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Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats

This is a painting I finished this week. IMG_0089a Today is the 20th anniversary of the death of a very dear, beautiful person. She took a boat out to sea and didn’t come back. At some point, almost certainly by deliberate act, she went over the side of the boat. She didn’t leave a note. But she had spoken of ending her life several times before. Over time, I have come to think that the ambiguity of her death may have been deliberate on her part. Some time before something truly awful happened to her. She was a totally random victim of something evil. I have mentioned her before on this blog. But I have only once told the whole story of what happened to her. That was to a counsellor a few months ago. It is unlikely that I will ever tell the whole story again. It is too awful and people don’t need to hear it. Above all, out of respect to my friend it doesn’t need to be told.

I was the first person to be with her after this awful thing happened. I spent a few days and nights with her, reliving the horror with her and doing what I could for her. I am still haunted by feelings that I didn’t do enough or do what was needed. However much people tell me I don’t need to feel that, it is always there. I have been told that I have vicarious trauma because of what happened during those days. I felt a lot of pain and horror at that time. I would feel it a hundred times over if it would bring her back. But what happened to her made her very ill and eventually destroyed her. I have carried a lot of guilt over the years. The guilt that I feel that I didn’t do enough in the immediate aftermath. A kind of survivor guilt, as well, that is hard to explain. A strange kind of guilt that I have trauma about something that I wasn’t even the victim of. I also worry about the fact that, towards the end of her life, there was something I didn’t properly explain to her.

She was truly beautiful. She was physically very attractive but her beauty was much deeper and less definable than that. She was simply a beautiful person. She was kind, funny, hugely intelligent, vibrant, full of joy at the simple things in life. She was a loyal and very generous friend. She was a linquist. She spoke French like a native and that became her job. She lived a lot of her life in Paris. She loved Paris. And her friends loved Paris because of her. It was infectious. I didn’t go to Paris for many years after her death. This wasn’t a conscious decision. There may have been an unconscious block, I don’t know. But I knew Paris before I knew her. I went back recently with my OH. It is still the city she loved. But, perhaps more importantly, I was making new memories of the place with my OH. We had a great time.

I miss her often. I wish she was still here and that life wasn’t so unfair that she left us so early. So young and still so full of life. We were such great friends in a way I just can’t find words to adequately describe. People, including a counsellor, have asked if I was in love with her. I wouldn’t use that a description of our friendship. I think it brings a picture of romantic love. It was never that. We loved each other but only as friends. In fact, gender and all it’s associations was irrelevant to our friendship. Apart from one moment when she asked something. That is a moment I often wish I could turn the clock back to change.

She had a sister. A twin sister. Alike in many ways but also different in many ways. Two sides of the same coin. She also died fairly recently. My contact with her was more sporadic. But whilst she was alive I felt there was still some sort of living connection with my friend. When she died too I felt a huge sense of loss for the pair of them. Following the recent time when I went through the events of all those years ago with a counsellor, for the first time ever, I realised I have never actually grieved for my friend. There has been a kind of block. A block of not truly acknowledging she has gone because to do so would have meant acknowledging the full horror of her trauma. Now I have worked through some of that with a counsellor I am moving through that block; resolving to some degree the trauma. I know that grief is something that is going to follow. Belated grief but probably a very necessary process.

As I have said before on this blog, I find anniversaries very hard. Especially big anniversaries like this twenty years one. Making this painting was emotionally hard but something I needed to do. There were tears shed in the making of it. I also finished a portrait of her this week. Painted quite quickly and much easier, emotionally to do. IMG_0094a


Protected: The Intolerable Lying of FKW

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The Sky Above The Rain

I can remember a time when I would see the sky above the rain!

She loves him
But she doesn’t want him
She used to burn for him
But now that’s changed
She knows he knows
And she says it isn’t so
What else can she say?
But when he reaches out
She turns away.

When he talks about it
She says he’s cruel
So he apologises
Counts his blessings
What else can he do?
She used to gaze at him reach out with her toes to touch him
She still loves him
But she doesn’t want him

And in her eyes, he’s so much less
Than the light heart she met
The laughing boy she used to know

He feels ugly now, and the ugliness, creeps around inside him
Until he really is.
The animal paws at him, gnaws at him
The silver-back wins over him

And in his pain, and bitter shame, he resents her.
The one who loves him

They said they’d never lie
They’d learned their lessons from the last times
They said that they could talk
They could always talk
Deceit stirs in them now for reasons good as well as bad

But he wants so much
Not to live another lie
To be free and high again
Trying to see the blue sky above the rain
Trying to see the blue sky above the rain
Remembering the blue sky above the pouring rain
He’s trying to see the blue sky above the rain

He’s flown there and he’s seen it,
been up there lighter than air, floating in the miracle
But he can’t fly until she wants him
He can’t burn until she sparks him
He’s dressed in lead from toe to head
Trying to see the blue sky above the rain
Remembering the blue sky above the rain
Maybe they’ll talk
Soul to soul head to head heart to heart eye to eye
Rise up to that blue space above the clouds
Where troubles die
And tears dry
Heading West and climbing
In that place the sun never stops shining
The rain’s below us.

The Need to Understand….

The need to understand outweighs the desire to forget.


How It Often Is


Old Truths Still Have Huge Power.

Yesterday, I had a truth confirmed. A very old truth. Well it’s always been true and remains true. Just that it happened a long time ago. I first heard it a long time ago. At the time I heard it, and ever since I suppose, I held on to a small thread of hope that it really wasn’t true. I think I needed that hope, however small, however unlikely in reality.

So now I’ve had it confirmed as true. I think I always supposed confirmation would make me very angry. It hasn’t. Beyond the frustration of intense disappointment. The realisation of something I have always thought of as having the potential to be especially beautiful could never have been. Was always destined to be spoilt. I do feel, however, overwhelming and devastating sadness. It is a sadness so vast, so total that there are no words big enough to describe it.

I feel absolutely full of an emotion too big to even describe, to big to stand up to, too huge to resist. And at the same time empty of spirit and will. Such a loss of the will that I thought was coming back. Everything is destined to become shit, even if it wasn’t at the beginning.

There is that saying that the past is a foreign country. If it is then it’s a foreign country able to powerfully invade the territory of the present.

Really, at the end of the day, what is the point? When everything is destined to be accompanied by such sadness.

Country Feedback

This, sometimes, just this!

This flower is scorched, this film is on
On a maddening loop, these clothes
These clothes don’t fit us right
I’m to blame
It’s all the same
It’s all the same

You come to me with a bone in your hand
You come to me with your hair curled tight
You come to me with positions

You come to me with excuses
Ducked out in a row
You wear me out
You wear me out

We’ve been through fake-a-breakdown
Self-hurt, plastics, collections
Self-help, self-pain
EST, psychics, fuck all

I was central, I had control
I lost my head
I need this, I need this

A paperweight, junk garage
Wedding ring, a honey pot
Crazy, all the lovers have been tagged

A hotline, a wanted ad
It’s crazy what you could’ve had

It’s crazy what you could’ve had
It’s crazy what you could’ve had
I need this, I need this