I fall asleep drunk, to be greeted by the dream world. It is a nightmarish realm, although it is no worse than the real one …
You are wearing a beautiful dress. It’s not really your style, but it looks good. You are wearing very high shoes. You have just been to a wedding ceremony. You are now in a large room, milling around with lots of other guests. Your father comes up and asks if you are going to the reception. You don’t really want to, but you feel you should. You say you’ll meet him there.
On your way, you stop in the ladies bathroom and spend a long time touching up your hair and make-up. There is a woman in a wheelchair doing likewise. It is very dark, but you manage to do a reasonable job. You are satisfied. You leave the bathroom and begin the walk down the long streets to the reception venue, noting that it’s lucky the shoes look so good because they’re damn uncomfortable. On the way there you pass many shops, and many people, all going about their business.
Then something catches your eye. On the sidewalk is a wooden cabinet filled with beautiful things. You stop to look at it, intrigued by its contents. You consider buying one. You turn around to look for a vendor. But instead there is a group of ominous men standing close behind you. You immediately know that they mean you no good. For a brief moment you consider trying to talk your way out of it, but instead you instinctively attempt to flee. You break away from them and think that you have gotten away. You think that you are free and safe.
Until you hear a gun shot. You’re not quite sure what’s happened. Then you look down. There is blood leaking out of your stomach … your pregnant stomach … pregnant … your son. Your son has been shot. You start to feel the pain of the wound, and the gravity of the act, as you slowly turn around to face your attackers. They are staring at you, laughing. You hold your stomach as blood streams down your legs, filling your shoes and forming a red pool of deceit on the pavement. Tears run down your numb cheeks as you look at the men. You give them a heartbroken look of utter incomprehension.
‘You have killed my son’, you simply say to them.
They laugh. They don’t care. They are unfeeling.
You feel your son dying. You feel yourself beginning to fade. Suddenly the men approach, their laughter springing up around you. The leader of the pack violently grabs your hair and begins dragging you along the path. At first you are struggling to keep up with him – your shaking, blood-soaked legs moving rapidly underneath you. As he pulls harder and more violently, shoving you faster, you lose your footing. You are now being dragged by your hair and your arm. Your bleeding body is dragged along the footpath, leaving a wave of blood behind you.
The man drags you inside a building. You realise it is the reception venue. Everyone is in there, sitting down, laughing and chatting, eating their meal. They are celebrating together. They stop as they see you being dragged in. The room goes silent. The man continues to drag you, even more forcefully, dislocating your shoulder in the process, until you are in the centre of the room. Everyone is staring at you as the man callously flicks your broken body from his arms onto the middle of the floor. You lay there, bleeding, hysterically crying, as you realise that your son is dying and that you are bleeding to death. You are writhing with the pain; writhing with pain as you bleed out, in your beautiful dress on the floor. And everyone is just watching. No one is helping you. And you know they are not going to.
You writhe more desperately as the pain washes over you, and the truth of the situation intensifies. You have the dawning realisation that your son is gone. Lost … murdered. The blood of his body is pouring out of yours. And your little numb white hands are trying desperately to put it back in, to give him back the blood he needs. But it is hopeless. He is already gone. So now you just wait to be taken too. You feel yourself slowly and painfully expiring, in a crowd of traitors …
The nightmares have become so bad that I am frightened to go to sleep. But I don’t want to be awake either. There is no peace anymore – not anywhere. I am so unbelievably tired. I want to curl up in a ball and sleep until the baby comes, waking up in another world where grief does not exist. The baby needs me to rest. But how can I rest knowing these visions await me?
Nothing is more irritating than people saying, ‘It’s okay to cry – letting it out will help’. They are well-meaning of course, but you still feel like slapping them in the face with a cold wet fish, as you bellow, ‘You know, I didn’t think of that! But somehow I don’t think crying will help this time. It’s not going to cut it on this one. I didn’t just break up with some loser that I didn’t really like in the first place, I didn’t just have a fight with someone from work, I didn’t get my feelings hurt. No, in actual fact, my mother – you know, the person who gave me life, loved and nurtured me unconditionally, who was closer to be than anyone – IS DEAD! SHE’S FUCKING DEAD, YOU INCONSIDERATE LUNATICS! SHE DIED, CEASED TO EXIST, IS GONE, DEAD FOREVER! SO BACK THE FUCK OFF YOU GIANT NIAVE INSENSITIVE GOONS!!!’
The Blissful Morning
The night before my first ultrasound I couldn’t sleep. My body was vibrating with excitement, thoughts running jovially through the many corridors of my mind. I couldn’t wait to see my baby. My little, tiny baby – only thirteen weeks old! I was delighted with anticipation. But I was also worried. I was concerned because I drank and smoked in the two weeks before I found out that I was pregnant. As I lay there, excited and anxious, I prayed like crazy that my baby was healthy and okay.
After a sleepless, restless night I decided to get up at the crack of dawn. Mum had taken the day off work to come with me and Ross to the ultrasound. With no doubt in my mind that she would be awake at this ungodly hour, I put my dressing gown on and padded into her room.
I peered in hopefully and saw her lying in bed, with a book in front of her face. She moved the book and took off her glasses, ‘Good morning darling, what are you doing up so early?’
‘I couldn’t sleep, I’m too excited!’ I exclaimed, as I ran to the other side of the bed and tucked myself in under the covers next to her. ‘I can’t wait to see my baby. I can’t believe we have to wait till lunchtime!’
She put her book down and said, ‘I know, I can’t wait either’.
We lay there in silence for a minute, before she added, ‘You know you have to have a full bladder. You have to drink a ridiculous amount of water and then sit there, bursting in pain, while you wait’.
I looked at her, amused by her callousness, and replied, ‘Who cares? I get to see my baby’. I grabbed the TV remote and flick the television on, telling her that we should watch the kid’s shows to see what we’ll soon be waking up to. We watched them for a while together, laughing at their innocent childishness. Well, actually I watched them, while mum text messaged various people on her tacky pink phone.
A thought suddenly popped into my head, and I said, ‘Hey, let’s watch one of the Baby Einstein DVD’s’.
She agreed cheerily and I pounced up and selected one about colour. I popped it on and snuggled back into bed. We watched the whole thing, giggling at it.
When it was over we lay there in contented silence for a while. Then I turned to her, with my head dipped low, and said, ‘What if the baby’s not okay? What if the cigarettes and alcohol I drank before I knew I was pregnant have hurt the baby?’
She tenderly reached out for my hand, and lovingly replied, ‘The baby will be fine darling. Ever since you found out you were pregnant you’ve done nothing but love that baby and done what’s best for her, or him – hopefully it’s a her – I don’t really like little boys, they’re dirty creatures’.
I smiled, both consoled and amused. ‘I don’t care what it is, as long as it’s healthy and happy. And you won’t care either. You’ll love it just as much if it’s a boy. You’ll spoil him rotten!’ I have utter faith in what I have just said.
She, however, is not entirely convinced. Pondering it for a moment, she muses, ‘Well, I suppose Denise does love her grandsons …’
‘Oh, stop it! You know you’re going to adore him – or her,’ I reprimanded.
Then she started laughing. Then we were both laughing. And then I felt a sudden wash of nausea, which made her laugh even more. As I dashed to her ensuite, she piped out, ‘I never got sick when I was pregnant Rebecca’.
The incessant practicalities are driving me mad. They sap my little remaining strength. They will not stop. They will not just let me be. They will not leave me to my grief. So I write to escape the reality. I pour. I vent onto the pages. I find solace in the bottle. No, not solace, that is a foreign concept to me now – what I find is a temporary escape into madness. I let the emotions tear away from me and crash onto the pavement. I try to rid myself of them. But they are relentless and powerful, and they always come back.
No matter what I do, Truth will not move from his corner. He sits there smugly, his eyes glimmering white embers, as he silently puffs his pipe.
‘That’s right, she’s gone. She’s not coming back. This is who I am for you now’.
Truth … ugly deformed bastard. I loathe him.
I have to surrender to the madness that grief has created for me. For if I don’t do it now, then when? Never. My son will come soon, and the grief will sit, on fire in my soul, having no outlet or release. I need to rid it from my body before my son comes into this world. It’s my only hope of giving him the life he deserves – one where his mother might be moderately happy. I must release it now. All of it. But then I must stop. It must come to an end, and soon. But not yet … not now. Take me away Grief. Bruise and batter and destroy me quickly, so I can lose you and bring my son into a world without you. Enter my mind and take me anywhere.
I have somehow managed to have several ‘good’ days in a row. I’ve been abstaining from the booze. I was actually able to do a few practical things, though my ability to do anything of that nature still astounds me. I had another insidious nightmare last night. I woke up drenched in cold sweat. And then reality soaked in once more. That used to be a relief – you know, when you realised it was only a dream? I’ve always suffered nightmares. But then I would wake up and the reality of the day, the reality of real life sinking in, was always a comfort. Now it is not. The reality that seeps in is not comforting at all. It is no better than the nightmare. I cannot even go into detail about the dream this time, it was too real, too raw … too ugly. It has taken any chance of my having another ‘good’ day away from me. Instead I was plagued with unwelcome thoughts upon waking. I have become severely depressed.
I had to go to UWA to organise the suspension of my candidature from my stupid, useless PHD, which I probably won’t even get now. For years I have toiled away at this mountain of a thesis, related to benefactions given by the Roman emperor during the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. Now it all seems very irrelevant. I don’t care about ancient history anymore. It used to be my passion. Grief has robbed me of everything I once loved.
Suspension… it makes it sound as though I’ve done something wrong and am therefore being punished. Well, no, you administrative clowns! Something wrong was actually done to me; something very wrong. And I hold you all personally responsible – each and every one of you, and everyone else on the planet, and the planet in general, and the universe in which that planet is located. And, I might add, any other universe out there that is now thinking that it can escape the blame, and my subsequent wrath – it can’t! Wrong universes! You are all wrong. I will not allow you to shirk responsibility. You are all to blame. You are all monstrous entities …