Posts tagged ‘fear’


To the Students of Stoneman Douglas High School,

There are not words to convey how sorry I am for what has happened to you all. On a day most associated with love, in a place that should be associated with growth the magnitude of the horror you have experienced and continue to experience is almost incomprehensible.

I don’t pretend to know what you are going through but my heart bleeds as I imagine you going from funeral to funeral, from hospital bed to hospital bed. Even just going from day to day, as you navigate this, your new normal.

This Sunday, my eldest Daughter would have been turning 29. She would have been, but she was murdered aged 14. I don’t pretend to know what you are going through so I will speak to what I do know.

I know that all these years later, my Daughter’s friends still say her name.

You will move on from this. You won’t have a choice. Time rolls on regardless. I hope you can hold on to your outrage but not let it rob you of all that is beautiful in life. None of you have chosen this but you will get to have some choice about what you carry with you into your futures. Or how you carry it into your futures. Honouring your friends and your teachers but also, importantly, honouring yourselves. Take it one step at a time.

I hope that you can ask for help if you need it. I know that you will not forget. More than anything else, I hope that you see the change you are fighting so hard for.

Safe onward travel x




Trigger warning: Trauma, loss, grief, PTSD.

As predicted it has been a very crappy week. Tomorrow I will be heading off on a plane to the wedding, which for me is a very good thing. Life affirming. Can’t come fast enough really and just in the nick of time. Because of the stress I have been under my nightmares have ramped up a bit. Not surprising really and tedious definitely, but that is life. My life, to be precise.

In the early hours of this morning I woke up with a start. That doesn’t really do it justice. I woke up unable to breathe with my back arching up off the bed as I desperately attempted to get air into my lungs. I frantically searched beneath my pillow in the dark with my hand for my inhaler, my heart hammering so hard that it felt like it was breaking through my ribs before falling back inside my chest cavity with a thud.

I don’t remember the entire nightmare, just that right before I woke up there was a female figure standing in front of me and she set herself alight. I watched her hair catch and whoosh up in flames and her features melt and blacken, her disappearing eyelid exposing the entire eyeball. I don’t remember recognising her as someone I knew but then she wasn’t foreign either. In truth I don’t want to think about it too much or examine her too closely. Maybe she is me but definitely she is my Daughter Number One, crumpled and broken in a crushed lump of metal that used to be a car. The woman/girl in my nightmare is my reading the eyewitness reports and the words of a newly minted police officer as he described the smell of burning flesh. It is seeing the mangled metal remains of the vehicle and the perfectly preserved McDonald’s fries in a bag under the charred mess and mounds of ash of god knows what in the passenger foot well. It is not being able view my Daughter’s body or dress her for her funeral. It is a post mortem report I read and photo’s my solicitor refused to let me see. It is Bali bombing victims all over the news. The figure in my nightmare is all these things and so many more, layer upon layer (like the old advertisement said) of thoughts and the associated emotions that assail me the instant my mind is concious. EVEN as I struggle for air, EVEN as I search frantically for the cold metal plastic combination of the inhaler with my fingers. INSTANTANEOUSLY. DEVASTATINGLY.

And no, it isn’t just a nightmare, or like a horror film, not real, or something I can just shake myself free of. The weight of it clings to me like a tar I can’t wash off. A cloying psychic cigarette smoke that permeates my being; stale and unpleasant and persistent long after the source is gone. I don’t enjoy it. It is not something I hold onto; I try to move my thoughts on. I employ various strategies learnt over long years, purposefully. And yet, here it is, 10pm and my chest has remained tight all day.

I finally fell back to sleep this morning and had another nightmare, I kid you not. Different but the same themes of trauma, pain, loss, grief. Some nights are like that. I’m not here asking for your sympathy. I’m not asking for your understanding – please know how genuinely HAPPY I am that for most of you, this is beyond comprehension. I’m also not asking for your judgement. If I could just move on I would. No one would choose this. And maybe I am weak, who knows? But any systemic vulnerabilities have been caused by numerous assaults on my being from various sources. Because you see, my worst nightmares have happened while I’ve been awake.

All that I’ll ask is that we be gentle with one another, that we be kinder. Because we all fight our own battles. And tomorrow I will try to be kinder to myself.

This morning I read this poem by Greysie. He has his own Greysie’s Poetry facebook page – it is powerful stuff. It’s not always pleasant or easy reading but it’s always real and I like the real. I liked this. It said it all.


I crept in while you were sleeping,
Laid waste to your mind,
I woke you up screaming,
Pain is all you’ll find.

I am always in your body,
Chewing on your soul,
Sleep is just a fantasy,
To destroy you is my goal.

As you woke in tears,
Another nightmare in your brain,
I’m already plotting further,
How I will drive you insane.

Keep you awake for hours,
You to scared to go to sleep,
To scared to close your eyes,
I intend to make you weep.

All the while surrounded,
With your friends who can not see,
That I’m tearing you apart inside,
I will never set you free.

I eat you inside out,
I will kill you in the end,
I am your enemy,
You will never call me friend.

I eat just under the surface,
So no one else can see,
All the while you in agony,
Terrified by what is me.

I am the Evil Clown,
It’s you that I taunt,
I’m hidden just around the corner,
It’s you that I will haunt.

I’m a door left open,
That stops you in your tracks,
I’m that tightening of your chest,
You can never just relax.

I’m the shadow walking past you,
That no one else can see,
That scares you to death,
I am you, you are me.

We are one until your end,
As that reality does sink in,
I am your Evil Clown,
I’ll tear you open from within.

You will never have respite,
This painful sorrow will never end,
There is nothing you can do,
Your brain will never mend.

I’m the blood that you still smell,
I’m the epitome of terror,
I’m horror after horror,
I am your forever.

I’m just around the corner,
I’m waiting just for you,
To terrorise you further,
There’s nothing you can do.

Written 21.7.14

Safe onward travel. Sleep tight x


What do I have in common with Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay and newly separated from Gwyneth Paltow, and a WW2 POW? Well may you ask my friends, well may you ask. I expect it is something many of us have in common, from varying degrees and for various reasons.

I watched the Railway Man with Colin Firth yesterday. It was a very good film. A high quality film. Even the presence of Nicole Kidman was tolerable – she wasn’t NICOLE KIDMAN!! so wasn’t too obtrusive. There was many things that resonated with me but most particularly a line in the film that went:

“We don’t live. We’re miming in the choir. We can’t love. We can’t sleep. We’re an army of ghosts.”

And that thought echoes around my head still – “We’re miming in the choir”. I don’t want to lip sync through my life, with someone else’s lyrics on my lips. I want to dance to the beat of my own drum. It is all too familiar though. The ‘We can’t sleep’ bit is obvious. The ‘Army of ghosts’ rings a bell. The love thing I work really hard at but all the time it is a fight against the soothing embrace of detachment. It would be so easy, so very easy, to not let anything or anyone touch my soul again but for me there would leave little point to my existence if I gave in to that.

Then I read this article about Chris Martin this morning and read this quote:

“About two years ago I was a mess, really, because I can’t enjoy the things that we are good at and I can’t enjoy the great things around me because I’m burdened by this,” Martin told BBC radio.

“I wouldn’t use the word breakdown — this was more a realisation about trying to grow up, basically. If you can’t open yourself up, you can’t appreciate the wonder inside. So you can be with someone very wonderful, but because of your own issues you cannot let that be celebrated in the right way.”

And you know, he says it in a roundabout way but you get the gist. Leave yourself open. Be mindful. Stay engaged. Live rather than exist.

Don’t mime in the choir; sing your damn heart out!

Safe onward travel x

photo (17)

Breaking up is hard to do.

The curl of your lips in a constant sneer

Your too tight embrace as you pull me near

Tears on my pillow beside you at night

Sapping my will ’til I’m too weak to fight

The smirk in your voice as you speak my name

I’m a joke, I’m your toy, I’m a freak, it’s a game

You want everything as it has been before

But, Fear, I’m just not your girl anymore.



I woke up feeling anxious this morning. The current person of interest and I had a minor misunderstanding last night. That is really all it was, nothing of any substance. But I had been floating around in a bliss bubble for a few days and I guess it hurts to fall back to earth. I am frustrated with myself about this. Frustrated because I feel like Maxwell Smart in the show’s (Get Smart) credits when he is walking away and all the different doors are clanging shut behind him. Frustrated because my reactions and feelings are so out of proportion with actual events. Frustrated because I don’t want to live a life ruled by fear but it is so much damn hard work not to just curl up and hide. Frustrated that my relationships and day to day life will always be seen through a prism of past betrayal.


On the plus side Daughter Number Two slept in until 8am. OH! MY! GOD! This is a miracle and as I couldn’t force myself to sleep until nearly 2am it was much appreciated. Just fyi, for comparison, Daughter Number Two was awake the night before from 11.30pm until 3am. Obviously she was catching up on some sleep but her timing was fab. Because it is Saturday I didn’t have to be up earlier to get the boys to school. It was very good! Decent sleep equals weird dreams and nightmares for me but I am kind of resigned to that being the price I pay. I can’t say I feel completely rested but I feel human and that’s a step in the right direction!!!


Also on the plus side; I had a call yesterday from a case management service. They are coming to see me next Thursday to discuss how they can help with support for Son Number One (Epilepsy, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD). I am quite exited by this. Like the respite I am hoping that this will mean big quality of life improvements for us all. Now if we could just get the appointment we are waiting on for Son Number One to have an MRI then things would really be falling into place. I do feel like I am managing things better on a day to day basis. I do feel like I am making progress, however slow.


So, I’m going to keep counting my blessings, and taking one step at a time. I’ve still got a few things to unpack and organise from my Nana’s and three kids to look after, so that should keep me busy! Cuddles from Daughter Number Two help alot too!





Ain’t no sunshine….

I had to say goodbye to the current person of interest today. I am moping about like a spoilt child. It is amazing how much you can get used to warm, comforting arms and kisses on tap, snuggling in bed against the winter cold, having someone around to laugh with, to talk to, to be silent with. My sons and I are not so good with people leaving. We’ve had too many for comfort. Being able to say goodbye to someone is infinitely preferable to not being able to say goodbye but it is still hard. My boys and I are only too aware that when someone leaves you they might never come back again.

As much as I do appreciate the distance and flexibility of this current arrangement that forces me to keep myself in check the down side is that it can feel tenuous and ethereal. There is not much for me to hold onto when the distance seems too great. Or maybe there is nothing to hold on to me? To ground me and stop me from spinning off into dark places of fears and doubts.

This is the first goodbye we have had where I haven’t had a future planned meeting to aim for. The future, which I try not to think about, stretches out unending and barren before me. It is easier to not think too far ahead when I can see the next busstop. Goodbyes are easier if they can be translated into see you later.

I  have no reason to think I will not see him again mind you but it is just too easy for my self doubts to creep in when there is a plane trip between us. They have a much tougher job when he is here for me to double check with, to answer any question on demand and to calm my internal struggles with his presence. One of the many things I love about the current person of interest is that he radiates calm. I may have mentioned this previously, I am not sure? He just has a very peaceful aura that I find extremely soothing.  I miss that too.

In other news I visited my Nana today. I am still struggling with seeing her little unit packed up, the last place she would live independently, her life broken down into boxes. In the six months before Daughter Number One died she would regularly stay at Nana’s and the fold out bed she slept in has now made it’s way to my garage. Saying goodbye to Nana’s little flat also meant severing another link to my daughter’s life. Somewhere that she had walked, had laughed, had breathed. Somewhere else that whispered to me ‘She was here! She was here!’

So, I saw my Nana today and we were there as her lunch arrived. I watched her eat her hot lunch with her fingers, even after I directed her to her cutlery. It was not traditional finger food by any stretch of the imagination. I watched as she struggled to recall the name for peas, even though she had called them by name a moment before. She exclaimed ‘Oh! I love this!’ at the sight of the ham steak before declaring a minute later that she had never had it  and asking me what it was. My sons, who remember the Nana of old, are confused and upset by her deterioration. They do not know what to say or to do. Little miss Daughter Number Two however gives Nana lots of cuddles and kisses whenever she asks, a privilege not afforded to anyone else. She soaks up Nana’s adoration and they compare teeth and laugh. They are good companions for each other, one at the start of her life and one nearing the close. Although they are at different stages and ages they share alot of common ground. I am so glad for them both that they have this time together and I am so grateful to my beautiful sister for the effort she has put in to make it possible.

Although my feet are dragging today I continue to put one foot in front of the other.

One step forward….

I am sick of waking up needing to take pain killers for a headache. At least today I don’t remember the nightmares I had during the night. I have discovered some interesting blogs lately. I hear echos of myself in them, with their themes of love, loss, betrayal, depression and growth. On the one hand their words make me feel a little less alone, a little less stupid. I rejoice in their small victories and they give me hope.


On the other hand it highlights for me the number of intelligent, generous, loving, funny people in the world getting done over by souless, parasitic liars. This is not a happy realisation. It literally gives me chills and sends me fleeing to a happy place in my head. I resist the urge to curl up and rock back and forth, but I can feel myself  retreating emotionally.  How? How? Why? Why? And how do you stop it from happening again? How do you trust someone? HOW DO YOU TRUST YOURSELF??


That is my big issue. I no longer trust my own perceptions. Which is why I question and analyze everything to the enth degree, but even that is a flawed process because it is me doing the analyzing. 

To learn from your mistakes gives you opportunity to grow. My mistakes have been so costly that I will be forever learning from them. At times I am paralyzed by the fear of doing anything. To do nothing seems safer. To feel nothing. To trust no-one. But then what is left? What is left of life if you feel nothing? do nothing? If you do not connect with other souls?

The sane voice in my head (how’s that for a contradiction in terms? ) says that to truly live my life I have to trust people. Not everyone to be sure, but some people. But how can I trust in my trust of others?? It is hard work. At the moment I am not up to the challenge.


I try not to let the events in my life define me, but today I can’t shake myself free. My whole body has been freezing cold all day and the chill has extended to my heart. Maybe if I give in to the cold I will no longer feel the pain? Perhaps I will just be numb? Maybe the pain is from the continual struggle to feel the suns warmth again? In my one step forward two steps back existence today is definitely a two steps back day. I am so scared. I am so scarred.  

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