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.