I think I’ve used this song title as a post title before but it’s appropriate and I cannot be fucked to check, so that’s that then. It will be in two parts, so hold on to your seat – we’re in for a wild ride. There will be strong emotion and strong language – you’ve been warned.
Lori, over at RRSAHM, wrote a post recently about grieving publicly. She ended with the words “There’s just that deep, black grief… and getting through it. Any damn way you can.” As regular readers know three days ago it was the ninth anniversary of my Daughter Number One’s repeated rape and murder. Just because that day CLEARLY wasn’t hard enough I received the following email (all spelling and grammatical errors as per original):
My heart goes out to you today, it has gone out to you every day since I was told what you’ve been through… a day you will no doubt be reliving minute by minute, hour by hour in it’s ugly entirety to mark a time no-one will ever be able to comprehend what it has been like to walk the marathon in your shoes.
By default we know each other… albeit from a distance, which may in fact never change after this message, … if it doesn’t, I will understand.
I don’t claim to be psychic, nor advertise openly what some people may interpret as a ‘gift’. That it is not! XXXX only as of only a few minutes ago is aware of it, and I am prepared for what potentially may happen to our friendship as a result. I am hoping she’s known me long enough to realise I’m not a freak (it’s ok because I sometimes think I am)…perhaps a little wierd, but not totally psycho (but hey there’s always potential ;)). It is however, a casualty that will be out of my hands, one I am prepared for as I have done with my marriage and other special relationships with people in the past I have lost, so I can remain true to myself. I have only said this so you can hopefully understand that I don’t take lightly intruding into your grieving space, without what I believe to be good reason. Well honey, Sam sure as shit isn’t giving me much of an option, and I’m sorry but I’m not having her piggy backing my ass until I eventually admit defeat and do it anyway.
My so-called ‘gift’ is being an occasional ‘portal’ … a messenger girl if you like. It is very rare that I am seconded…usually only in extreme cases, which I’m not even aware of until the time. And for Sam it is now. I had no idea until this-morning…and she has been up my ass (figuratively speaking) the past four hours and is not giving in until you hear her out… Man she is one persistent woman!
She will only come through the once, that is their promise to me and my rules, so I am not an ongoing portal…that is something you have to refine and tap into over time… so go and make yourself a cuppa, grab some tissues coz we’re going to have a chat.
Ok, before she starts she wants you to raise your right hand, ..
Now give yourself a bitchslap mum! And another one for good measure…and then a hug….
I love you mum, I don’t think I ever really showed you how much…to me you were and still are and always will be so beautiful…no-one or nothing can ever take that away mum, not ever. I have hovered around watching you rot for so many years, I hear your thoughts, I watch you cry and feel your pain and relive what happened day in day out with you…
But enough is enough because I’m not completely the fuck (sorry) dead (she’s pissed off) yoo-hoo I am still here.. I may not be there in person buy hey, look at it as a daughter with benefits… you don’t have to wash or cook or clean up after me. I know it’s not the same and yeah I’d rather be there to, but that sure ain’t going to happen, so just work with me a bit.
What’s done is done and I’m ok really, it’s kinda groovy over here anyway so will you quit reliving this shit, it’s getting boring and so yesterday. You don’t even know it but what happened to me happened for a reason, and as my legacy we are both now working as a team so other people can get help.. It is through my story…our story mum, that they are doing that. I know you can’t see me, and your pain and guilt numbs you from being able to feel or hear me, but I am here. Talk to me sometimes, come for a walk or write me a letter… hell take me for a burger, and you will feel me come through (yeah journal idea was mine so don’t blame XXXX or XXX). I’ll play a song on the radio sometimes and you’ll know it’s me, just listen…listen with your mind’s eye… and smile, please smile, I loved your smile. Ok that’s all…oh one other thing I love you lots and lots and to the stars and back and around the moon… Big hugs mumma… I’ll be here and dry your tears, I’m not going anywhere.
I don’t know what to say now Kate… it is what it is and up to you if you choose to take it on board or not.
I hope you’re ok and we do get to meet one day, which if it is meant to happen, will, in it’s own time and space.
Whatever will be will be.
Take special care.
Ok then. Just to get you guys up to speed you should know that I HAVE NEVER MET this person. They are a friend of a very recent friend. To say that receiving such an email, particularly on that day, was distressing in the extreme would be an understatement of mammoth proportions. The sheer audacity that this stranger had in offering her unsolicited fantasy is breath-taking. I am not discounting that there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio. I am open-minded about most things. But today I am not. Today I AM ANGRY.
Let’s break it down blow-by-blow, shall we? Because that’s what it felt like, the first time I read it; physical blows to my body that left me violently shaking and nauseous and crying, not to mention the instant upgrade to pounding headache that came with it. I already had the usual bonus physical symptoms anyway. The all over soreness and stiffness from holding tension in my body, even as I slept; the shaking and the headache were constant too, but now increased exponentially. The roaring of a deluge of flashbacks filled my head; “They are both gone.” “You won’t need to identify the body, but we are sure it’s her. Can you tell us where her dental records are held?” “Were you thinking cremation or burial?” and on and on and on and on. And I forwarded the email to The Man I Am In Love With (hereafter referred to as The Incredible Hunk) and ran from the room. The Incredible Hunk’s Daughter had a pupil free day so was at home with us and I didn’t want to collapse in front of her.
When I had calmed myself enough to read it again incredulity slammed me. What this COMPLETE STRANGER had felt compelled to share with me, on the ninth anniversary of my Daughter’s death was that the first thing my Daughter wanted to give me, after nine long years, was a “bitchslap mum! And another one for good measure”. Righto. That’s worth repeating really, just so we can all get our head’s around it. The first thing my beautiful, kind, thoughtful, caring, loving, gentle Daughter, who left my life nine years ago and now has the opportunity to finally make contact with me, wants, is to get me to give myself a “bitchslap mum! And another one for good measure”. Well, guys, I’ve got to tell you, that WAS worth waiting for!
This COMPLETE STRANGER feels the need to share with me that my Daughter doesn’t think she ever really showed me how much she loved me. My Daughter showed me she loved me EVERY day, in so many different ways. My Daughter, who literally gave her life to protect those she loved. Hell of a way to prove a point but I’m certain that where ever she is, my Daughter is not worrying that I didn’t know how much she loved me.
“I have hovered around watching you rot for so many years” – Ok, well, thanks for that. Actually, I have not been rotting, just grieving an incredible loss. And my Daughter was one of the least judgemental people you could ever hope to meet. After all these years of living with my loss I don’t use or abuse drugs – except those prescribed which I take as prescribed, I don’t abuse alcohol, I might have one drink a year, if that (Shut up Richard!), I don’t even smoke. I see my mental health professionals. I am the best mother I can be, whether close by or from a distance. I am truly doing the very best I can, and for the first time in my life I am prioritizing my own needs as being as important as others. I have kept trying, kept fighting the good fight. It would have been so easy to just give up. I wouldn’t have chosen to rot, I would have just opted out. Where ever my Daughter is, she is not judging me, she knows I am doing and have done the best that I can. I have never thought that my Daughter would not forgive me, it has always been that I cannot forgive myself. Any judgements the author of the email has made about me which caused her to use the phrase ‘watching you rot’, and then attribute that statement to my Daughter, are nothing compared to the judgements I make about myself. The email writer is entitled to her opinion, although what she is basing it on remains a mystery. She is NOT entitled to pass off her opinion as a message from my Daughter.
“look at it as a daughter with benefits… you don’t have to wash or cook or clean up after me. I know it’s not the same and yeah I’d rather be there to, but that sure ain’t going to happen, so just work with me a bit” – Gosh, silly me! All these years I’ve been thinking about my Daughter’s death in such negative terms. I really should thank the author for showing me the silver lining, glaringly obvious to me now really. “A Daughter with benefits” – the benefit, of course, being that she’s DEAD. That she died a brutal, violent death after hours of sexual assault and psychological torture. And the glass half full thing is that I don’t have to wash or cook or clean up after her, or any of the other things that MOTHERS do for their CHILDREN. Imagine the financial benefits! The money I’ve saved on university fees and wedding day expenses. Not having to buy birthday presents for the pesky grandchildren she may have one day given me. I did have to shell out for a coffin and a funeral, and plan the whole thing, but instead of my despair that these were among the last things I would ever be able to do for her I should have been jumping for joy that I’d been let off so lightly. Instead of the wake I couldn’t bear to have I should have planned a party. It’s amazing this has never occured to me before.
“It is through my story…our story mum” – My Daughter’s story? My story? Really? If that’s the case then WHY would this person, clearly with their own agenda, force their way into a particularly difficult day with seemingly no regard for anyone except themself? The entire email was so incredibly full of their sense of self-importance. “I don’t take lightly intruding into your grieving space, without what I believe to be good reason” – Who are YOU to decide what is a good reason for intruding into MY grief? You don’t know me. You didn’t know my daughter. I COULDN’T GIVE A FUCK WHAT YOU BELIEVE. What I do care about is the fact you wanted the anniversary of my Daughter’s death to be all about you. That just like the ballet school she hadn’t attended for seven years that released a photo of her to the newspapers and got free publicity, or the ‘journalists’ (I use the term lightly) that doorstopped me for interviews and fed me bollocks such as “We just want to tell the world what a wonderful girl your Daughter was” you took my Daughter’s memory and my tragedy and prostituted them for your own twisted reasons. As if my Daughter and I, my other children, my family and all the others who know and love us haven’t been violated enough, you felt entitled enough to violate us all over again.
“XXXX only as of only a few minutes ago is aware of it, and I am prepared for what potentially may happen to our friendship as a result. I am hoping she’s known me long enough to realise I’m not a freak (it’s ok because I sometimes think I am)…perhaps a little wierd, but not totally psycho (but hey there’s always potential ;)). It is however, a casualty that will be out of my hands, one I am prepared for as I have done with my marriage and other special relationships with people in the past I have lost, so I can remain true to myself.” – I can’t tell you how pleased I am for the email writer that they prepared themselves for any consequences TO THEMSELVES. Because they clearly had scant regard for any consequences their actions may cause me.
The Incredible Hunk responded to the writer by email. I won’t bore you with the transcripts but while repeatedly and creepily calling me a ‘beautiful person’ (HOW WOULD THEY KNOW?) they also suggested that The Incredible Hunk was not concerned with my best interests and reminded him that it was between my Daughter and I, not the writer, or The Incredible Hunk or anyone else – IRONY MUCH? Actually, that is not correct. While completely true that it has nothing to do with the email writer at all, it actually does have something to do with The Incredible Hunk because he is my partner. He is there for me. He stands by my side and travels with me along a not so easy road. He absolutely has a vested interest.
So, over to you, dear readers. I’d love to hear what you think. And tune in for Part Two tomorrow, which will be on a much more positive note. I’ll catch you then!