Like a ghost I am following invisible trails through the empty rooms of our house. A fresh baked almond bread on the kitchen island reminds me of the fact that just days ago life was still ok, even I felt it coming. By now, the so familiar sunken feeling had long embedded itself into my very being; found me off guard, almost defenseless, since this time’s triggers were close relatives of my life’s biggest enemy. The ancient old roots of grave sadness are spiraling down fast and deep into the soil of my heart; fertilized already by the unbalanced chemicals of my very own brain, ready to feed a parasite as old as myself.
Life will be ok again. Not today, but it will. I am fighting this battle since I can remember; when it scared the living hell out of me for the first time. ‘Depression’ is a word, not even slightly grazing the very skin of this disease; the melancholy of ancient times, drowned in absinthe by poets. Muse and curse to great artists. To men and women changing the world; translating the Bible, uniting countries and stopping slavery. Genius. Destructive. Unpredictable.
I have trouble concentrating, trouble forming a thought or complex sentence. My hands run over and over again through my curls as I am wrinkling my forehead, trying as hard as I can to concentrate on my notes, scouting out words before they are lost to me, because I need you to know, it’s important.
My body aches, tiny short-lived electro-shock-like sensations continuously shoot through my muscles and limbs, which have an unusual heaviness to them. My skin is now oversensitive to touch, followed by irritating nerve pain. The typical headaches have set in. I have a burning pit where my stomach was, Zantac always in reach, and I have no idea when I last ate and it is of no importance to me either. But don’t do that mistake.
For now I gaze with fleeing interest into an air of slight surrender and stale, dusty stagnation around me. It’s dirty claws stuck in the stucco of the high ceilings, the creaking old wood floors under my naked feet, the beautiful tall windows which come in pairs of three, forming a slight outward bend in almost every room. But the warm light, filtered by the large maples guarding our home, hurts my eyes, making me completely avoid the bright upstairs.
I stray to the smaller, cozy bedroom with the one big window overlooking the field and the trees towards the river. My hand lingers, my fingertips taking in the grain of the wooden door knob for a moment. It’s dark. Here my younger daughter’s scent still lingers. Her candle on the shelf, forgotten trinkets in a basket, some clothes, soap, sketches, drawings. I’am thinking of the delicate, sad, lingering instrumentals she falls asleep to. Beautiful, haunting tunes nourish her young mind, her fragile, artistic soul. So much talent. So much sadness. So much anger. Such an intriguing view on a world so very confusing.
In a world where a simple cup of coffee is glorified on virtual Instagram shrines, she drinks tea. Where we mastered the art of overpacking our emotional weekender to shove it with force into an overhead, slamming it shut and out of sight; she pulls everything out into the light and takes the burn. The canvas with her unfinished painting still leans high on the easel in my writing room. I also didn’t change her bedding after she returned to live with her dad after the summer. I pick up those pillows, holding them to my nose, to remember…….always to remember. The literal physical pain of missing her slams in big waves over me every single time, and still I return.
In the very same house where I emulsify complete opposites; where I combine herbs, water and oils to silken, healing balms, soaps and potent ointments. In the very same rooms where brightest light, and absolute darkness create my signature art through shadows; I seem to be unable to find common ground with my very own flesh and blood, in a way where she realizes that all I want is a good future for her. Happiness. But the days when I was 17 are long gone, maybe I should try to remember them, in order to understand.
These are the days where it seems, that all my life comes down to, is memories. On days like this!! When the disgusting sweet smell of death, deterioration, loss, and what once had been, crushes into my soul like a damn freight-train filled with recycled shit. And No, it’s not compost yet. It’s manure! It’s still shit, and it still stinks. Not as prudent, not as piercing, and now with new undertones of acceptance, forgiveness, lessons learned, and a strong hint of “life has to go on” ; but shit it still is. Of grief, own failures, lost hopes, opportunities, sadness, anger and defeat; it doesn’t even yet read like a bloody label on a crap wine, in the lower shelf of a cheap liquor store. Like I am in need of such a delivery, but this thing comes in a package. Every time. Some kind of twisted fuckery I might look back to in another universe; having a good laugh while slamming my hand on my knee, saying:” Yeah, that was a good one! Man that sucked!!!”
These are the days when the eyes of my husband turn into the darkest green of a powerful strong, but calm river making it’s way through the deep forests he knows I love so very much. Protecting, and shielding from the world, with the ambers and golds of fallen leafs of autumn in them.
These are the days when his eyes turn into the very earth my soul aches for, and clings to for survival. Because even I have lost the ability to see God right now, I can sense him in my husbands eyes. I can see him in his love, and in his sorrow over my fighting soul. The demons he can’t see. In the rare moments he can’t know, but somehow does, that I am silently fighting even death without saying a single word. In the way he looks at me, knowing I hate to see him worried over even one more thing in his life. The moments he knows I am very well aware of my own short comings, and that I’d do anything to see him being happy and whole for the rest of his life.
Moments where nothing is spoken, but everything said; where I believe he senses my strength, the familiar defying feisty, humorous me, which would take on everything and everybody coming his way, but where he now also feels something within myself, trying to destroy……myself.
These are the days when the only thing I am still able to see, and reach out to, while already drowning in clear icy waters, are his hands in mine. Where his love to me, and mine to him is stronger than the temptation of falling into the velvet peace. Where my longing for the end of a war which I fought my whole life, and which I now in fading strength feel unable to fight anymore, is weaker than what I see through him and his love, in which I also see my children, my family, and I know I have to hold on, even my fight will still always be my own.
My husband is an incredible man.
These are the days where I am telling you to hold on to me as well. I have fought alone my whole life before. I am here to help you, and as you see I am still walking the same hard, rocky road you do. Hold on to hope, hold on to the love you must feel through what I am telling you. Hold on to that Love you see and feel in others as well. The very stronghold and essence of the soul we can’t lose…… sheer strength, a power just underestimated by fools.
( End of segment/chapter 6). Love and Strength as always!
Simone van Hove- Emery @ All rights reserved