Saturday, 31 October 2009

Shades of mourning

It's hard to be brave when you're suffering from grief and shock. I find myself shivering uncontrollably, feeling nauseous. My head swims as if I have flu or am about to faint. Just when I think I'm OK, and entering a good patch when I can return to life as normal, I find my eyes welling up and my breath gusting with sobs. I fear going out anywhere in case I can't control my tears, or feel ill, and wish I had prescription sunglasses. My Transitions lenses don't work in gloomy weather such as we're having today.

Today, the vision I had of the grey umbilical cord attaching me to Louise, as if we were twins in the womb, is haunting me. What did it mean? Does it mean I could have sent her healing energy through it, and because I didn't, she died? Were we astral twins, connected in some way unknown to science? Time and time again, I feel we were connected in far deeper ways than just friendship. Perhaps that is why I feel so utterly bereft and no amount of 'chin up, keep smiling' remarks can work.

My return ticket to Truro sits in the ticket machine in Paddington station. If I left now, I would be too late to catch the 12.06. I don't know if I can still get the return half from the machine once the outward journey time has expired, to use if I go down on Monday.

I sent a text to my friend's husband last night telling him how much he had upset me and saying that even though he is grieving, he should have respect for the feelings of others and not lash out at everyone who is trying to help him. I asked him not to keep calling me, and he hasn't, and this has made me feel a little calmer. I am desperately sorry for him, but can't forgive him for saying things which, for two days, caused me to doubt the kind of friendship I had had with Louise. That was dreadful and it rocked me to my foundations. For those two days I was numb and unable to cry because I suddenly thought that all along she hadn't really liked me or been a true friend. Now I have managed to dismiss those thoughts but, as a consequence, I have started grieving again. Now I understand why the Victorians wore mourning clothes for a year. It was a way of saying, 'I've suffered a bereavement and I'm feeling upset and fragile so please treat me with care and understanding.' Nowadays, if you dressed like that, people would think you were a goth, an emo or a vampire. I am wearing brown. It's a colour that is sombre without attracting attention. It's the colour of autumn. And of the earth.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Unfair accusations

Late friend's husband rang last night and said some vicious things about me and it has thrown me completely off balance and has set me reviewing the entire friendship. I had booked to go down on Saturday and stay till Tuesday. Now, I don't even want to breathe the same air as him. What on earth shall I do? If I don't turn up to the funeral, would anyone forgive me? I don't want to risk another vitriolic tongue-lashing. I am too fragile at present.

I have deleted some of my earlier ramblings. Too painful, too personal. Bugger blogs!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Day 7

Spoke to Louise's husband yesterday for the first time in days, as I thought he was angry with me for not coming down to Cornwall. He was out in his garden with friends, planting bulbs and setting seeds for next year. A wonderful, forward-looking thing to do; makes me realise I need to look to the future in some way, too. He told me for the umpteenth time that since moving to the village, he'd learned what it was to live in and have the support of a community, and yet again he pressed me to move there, too. But I couldn't now. Not without L...

My old secretary from IPC Magazines contacted me on Facebook and asked me to be her friend. We gave each other a hard time, probably because I'd had no training in how to deal with a secretary. I'd never had one before and was so used to managing on my own that I didn't know what to do with her and grew impatient, thinking she was interfering. Maybe now I'll get a chance to apologise.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

A writer's characters

What if, when a writer dies, all the plots and characters in their head that had never made it onto the printed page were released into the atmosphere? Would they take on a life of their own? Would they implant themselves into other writers' heads and achieve 'life' that way? Idea for a story? Or am I just hallucinating?

I'm certainly not with it. Having put the washing into the machine, I then stood there knowing there was something I had to go next, but unable to remember what it was. (Putting the washing powder in.) I offer to make Mr G a cup of tea, then forget all about it. I make myself one and let it go cold. I pour a glass of water, put it down somewhere, then pour another until every room contains a half-drunk glass. My hair needs washing and I can't be bothered to do it. It seems not to matter. Not when such a colossal thing has happened as Louise's death.

My horoscope for today

There may be stress that arises from your desire to escape to someplace very different from where you currently are. But you can become upset when you realize that you cannot just get up and go on a whim. Don't bury your anger or it will only erupt again in a couple of days and it won't likely be as gentle a storm. Find a way to get away, even if it's only with a good book.

How very true!

Forever Autumn (War of the Worlds)

Forever Autumn lyrics
Songwriters: Vigrass, Paul Anthony; Osborne, Gary Anthony; Wayne, Jeff;The summer sun is fading

As the year grows old
And darker days are drawing near
The winter winds will be much colder
Now you're not here

I watch the birds fly South
Across the autumn sky
And one by one they disappear
I wish that I was flying with them
Now you're not here

Like the sun through the trees
You came to love me
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away

Through autumns golden gown
We used to kick our way
You always loved this time of year
Those fallen leaves lay undisturbed now

'Cause you're not here
'Cause you're not here
'Cause you're not here

Like the sun through the trees
You came to love me
Like a leaf on a breeze you blew away

A gentle rain pours softly on my weary eyes
As if to hide a lonely tear
My life will be forever autumn

'Cause you're not here
'Cause you're not here
'Cause you're not here


Friday, 23 October 2009

Day 5

Drank a Sleepy Tea. It worked well until 4.50 am, when I woke up with a start, then started composing a letter to Louise's husband in my head. In it, I thanked him for the happy 13 years he gave Louise and told him how brave he had been, and what a tremendous thing he had done in donating her organs. I know I find him an unsettling, irritating and slightly scary man, who can be pompous and overbearing, and whose passions, when drunk, run out of control, but at heart he is sensitive and creative and, like many artists, somewhat larger than life. Now I must write the letter and get it to him.

I have been asked to write a song for Louise's funeral. A line keeps playing in my head: 'She was the bright moon's daughter.' Perhaps that should be 'she is'. My friend Jacula sent me a link to the Mundania Press website where there is a wonderful tribute to Louise. It's on where I found this photo of her just as I remember her best, out in the wind and sun, by the sea.

The pain remains, and I think how alike crying and vomiting are, both uncontrollable, surging up and spilling out. I suppose that really, crying is vomiting up your feelings and spitting them out. I spoke to my friend Penny yesterday and asked her how long it was before she'd stopped crying every day for her best friend Cheryl, who died at the start of the year. "I haven't stopped," she said. "I still cry every day." The beat goes on, the grief goes on, we must go on like the walking wounded that we are.

When we are young, nobody tells us what life is really like. It is set out as a mixture of work and fun. Bereavement doesn't come into the mix. If we were told what we were likely to experience when somebody close dies, it would be too much for our childish minds to comprehend. A child wants pleasure. The ultimate pain is a visit to the dentist. My counsellor thinks lessons in what to expect when somebody close dies should be part of every child's education. Some kids are forced to find out the hard way when they lose a parent or sibling far too early. I was very lucky in not having to experience bereavement until my dad died. I was 47, but still found myself ill-equipped to deal with the emotional pain.

After my mother died when I was 50, which was a worse bereavement as, though I loved my dad, I was closer to my mum, Mum's doctor said, "Don't be surprised if you get all kinds of funny health problems over the next year or so. The physical body grieves as well as the mind." I have never forgotten his wise words. They were so true. Mind affects body. Mind over matter. Sometimes, though, I feel as if my body is controlling my mind. Which comes first, the tears or the thought?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Who's next?

Having lost one very dear friend yesterday, I rang another who had failed to answer any of my texts and found out she had been hit by a car last Friday and is flat on her back in bed, taking very heavy painkillers. I'm off to see her tomorrow. There's also another who hasn't answered texts, emails or phone messages. Please, PLEASE, my friends, don't keel over, be struck by a bus, fall off the roof, get terminal swine flu or whatever. I simply can't take any more days of being prostrate with grief. The face is peeling and the tissues are on their 23rd blow and mop as my special offer Kleenex have almost run out.

In mourning

My precious friend, fantasy author Louise Cooper, died yesterday. There is a huge hole in my life. All the musical and writing projects we'd planned and were looking forward to... But most of all I shall miss her warmth, her wit, her sparkle, her talent, her sensitivity, her affection for me and all the things that we shared for 35 years.

Her husband made the brave decision to donate her organs to people on the waiting list. I think Louise would have wanted this. And it means she will live on for more than just her words.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Louise update

She's back in surgery as there has been more bleeding in her brain and they are having to put in another drain. She also has a chest infection. If you can send healing thoughts, send them now.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

P.S. - even weirder

Just looked at my Google horoscope for today and it says, 'Don't lose yourself to the fear of the unknown to maintain your emotional equilibrium, even when exploring the uncharted shadows of a relationship.' I think I am exploring uncharted shadows all right - on the astral plane or something.

Weird experience

I've had many weird things happen to me in the past, but it's been years since I experienced something as strange as this. It was about 11.45 last night and I was in bed reading, when suddenly I felt as if a long rope-like thing, a kind of umbilical cord, was unfurling from my solar plexus. Miles and miles of it, extending as if through space, but in a downwards direction, and I was suddenly aware that Louise, my ill friend, was attached to the other end - I couldn't see her as she was too far away, but I 'knew' - and I started speaking out loud, saying, "Come back, come back, you can't leave," and tugging on the cord with all my might. Then the 'vision', or anxiety symptom, or whatever it was, faded and I was reading my book again.

I couldn't sleep at all after that. I lay awake till 4.44 (by my clock) then arose, made a mug of tea and watched last week's episode of Emma. But opening and closing doors had woken Mr Grumpy, who kindly got up to make sure I wasn't ill. I probably am. Like my friend Nic suggested, I'm probably suffering from psychosomatic stress symptoms. I know I won't rest easy in my mind until Louise starts responding to familiar voices, till she opens her eyes and looks at people. Maybe I was trying to pull her back into herself...

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Omens and symbols

Years ago, when I was 11 and my friend's Russian mother, Katia, was teaching me how to do candle wax readings as she said that I "had the gift," she warned me not to let spooky stuff take over my life as it could drive one mad. She was absolutely right. The more you do of the 'spooky stuff', the more your mind gets attuned to it, so that you see omens and receive predictions and messages 24/7. After a big bout of it in the '70s, I wound down and let it go, as I couldn't carry on being that highly tuned, so that I was like a permanent radio antenna picking up signals.

For twenty years I wrote down my dreams and discovered that I had quite a few predictive ones. I dreamt someone shot the Pope, and somebody did have a pop at him. I had a dream in which Prince Charles was riding a horse that collapsed under him, and that happened, too. But it's completely random. I cannot dream to order. I awoke from deep sleep around 6am today, roused by a number of muffled bangs like distant gunshots, about seven or eight of them, one after the other. I tried to get back to sleep but was suddenly aware that my room was full of light. My mobile, which I keep on all night in case of emergencies, had switched on its light for some reason. By now, I was getting cross, and also a little wary. Was something going on in the ether? Was somebody trying to tell me something?

Finally, I dragged myself out of bed, joined Mr G in the kitchen (he had heard the bangs too), and seeing some dramatic jet trails in the sky, I took my camera out and snapped some pictures at around 7 am. It wasn't until I put them up on my computer screen that I saw that, as well as the giant X in the sky (The X Factor?), I had captured what looked like ghostly fingers strumming guitar strings - or perhaps a harp?

Now, if I had been switched on to omen mode, I would have thought... well, I would have suspected something extremely tragic. Maybe it's a sign that soon I myself will be strumming my heavenly harp or guitar! I hope not. The other night a man came to me in a dream and told me to eat celery to cure my stomach problems. (I forgot to buy some today. Damn!) Perhaps it's time I tuned in again and became the Oracle of Uxbridge.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

My friend Louise: the latest

She's had her brain operation and is now sedated and has been moved down Level 3 intensive care to Level 2. The medics are pleased with her progress. She is sedated but yesterday her husband thought she recognised him, or his voice. I shall get more info tonight. I feel in a strange way joined to her. Part of me is missing, away in Plymouth all wired up to drip stands and catheters. My stomach is horribly upset and so am I. That's what 'gut feelings' are all about, I suppose. Maybe our emotions are seated not in the mind, but in the stomach! I know that every flicker of fear, tension, love, humour or happiness I experience has an instant reaction in my stomach, which seems to jump to it like a soldier on permanent duty. However, that soldier had two Omeprazoles thrown at him yesterday.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Ill friend

Louise, my writer friend from Cornwall and one of my very best pals, had a brain haemorrhage last night and is undergoing surgery as I write this. My thoughts are with her and her husband and I am hoping and praying that she pulls through and will make a full recovery. Please add your healing thoughts to mine.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

The scent of sex!

Found this interesting article in the Care2 eNewsletter...

Men: if you want to get your lady in the mood, skip the chemically-infused cologne or pesticide-laden roses, and find some black licorice instead. Yes, the scent of the natural botanical is said to stimulate a woman’s libido more than any other aroma.

A study, conducted by Alan R. Hirsch, neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, revealed that women who were exposed to the scent of licorice had a 13 percent increase in bloodflow to their sexual organs compared to a 1 percent reduction from the scent of men’s cologne. Though the exact reason that licorice arouses women is unclear, Hirsch believes that it is either an unexplained chemical reaction in the brain or olfactory-evoked nostalgia.

Next time you plan an enchanting evening, nevermind that contrived concept that “every woman loves roses” and instead serve your sweetie a cup of organic licorice tea and all-natural licorice candies for dessert. Good luck!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Lack-lolly, stony and skint

This was Google's Word of the Day today.

lolly (noun) Informal term for money.
Synonyms:boodle, clams, dinero, gelt, kale, lettuce, lucre, moolah, pelf, shekels, simoleons, wampum, loot, dough, bread, cabbage, sugar, scratch
Usage:Every time my grandmother comes to visit, she gives me some lolly to spend on toys and candy.

They've missed a few. Where is 'spondooliks'? And how about 'ackers'? Maybe tomorrow they'll give us the alternative words for the state one gets into when one lacks lolly, e.g. 'brassic' (alt. 'boracic'), 'stony', 'bust' and 'skint'. Because I totted up my earnings for last year - less than £10,000 due to companies such as Trojan Publishing (name and shame) not paying me (they owe me two grand), and brassic is just what I am, so now I'm going out to get Brahms and Liszt.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Moon pics

I've been experimenting with my new camera. The streaky one was an example of what happens during a long exposure when you have camera shake. I think it looks quite artistic!

Autumn blues

Don't know if it's the time of year - raindrops plopping from soggy brown leaves, me stuffing unworn strappy tee-shirts and summer dresses into binbags, a general damp chill in the air - but I can't summon up any enthusiasm for anything. I have cancelled the appointment I had to see a gorgeous flat today as an hour and half's journey each way and a long plod in the rain felt like too much bother, especially as none of my friends were free for lunch. The flat looked gorgeous, but when I looked it up on the map, it didn't pass the shopping bag test, i.e. it was much too far from bus routes and tube stations. Wish I'd learned to drive as a teenager. My sister was given the lessons instead as they could only afford to pay for one of us and she was 'the practical one', whereas I was the dreamer who wouldn't have my mind on the road.

So now every property I look at has to involve no more than a ten minute stagger with several loaded bags. My mum always used to grumble about living on a main road and not in the countryside, but she had butcher, baker, chemist, bank and mini supermarket right opposite the house. In fact, damn, damn, damn, why ever did we sell it? I could be moving in right now!