Posts tagged ‘If I Stay’

Brothers in Arms.

Spoiler Alert: I am going to be talking about Gayle Forman’s new book – ‘Where She Went’, the follow-up to her best-selling ‘If I Stay’.

Today’s song; as the title suggests: Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits.

Yesterday there were news reports of two bodies found in an apartment on Queensland’s Gold Coast. This was closely followed by a car wanted by police description and a missing child alert. I try to keep away from the news, I really do. I know that bad things happen, but selfishly know there’s only so many of them I can handle. On hearing the missing child alert my pulse stated to pound in my ears, increasing in volume until my head felt like it might explode from the sound. My whole body clenched around the word ‘Please’ even while my inner voice screamed ‘No! No! NO!’. By the time I went to bed police were confirming another two bodies had been found, in that wanted car, and that, yes, one was the five year old girl.

Whatever my beliefs, or lack of, about the afterlife one thing I hold onto is that the little girl suffers no longer, and for that I am truly grateful. So much of yesterday’s events echoed my past experiences that it was like a teleport sucking me back. I am still struggling today. I left the house this morning, only to realise that it was not good to be far from home. I made it to a taxi before the tears poured down my face. Daughter Number Two was with Baby Daddy and the boys at school, so I climbed into bed and hid under my covers, and tried, and failed, to stop my shaking. Now, here I am, with you, purging myself. Or giving it my best bloody shot anyway.

It is presumed that one of the bodies initially found yesterday is the girl’s mother. When I heard that I actually felt relief for her, and envy. Not that she had died a horrific and violent death, but that she doesn’t have to live with the aftermath of her daughter’s murder, that her suffering is over. Of course, there are always those left behind. It transpires today one of those left behind in this instance is a toddler, a little boy not even two. His life shaped, defined by loss and pain. How much of that will be woven into his self-image, his self-worth? There is before and there is after.

I related to Gayle Forman’s best seller ‘If I Stay’ because every day I am still here it is a conscious decision to stay. I loved her book because, like ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold, it spoke to me in a voice similar to my Daughter Number One’s. She pulls no punches and it is the realism that penetrated and made me feel less alone. That continues in her follow-up ‘Where She Went’, which talks about what happens next. What happens after a life altering tragedy. Written from the character Adam’s perspective the descriptions of his alienation and the effects on his life – to say it struck a chord would be an understatement. Again, so well written. It reinforced for me that the decisions I am making now are the ones I need to be making if I am to continue to wake up each morning deciding to stay. I’ve always known that no-one can save me but myself, but now I am starting to believe I might actually be capable of it. It is work, a damned hard thankless grind, and on day’s like yesterday and today I stumble. But I get up again.

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, I don’t think I have used this forum before to say what I think about the Police. Watching efforts like yesterday’s, and having had first hand experience, it needs to be said that they do one of the toughest job’s there is. The officers I had the privilege to meet truly went above and beyond in trying to find Daughter Number One, and then, when all was lost, in their efforts to assist me in any way they could. They came to her funeral and genuinely mourned her loss. In my last post I touched on the best of humankind. They are among the best.

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Good Day Sunshine

Here we are at the start of another week. It has been a good day today. I have been productive around the house, including cooking a roast lamb dinner and pumpkin soup which is still simmering away in the slow cooker. The pumpkin soup was inspired by Son Number One, who brought home a pumpkin from his class garden. It has been chilly today so totally the perfect weather for making roasts and soups. The whole house just smells divine.

 

‘ If I Stay’ by Gayle Forman is still giving me heaps of food for thought.  It was further reinforcement for me that to live, truly live, requires choice and effort. Daughter Number One did not have any choice in how or when she died but while she was here she really lived. I treasure her school ruler on which she wrote ‘(her name) LOVES LIFE’, because she truly did. She threw herself into every opportunity and laughed alot and loved alot. After she died I made the choice to continue living, not just existing, and I am trying my best.

 

‘If I Stay’ also highlighted for me again how important the people in our lives are, how at the end of the day they are what matters. The connections we make, the people we touch, the ones who touch us. I am so lucky to have such a wealth of beautiful people in my life. They are such a gift. My children, my family, my family of the heart.

 

On her web page Gayle Forman makes a reference to Young Adult Fiction writers not being considered ‘serious’ writers. She also expresses her preference for writing to that audience. This interests me as some of my all time favourite books are from that genre. I have been mulling this over and I think possibly I can understand her preference. I think, if it were me, I would enjoy writing for Young Adult’s because they have enough insight and awareness to grapple with complex ideas and emotions plus they are still open to limitless possibilities and potential. Sweeping generalisations I know but to me it seems Young Adult’s sit on the cusp of their independent lives with everything ahead of them, ready to explore with their hopeful and questioning souls.  

 

That is what my Daughter was like.

 

Just put on a happy face

I haven’t posted for a couple of days. I have hit a bit of a slump and it hasn’t really inspired me to write. But I sort of  feel I’ve made some kind of commitment here, even if it is only to myself, so here we go.

 

The downward trajectory seems to be fueled by the reality that I will have to leave Daughter Number Two for several days in the not too distant future. Just thinking about it is making me anxious.  And stressed. Depressed. Nauseous. Exhausted. The usual suspects. Mainly I feel like I am letting my Daughter Number Two down, that by not being able to be in two places at once I am failing her. I am failing in my responsibility to keep her from harm.

 

That train of thought takes me on an express trip to my feelings of failure, guilt and responsibility around Daughter Number One’s death. All road’s lead to Rome, which is I guess why my psych has been hardlining me about the whole forgive yourself thing. I wonder how many metaphors I can use in one paragraph?

 

Anywho, as usual I have been fighting the good fight and employing strategies to at least slow the decline. Today I read my favourite blogs and visited my favourite web pages. I pulled myself together enough to do some housework. I spoke to the Current Person of Interest. I’ve been trying not to eat too much crap and attempting to get adequate sleep. But it’s hard, hard , hard, hard, hard!

 

I finished reading ‘If I Stay’ by Gayle Forman last night. I probably should have left it until I was a bit more emotionally stable but who knows when that might be? Anyhow, it is a compelling and powerful book which like ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold allowed me to hear my Daughter Number One’s voice within it’s pages. Gayle Forman and more about the book can be found at www.gayleforman.com .

 

That’s it from me for today. Hopefully I’ll be back soon.

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