Countdown to eternity

 

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Today marks one year….. one year of missing my little man. Holding his hand and stroking his hair and watching the rise and fall of his chest for the last time and the beat of that strong little heart stop was the hardest moment of my life.  

Throughout Samuel’s life after his accident… everything.. and I mean everything was a countdown.. everything had a before and after and the milestones we counted to and from were not those we expected…… One year….and still counting and feeling the unmovable weight of grief.

Countdown to Eternity

I counted
days, weeks
then months
and just a few short years.
Pause….
Reset….
New clock.
Counting days, weeks
then months and years
from THAT day.

Two timers counting
marking milestones.
THIS time
equals half of THAT time,
THIS time
equals THAT time,
THIS time,
doubles THAT time.
Birthdays….
Celebration, trepidation
markers of survival,
markers of decline.

February twenty-two…

Heart stopped… clock stopped.
three twenty pm.

Reset… new counter
Same milestones to pass
THIS time… THAT time
Though no more pauses THIS time,
days, weeks, months
since you’ve been gone.
One year down
Waiting for solace to be found..
THIS time…
a countdown to eternity.

Cascading Words

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Cascading words

I don’t know where they come from
Yet still they come.
Sometimes half formed
Sometimes fully done.

They spring into my mind,
Pushing their way through
Sometimes with a fight
Or sometimes bright, shiny and new.

Sometimes it’s a drought,
Sometimes they come in streams,
Like the rivers of my unconscious thoughts
Or the visions of my dreams.

Sometimes a word or two
Or maybe a full line
Sometimes stumbling prose
But often arriving in rhyme.

Sometimes polished, sometimes not
Sometimes extremely raw
But until they are written down
They gnaw and gnaw and gnaw.

Every now and then,
They come in a blinding rage,
Demanding to be heard,
They fall upon the page.

Cascading word,
After word,
After word.

A Metre or a Mile

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The quiet swish of metal and glass
Waiting patiently for me to pass,
Into a place well known,
Almost a second home.

A threshold crossed so many times
Sometimes with a smile
Sometimes with a frown
Often empty, but sometimes a line,
Coming or going in single file
Or people just hanging around.

An entry whose dimensions change
Depending on that frown or smile
When the distance can range,
Sometimes it’s a metre, sometimes it’s a mile.

Truth behind the mask

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You see me with a smile and a joke, you see me making the most of tough circumstances, and you see me propping up others. In fact you often compliment me on how I have handled the circumstances that got me here and the saddest duty in life. You congratulate me on the work that I do professionally and as a volunteer and the influence it has. You tell me what a difference that makes, you tell me of the lives it has probably saved. You tell me you admire me. You see a dogged and determined person, you see me as a success.

Sometimes you see me wearing a mask.

Picking a mask

You don’t see me picking my mask…. slipping it on to present to the world. Picking a mask to protect, to hide, to conceal.

You don’t see the feeling of abject failure, you don’t see the pain that racks every joint of my body. You don’t see the weight sitting in my shoulders. You don’t see the fear that rests in my gut. You don’t see me struggling to enjoy little things in life. You don’t see my frustration and the effort it takes to do almost anything.

You don’t see the tears the well in private, the tears that wet my pillow as I drift off to sleep, or the hours of tear filled eyes watching the ceiling in the middle of the night. You don’t see the tears that accompany my solo drives.

Behind the Mask

All those things are currently lurking behind that mask that I choose to show you and the world.

The truth is that lurking behind the mask you see is the deep and dark shadow of depression. A shadow that is currently cast over everything.

It doesn’t matter how successful you may appear to be, depression does not discriminate.

Knowing it…..

I’m fortunate, my training and my history means I recognise depression for what it is…. I’m fortunate to have a wife and children that love me unconditionally. I’m fortunate that I know where to go for help. I’m fortunate that to some extent I know how to sit with my sadness.

I’m fortunate that I know that seeking help is important (as hard as it is to acknowledge that depression has a grip on you and to take that step).. I’m fortunate for a wife that guides in that direction. I’m fortunate that medication has a good effect on my depression. I’m fortunate for a lot of things.

Don’t assume

You just never know what the person in front of you is dealing with behind the mask that they have chosen to wear for you that day. You don’t know what battle they might be facing in private. Be kind, be aware.

Know where to send people…..

LifelineBeyond BlueBlack Dog Institute, SANE

Image Credit for this post Richard Jonkman