (offering gummy worms as medicinal treatment?).

Demonia offers large sizing, I don't know if that large, I will see what other types of boots I have, as European sizing in goth/alternative wear tends to be gender neutral so some of my shops might have your boots!

Anna: I am very glad we caught a vision or aspect of you in the mousepad and that it pleased and that you like the bookmark. I am afraid that the Gods say, "one more time" regarding getting help.

Veralidaine: To tell the truth, I was having a hard time getting out of bed, I had dread before and pain upon me, so I lay until I fought my way free. Sometimes it takes a bit longer. But I made it.

Wendryn: Thanks, I think, I hope, I think of you. I hope you got something in the post too!

Devi: Thank you. Thanks very much.

One Sick: well, having had just a few months (I think) of 'fits' I wish them on no one and yes, I could see with post ictal state that it would be hard to work and I would want people to get treatment. Your statement about emotional liability being a micro seizure made sense to me and Cheryl who observes me more medically.

My shoulder finally reset itself with a very loud CRUNCH, so that was my EDS experience, which I would not want to go though daily, particularily with tension tonic seizures. So, I gained a glimmer of what you cope with on a daily basis and my respect grew.

Yes, well, I am sorry to your seven year old self but I am glad your father found happiness

Rachel: Thank you, I am glad you found them moving. I wanted to articulate what people do not until it is too late.

I wonder if that is the photographer in you loving that picture, I like the one with the girl staring at the snow in wonder - I want that feeling again.

Cheryl: I am sorry how much I have depended on you the last few days, I promise if life will leave me alone a few hours that I will try to do the same to you.

I just want an life where I can make some memories but either way, I am glad I met you and I remember some of it. It was worth it.

cheryl g said...

Stop apologizing Sis. I give you everything I am and everything I have freely and without reservation. I want to be there for you - to be there to catch you or help Linda catch you.