It was never the same once you left. Try as I might, the subtle hint of your perfume could never lift the gloom that shrouded me always in ways that I could not define, so early on in my new life. My cries permeated the sadness – they were cries for you, but you did not come. You had left with the promise that you would one day return to hold my small hand and look lovingly into my eyes, eyes that spoke a thousand words although the language that I spoke then was somehow not recognised by you, because it was not sophisticated enough to catch your attention. And so I looked for you each day in the air that I breathed, the careless touch of a stranger’s hand, a voice that spoke kindly but was not yours, and when the sunshine of a perfect day met the twilight of an uncertain night, I sank into a deep sleep in which my still simplistic memories rested on a pillow of hope.
You were never the same. How could you be? You had forgotten me, just as I had forgotten you in the intervening years. My cries, no longer cries, but the silence of the rejected, resilient, resourceful soul that I had become. I no longer trusted the part of me which hoped, but instead learned to examine carefully every glance, every look, every touch, even softly spoken words, before deciding if it was safe to venture forward – and often times, it became clear that it was folly to feel, much safer to sit, confusing and tricking emotions that I knew not how to appease.
I was never the same. I often wonder how it would have been, had circumstances not conspired to prise us apart when our relationship planted in the garden of love, vied with the winds of change, became secondary, and your pioneering spirit fought and won the battle over your desire to nurture and protect. Separation for me was the ship in which I sailed the ocean of abandonment – for you, it was a new life, anchored to hopes and dreams of prosperity. We cannot live our lives in retrospect and we cannot know what we do not know. But surely, the hopes and dreams of a new life in your mind’s eye can never be as fulfilling as the hopes and dreams of the new life nestled in your arms?
~ Marie Williams – 2017
It was never the right time to speak of things that really mattered, and yet we spoke, you and I in a language that we both understood. We had learned that it was never going to be the right time for us early on and so we lived side by side in a world where dialogue was only necessary for the inconsequential issues of the day. At least to you, they were inconsequential but to me they weighed heavily on my heart: because I ached and longed to know you in a way that would bind us together and satisfy those deep desires, release the pain of unspoken feelings, construct ethereal edifices eagerly in which we both could meet and greet ourselves, linking us eternally and tethering us to our truth.
I learned from bitter experience that our truth was a lie. You and I were never meant to seize the day, smile unfettered by the sadness that came our way from time to time, engage in conversation, cleverly constructed, clearing the way for an understanding far removed from the murky maelstrom our lives seemed bent on taking – a direction in which we were both passengers and yet neither of us knew the way.
Now separated by death, not by choice, but because that is the way of life: I linger longingly in the empty space that has been left with all the questions I didn’t ask, all the answers I might have been given, all the different ways you made me feel, but mostly all the missed opportunities that presented themselves but I was never brave enough to grasp, grateful though that I experienced your greatness in all its flawed guises.
Marie Williams – May 2017
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “From You to You.”
Today’s assignment, write a letter to your 14 year old self, seemed easy, but on second thoughts I am not so sure. It certainly seemed the easiest option. There were so many choices: some that I thought I could do, and others that I thought I wouldn’t know where to start. Sometimes I think when there are too many choices, it’s very difficult to decide which option to go for. Better, when it’s either this or that really.
Yes, you, come on now, try not to let things get you down too much. I promise life will get better. I know that you’ve had it really rough and I know that you wish your first suicide attempt at age 11 had worked, but it didn’t and that’s because you are here for a reason. I know that you can’t see that now, because all around you is chaos, but you are a divine spirit and you need to know that.
Try not to internalise the pain. I know that you feel that you have no-one to confide in, but you do. Speak to your grandfather. I know he is no longer here. I know he died in 1959, but his spirit is with you. Speak your pain and he will hear and he will try to smooth the path for you and make life a little easier. I know you’re thinking, “rubbish!” But seriously, he came to help you that painful night when you were 11. It was him you saw, when he hovvered over you. It was not a figment of your imagination. He came to make sure those pills did not work.
You’re destined for great things Marie. Look at Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou – they suffered too but look how they have turned their lives around. They have have used their abusive pasts to build a solid framework in which to change their lives for the better. OK, so you’re never going to be Oprah or Maya with their very public profile, but you will be Marie blogging on WordPress, “sharing, hoping to inspire and motivate” others.
I know you think I’m crazy, and that this will never happen. Yes at 14, with a mother who clearly finds you an irritation and a father who gets a kick out of battering you, sending you to school with bruises on your face and body, with the explanation “If they ask you what has happened to you, tell them that you fell over some wire in the backyard”, makes the above paragraph seem like the ramblings of a mad woman, but honestly, you will survive.
People that you don’t know now, will be reading your poetry and will write to you telling you how much they love what you have written. People all over the world in France, Austria, USA, Australia will be commenting on your poetry.
There will be something called the Internet which will allow you to connect with others in a way that you can’t now. The world will be a smaller place in terms of contact and there will be vast opportunities for you to grasp and take advantage of.
I love you Marie and I want to take care of you in the only way I can. This is why I am writing to you, aged 14. I want to give you hope. I want to let you know that I am there for you.
(A much older)Marie xx
I have not reblogged the whole post, but have taken this paragraph from Karenzai’s blog to illustrate my poem’s message which is to be there for those who are depressed, sad, call it what you will. Be there if you possibly can. It really helps.
“Musings on mental health, urban education, the sanctity of life, and other things I may come to care about.” http://karenwriteshere.com
“You don’t need empathy to support a depressed person”
“And yes, I wished I had people in my life who fit the above descriptions, and I was indeed blessed with at least one such individual, but it didn’t erase the deep pain of being “left behind”. And one thing I’ve come to realize over a few cycles of depression is this: depressed people don’t need you to empathize; they just need you. A depressed person would rather have you say all the worst possible things, rather than not have you at all.”
In The Valley
Where the cold winds blow
Down in the valley
That’s where she lay
for a night and a day
She hoped that someone would
come looking in the valley
where alone and lost she lay
for a night and a day
It was hard for her
to communicate sadness
Lost in the valley
all alone in the valley
For those in the valley
All hope can seem fleeting
Shine your light on them today
Be the beacon to light their way
Down in the valley
Empathy is not needed
Sympathy is superfluous
You are all that’s needed
down in the valley
~ Marie Williams