Wednesday, September 02, 2015
the dark place
So I'm in kind of a dark place right now.
The death of my mother-in-law has spurred on a lot of things relating to mortality. Hell, I've been thinking about life and death pretty much every day since Molly passed away, but now it's hit me from the other side.
Infant mortality is one side of my anxieties and sadness; but now it's parental. The older generation. The fear of losing my parents, the fear of getting old and dying myself.
(This all collides nicely with my steady slide into middle age. I will be 35 this month. And it is with fear and dread, alongside a heavy nostalgia of what I have done and what I haven't done up until this point, with which I anticipate this event.)
It's kind of depressing, but these things are constantly haranguing my brain right now:
Being a parent means that every awful thing that happens to a child in the news is 10 000 times worse in your head
Pictures of the Syrian mother trying to save herself and her baby as she swims across the English Channel. Stories about a truckload of migrants found dead in Austria, some because they suffocated.
The tube advertisement depicting the wide-eyed portrait of a crying boy, with a tube up his nose that says, "Louis has cancer and needs your help. £1 a day means he could live to see another day."
The ad on the telly calling for people to donate money to the mother in Africa who has to walk 20 miles a day to pump fresh water for her children.
The Twitter feed that depicts everything happening, live, at Reading Festival last weekend, showing the horrors of teenagers doing unspeakable things on drugs I didn't even know existed, like eating their own vomit and drinking out of porta-loos while "fucked on Mandy" ("Mandy" is ecstasy, FYI). That's someone's child!
Basically, ANYTHING. Take any story that has something to do a with a child, and it will haunt me so badly, I actually just don't know what to do with myself. I can't even cope.
Because the moment I see little Louis' face on the tube, or imagine the children in the back of that lorry, or think about the migrant mothers desperately trying to get her children out of Syria, something inside me breaks. Because all I can think of, and all my brain automatically turns to is, "That could be Sebastian."
It feels like something stabs me directly in the heart when I see/hear/imagine all the horrible things that happen to children every day, on this planet, at the moment.
And the world has gone mad!
There are unspeakable things that seem to be happening everywhere; and because social media shows us every ticking second of it, it's impossible to bury my head in the sand.
Sometimes I just want to scoop up my family and go and live on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. In a treehouse. Where we eat coconuts and wear clothes fashioned from palm fronds. I can barely take living in the 'real world' right now.
Three years ago it was my beloved aunt, my "family" here in London. 17 months ago it was my Molly. About 3 months ago it was my colleague in marketing. A month ago it was my mother-in-law.
Also hearing more and more stories of mothers losing full-term babies all the time now.
It seems to be everywhere. Someone is here; then they are not. A child exists; then it does not.
Life is cruel. All I feel at the moment is that life is scathingly unfair and brutal. With no rhyme, reason or justification.
There's no method to the madness. It's random. When your number is up, it's up. But as philosophical as you can manage it all, it's hard to swallow when you feel like there's no compassion from the Universe.
We go to work, we come home, we see our children, we go to bed. And we repeat that cycle, for what we hope, is 65 years. Then we imagine the golden days of retiring when we can take a cruise and play bingo.
We are told to be healthy, but at the same time life is short so live a little. Eat this or you'll die, do this or you'll die, make sure you eat this/keep that/action this/foster this or you'll get sick. Remember to fill your life with family, but only spend time with those who boost your energy.
Surround yourself with positive people, but tolerate, respect and visit your grumpy grandfather. Meditate and do yoga and read and do things for yourself, but keep busy. Keep on top of your expenses, admin, life. Drink wine, but don't drink alcohol.
Love your work, but not too much, because you need balance.
Life is a complete and utter hypocrisy. It's full of hate and shit and things that make you panic. Constantly. And when you're a mother, the panic rises to a crescendo where you can't help but imagine your child in the same positions as all the other unfortunate and innocent little mites of this world.
So, I'm jaded. Everything is a little dark. But as I've always been told "Nothing stays the same, some days you'll be sad, some days you'll be happy," I suspect this applies to years too. Some years I'll be sad, and maybe someday, or some year, I'll be happy again.
No coincidence but:
It's now Autumn,; winter is kind of here - there's a crispiness in the air, and people are starting to wear a lot of aubergine.
We haven't had a holiday all year. As in, we haven't had a real break. Where we get to lie on a deck chair in the shunshine for an hour. Or sip a cocktail while we stare into the distance.
We can have a night off once in a while when we get a babysitter, but these are few and far between.
Everyone around me has been to a variety of places like Portugal, Greece or France for the summer - and i am waiting for my citizenship papers to come through before I can step foot in Europe again.
But what's that in the grand scheme of things? A fucking first world problem, that's what.
I'm not complaining. I am very protective over Sebastian, probably overly so. He is my miracle and and I don't like being away from him for more than a few days.
But a holiday where someone can be around to take him for a few hours for a few days (grandparent? Certified and lovable nanny?) would be absolutely amazing. Just so that we can sleep.
We've been getting up at around 5:30am to 6am every morning for about 6 months now. And because we haven't had an official holiday, I am completely and utterly burnt out.
We go to SA in October, which is very exciting as it's Dove's wedding, but I am as equally as excited to spend time with my folks and have them take Sebastian for two weekends.
Then, I think, we need to think about booking one of those holidays where everything is inclusive and they offer daycare for a few hours while we get massaged/eat at a restaurant/have a nap/swim. Or something.
Negative-sounding post over.
PS: I love my family so very very much.