There is no relief, even at night. I can’t sleep anymore. I’m so tired, but I can’t sleep. I am plagued by thoughts of her lifeless body. I am plagued with dreams of her living being. I am plagued by her irrefutable absence. And now the nightmares will come, I know it, and sure enough they do …
You’re in what appears to be an old school yard. There are millions of people everywhere. They are going places, talking, chit-chatting … rushing to get someplace that doesn’t really matter.
You are talking to a group of people. It all seems okay and normal. Until you see her … far off in the distance. She appears within a crowd of people, standing next to a grey stone building and facing toward you, as the gaggle move fluidly past her. But she remains still. She looks so exquisitely beautiful. She is dressed in a bright pink shirt – the one she wore on holidays – and her summery white half-master pants. Glittery pink sandals are on her feet, and she is wearing the tiara you had her cremated in. She looks so … wonderful. She is looking right at you. Smiling. Glowing. Radiant. There is a shimmery white luminescence around her. She seems so content, so … happy.
Through the moving crowd you take in her presence. You suddenly stop talking and realise it’s really her. The people around you continue to move; to flow past. But you are immobile. Paralysed. And then the relief hits. It is unlike any other feeling you have ever experienced. It is more powerful than any other feeling you have ever had, and it is so very real; such an exquisite pink wave of deep, heartfelt relief. It washes over you like a welcome tsunami. You realise that this means she is alive. She is here. She has come back to you. She recognises you and you acknowledge her. Your heart feels as though it is going to explode with relief.
Suddenly you burst forth with blinding momentum. You are driven by a desperate need to get to her. To hold her. To tell her how much you love her. How much you missed her. To explain how you knew it was too wrong to be true. How you knew she’d come back. How she wasn’t meant to be taken so soon. And how much you adore her and need her. If you can just say those things, just get the chance to voice them, then surely she will stay. You know she will stay. She’s not far away now, you’re nearly there … almost in her arms.
But something is wrong. She is not getting closer. The people around you are multiplying. You push past them with aggressive force … desperate, absolutely desperate to get to her. But now she is even further away. Surrounded by people. Meaningless people. They are swallowing her up. The surroundings are swallowing your last chance to be with her. You get even more desperate. You start hysterically crying as you continue to make futile attempts to push past the ever increasing swarm of bodies. But it is a struggle that the vision will not allow you to win. She just moves further away. Out of reach. And it doesn’t matter how hard you push, how desperately you want it, how painfully you need it. She is escaping your grasp once more. She is getting lost. Lost in the seething crowd engulfing the school yard. You can’t get to her. You break down and drop to the floor, like all the bones in your body have disappeared. You are rocking in a fake solace. Heart wrenching tears of frustrated desperation flood though the corridors …
I wake up with a violent start. My body feels numb and I’m covered in sweat. The red blinking lights of the bedside clock arrogantly greet me. For a moment I don’t fully understand what has happened. Then my gaze drifts cruelly to the urn sitting proudly alongside the clock; the one I haven’t decorated yet. It holds the remains of her mortal body.
In a flood of murderous torture I remember all that has happened in the last few weeks. It all comes back. Insidiously washing into my consciousness … she is gone. She is dead. I have retrieved her ashes. They are with me, in this very room. They are on my – no, her, bedside table – the one that she will never see or use again. And I am in the bed that she will never wake in again. As I sit there I suddenly remember the overwhelming relief I felt in the dream. The vivid dream that felt oh so sickeningly real. She was there – within reach! And it felt unbelievably tangible and so exquisitely relieving. The relief was so real, too real. In the next agonising moment I comprehend the fact that it was not real at all. She is, in fact, gone. I will never be given that chance. I will never be running to get to her, to hold her, to tell her the things I so desperately needed to tell her before she left. I will not ever get to see her again. Not even from afar. I will never experience that deep heart wrenching relief in my lifetime. It is an illusion; a figment of my imagination, designed by my eternally cruel subconscious.
They have clearly begun. I was waiting for it – for her to start appearing in my dreams. I knew they would be torturously painful dreams; that they would be ones that affected my living world. Ones that make it harder to live; harder to go on and even more impossible to live a life without her. Yes, they have begun. And I cannot foresee any relief. My waking hours are filled with draining, stagnant pain. And now my dreams will drive me mad with their beauty and impossibility.
When I was a teenager I suffered from horrific nightmares – that’s why I knew I would get them now. I have always been an exceptionally vivid dreamer, but occasionally my dreams turned to painful nightmares that felt so real that it took me ages to wake up properly from them. They had the capacity to alter my mood for the entire day as I really felt like I had seen or done exactly what had transpired in them.
I remember one night I woke up drenched in a cold sweat. My heart was beating furiously – the blood pumping terror through my veins. I sat bolt upright and tried to catch my breath. Visions from the nightmare came flooding into my consciousness. I covered my face with my hands as I tried to block out the hideous images that had just plagued my subconscious. But they fought their way to the surface and clouded my waking mind with horrendously tangible misery. I began to softly sob as I remembered everything that had happened to me in the dream.
Unable to console myself and too frightened to go back to sleep I wearily padded down the hall and into mum’s room. She was snoring loudly. After a moment’s hesitation I meandered closer to her and gently said, ‘Mum wake up’.
She started awake with an almighty snort and then caught sight of me. ‘What’s the matter darling?’ she said gently.
Stifling back a sob I explained that I had had another nightmare. She got out of bed, put her arm around me, led me to the bed and sat me down. Then she went and got me a glass of milk – she knew that always calmed me down. She sat next to me on the bed with her arm around my shoulder as I drank my milk. I started to relax. When I had finished she softly said, ‘Now, you lie down in here with me and you’ll feel better and you’ll be able to get some more sleep. I’ll be right next to you’. Placated, I let her tuck me into bed. I felt comforted as she lay down next to me. I drifted into a much more pleasant sleep to the increasing volume of her snoring, yet calming frame.
There were many nights like that during my adolescence. And even when I reached adulthood I would occasionally have those same horrific nightmares. But then I would go and sleep on the sofa outside her room, so I could see her sleeping. Even from that distance she was comforting. But now she is not here to comfort me. It is her very absence that is the subject of my new nightmares. And these are going to be the most horrific dreams of my life.
The house is being valued today.
A man wearing a suit comes into my home and objectively examines its worth. How dare he! He is a monstrous bastard. I hate him. But it turns out to be good news. It looks like the sale of this house should give me enough to buy my beloved blue house in Bunbury. Thank god, it is going to be possible.
But is it really good news? Will any news ever seem like ‘good’ news again?
You’re sitting in your lounge room in one of the purple recliners. Your legs are folded and you’re drinking a cup of tea. You’re chatting to someone. That unfamiliar person sits on the other single recliner. You’re back is to the window. The house looks like it is all packed up, or most of it anyway. You seem content … still sad, but moderately content.
Then she walks in – very matter-of-factly. She is dressed in black. She looks like she is going for a round at the 20 cent pokies at the casino, a pastime that she enjoyed frequently. She looks so pretty. She marches in and starts fluffing around with mundane tasks in the lounge.
You catch your breathe. No – the breath is knocked violently out of you. You sit paralysed as your being attempts to register her presence and what it actually means. You slowly rise. It takes all of your strength to get your jelly-like legs to support your weight. And then the relief washes over you again. It is a powerful pink tide of heart releasing joy and deep-seated ivory relief. It paints a masterpiece through your aching body.
You call out to her in disbelief, ‘Mum?’
Your voice is fragmented, feeble, breaking. But instead of turning to you, she just keeps moving. She keeps organising things – unimportant things. You drift toward her …
The relief becomes even more potent. You become quite mad with the joyous feeling of it. But you desperately need for her to acknowledge you.
You float closer now and speak more forcefully, ‘Mum!?’
She won’t acknowledge you. You stop and look more closely at her. You look at her face – her beautiful face. You look at her sparkling eyes. There something is wrong with her eyes. You realise that they are vacant. They are not sparkling at all. Your heart drops into the pit of your stomach. Her eyes are so vacant. There is no life in them. She is performing tasks robotically. But there is no life in her.
You boldly approach her now, ’Mum!!!?’
Still she gives no acknowledgement. There is just those vacant eyes that won’t even look at you. They are dead eyes. You feel desperation mounting in your heavy body.
You aggressively grab her arms and shake her, shouting at her, ‘Mum?! Mum!!!’
She easily escapes your grasp and continues her chores. You are crying now. The tears pour down your icy cheeks. She is not really back. This is another figment of your imagination designed to torture you. But she IS HERE. You can see her with your own eyes! You FEEL and SEE her in front of you!
You begin screaming at her, ‘Damn it mum, look at me! Mum, I’m right here! LOOK AT ME!!! ACKNOWLEDGE ME!!!!!!’
Suddenly more people flood into the room, coming in through the front door. They are happily chatting amongst themselves and they move around you, quickly forming a swarm. You stand, looking at your mother, still shouting at her to recognise you. You need it so badly. But the gaggle starts to encircle you, and they begin to push you toward the door. You instantaneously realise what is happening. They are trying to take you away from her. You start violently struggling against them, but there are too many of them. They are slowly dragging you toward the front door. You know that this is your last chance to be with her – if you can just get her to acknowledge you …
You are suddenly houting at the people, ‘Let me go! She’s my mother! Don’t you understand she’s my mother?! I can’t leave her!!!’
They don’t respond. They just keep dragging you, more forcefully now. You panic and agonisingly scream to her one last time, ‘MUM, TELL THEM! TELL THEM YOU’RE MY MOTHER!!! TELL THEM!!!!’ You wait for one second. In that second, as she continues to vacantly fulfil her chores that no longer include looking after you or loving you, it dawns on you that it is hopeless. She is not going to acknowledge you. With that sickening realisation, you surrender your body to the people as it breaks. You are a limp dead weight of agony as they drag you out the door …
I don’t know which is worse – the dream state or this waking nightmare. I am still waiting for the stupid Supreme Court buffoons to review my case and send me the elusive ‘Letters of Administration’. This must happen before I can get anything put into my name, including my little blue house. There is still so much to do. I need to transfer this house into my name, so I can sell it and buy my gramps’ house. I need those papers!
All the while my belly is getting bigger. I want to move house before the baby comes. I need to move. I need my sanctuary. There is nothing now but waiting – waiting for the baby, for the papers, to sell the house, to buy the house, to move, to feel alive again. Meanwhile I try to pack everything up here as I sort through the chaos.
Evidently I must also wait for mum’s death certificate to be sent out to me in order to complete the paperwork for everything, such as all three insurance claims. I need the death certificate from the coroner. I am waiting for it, along with the Papers of Administration. The Coroner … coroners use to just be people on TV crime shows. Now I am waiting for a real one to give me his findings. A cororner has entered my reality. I am struck by the fact that they even exist in real life, and that they have a real job to do. Because her death was so sudden there had to be an autopsy. My mother’s body has been torn open to analyse how she died. I feel sick at the thought.
I am waiting for everything with a sense of urgency. I am so powerless in this process. Stop. I just need it to all stop. I don’t want to think anymore. Honestly, I just want to waste away, so I don’t have to deal with this stuff anymore. But my belly grows more with each drawn out death trap of a day. My uncles need their money, and I need my little blue house, so I can bring this child into the world and give him a chance at a decent life.
Later that same day at a very drunken intoxicated stage. Fuck you, don’t judge me …
Purple vulture, stop clawing at me.
Just stop it.
I cannot survive it.
You sit there, all smug in your endlessly rational consciousness.
Waiting for me to fall.
Expecting me to collapse.
That’s what you would like, isn’t it?
You destroy me to the core.
You strip my very essence.
Leave me with nothing.
I have nothing.
I am devoid even of a being.
There is nothing left.
But yet a child still remains and I must go on.
Life, you just take from me.
Take, strip, abandon, deprive, capture, torture, seize, murder, obliterate … leave.
Please just let it stop.
Come and take me.
I am ready.
I cannot do this.
I want to leave.
I want to leave it all behind.
No, I cannot.
That is my predicament.
You must survive for the child.
Fuck you! I hate you.
Leave me behind.
Crush the bones out of my skin.
Don’t fracture them, take them.
Take all my muscles, my flesh, take my very essence with you.
I want to smash my head against the bricks.
I can’t stop thinking of you.
You torture me.
Why won’t you come back?
It’s an honest question, meant with no anger or resentment; just simply tell me, why will you not come back?