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I need you. We saw Ana today and I need you because it has left me wanting to cut and tear out of my skin to escape the shame and longing it has left me with. I don’t know why I feel this way and if I could talk to you we would unpick it together and make sense of it and you would pass this tangle of emotions and body sensations back to me in a neat ball that I could carry around with me.

I want to tell you Ana’s colorectal cancer is stage IV and in her liver and there are 20 lesions and they can’t operate so she’s having 6 months of chemo. I want to tell you she’s planning to build a tiny house in her garden and sell the big house and she’s talking like she has the 20 years ahead of her she should have, but the 5 year survival rate is so low and it scares me because Jess’ sisters have been through too much loss and they can’t lose their mum as well.

I want to tell you how hard I try to connect with her and how it’s like she’s in a glass box and I can’t reach her and it hurts because I want a connection with Jess through her. And it hurts because she cannot hear or see me and I know how hard it was for Jess not having a mum who saw or heard her. So hard that it means she is no longer here in fact. It hurts because after I’ve seen Ana I’m hit again by the deep connection Jess and I had that we didn’t really understand but that drew us together and would have kept us close for the rest of our lives, if only she had stayed. Both parented by people who should not have had children, one of us by a man who chose to leave his children behind when his pain got too great and the other by a woman who carries suicide in her DNA and threatened to leave a hundred times. Ana doesn’t hear people, she couldn’t hear her daughter even when she was screaming out in pain. She speaks but she cannot listen and it hurts because she wants to be there for me but she can’t be. It all feels such a muddle and I need you to help me hold it and make sense of it because the confusion and shame are eating away at me and I don’t understand it. I can’t make it make sense and it leaves me shattered and ripped up inside.

And I am still trying to atone, K, for what I did and how I reacted in the weeks after Jess died. I want someone to forgive me but I don’t know who. I want to explain what I know now and didn’t then, but to who? I am scared I’ll spend my whole life trying to atone and it makes missing Jess so complex. I told you last year I wanted the grief of losing her to be pure and you tried to explain that my attachment to her means it can’t be, because for me attachment and loss and shame go hand-in-hand, but I still didn’t understand what you meant and now you are not here to explain. I’m scared of what will happen in December without you, because the anniversary of losing Jess is stained by my badness and I don’t know how to make myself clean. You used to tell me what was inside of me wasn’t black but golden, but I can’t see anything shiny in me when you’re not here.

I need to tell you how much I miss Jess. I want to talk about her but without you there is no one who knows me with her, no one who knows what we were together and what she took away. There is no one I can talk to about her. She was the most beautiful, sparkling, jewel of a person I’ve ever known – it will be 6 years in December and still I’ve not made a friend who I have anything close to what I had with her. I don’t know if I ever will. I don’t want to, I just want her to come back. Ana has painted a rainbow on the garden wall for Jess but when she builds the new house it will disappear and it feels as though a little more of Jess will be wiped away too. Jess’ garden will be sold – the place you told me last week you can picture because I spoke of it so vividly – and all the sacred memories of Jess in there will belong to someone else. I can feel young parts howling and screaming inside. It’s been 5 years since we’ve felt this agony and not had a meeting with you in a  few days to soothe us and help us understand. We’ve not had to face this pain alone for 5 years because we found you and now we have to hold it alone. The grief still rips through, K, as big and untamed as it ever was, but now it shrieks of your absence too and I wasn’t expecting that.

It has only been a week – 7 short days – and already it is as though we’ve survived a lifetime without you. There have been dozens of things that we’ve all wanted to share with you and ask you – funny things, healing things, scary things, hopeful things, shameful things, sad things, frustrating things. Tonight is the worst though. We are broken up and confused and filled with an anguish we cannot name. You know everything K, we’ve worked on Jess’ suicide together since we first walked into your house all those years ago and you would understand exactly what is going on for us all now. I need you to help us all and I can’t have you. It makes this confusing mess so much harder when I know I have to carry it alone until it recedes and lies dormant again, waiting for the next time to remind me that I cannot atone however much I wish I could, because some mistakes can never be fixed or mended or absolved – not by time or regret or tears.


11 thoughts on “Seven”

  1. It’s so hard not to have the person who knows you so intricately there by your side. I know that even imagining as if you were talking to her, writing to her, doesn’t fill the void. I’m so sorry you’re going through this with your friend’s family; it’s doubling your grief and adding the anticipatory pain on top of it. K would be proud to know you haven’t hurt yourself and I hope you can continue on that path.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m sorry you also know this place. What is so hard is that it was never just telling her things, it was the way she helped them make sense and helped me understand my emotional reactions so they felt more manageable. Thanks for your support. I hope the work situation was resolved today – I hate stuff like that!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You are golden, but you are also strong.
    But I know that I am also not always strong and usually pretty weak.
    I would just love to give you the hope I have. That we will help others who might feel similar to us and then even make it stop from happening. These thoughts we don’t want, these fears we didn’t ask for, the darkness surrounding us and this helpless feeling of being incapable of living.
    I wish I could be there for you and just listen, but I am far away.
    I am not a saviour, not a hero, not a real something. But I am here and you are here, Eliza is here and others and we still have us.
    We might not be really alive all the time or not at all, but (at least speaking for myself), I wouldn’t want anyone of you get hurt, lost or worse.

    You will give others hope and help because you are good. If only all this unwanted mess we went through wouldn’t have happened to us or others. I wish you hope for your battles, the hope that you will help others one day. And in my case, just that you are here helps me already.
    One day the storms will pass, the sun will shine and we will just look all around us together, feeling good, just free. This is my hope, my dream. Where we could all to things to help each other and feel good together. Facing tragic events together, keeping each of us safe.

    I wish you the best CB, as well as Eliza and the others struggling. We will go through this together, we are not alone and we don’t want each other to leave. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is heartbreaking. Such a complex situation to navigate. I don’t think that you need her mother to keep Jess’s memory alive. It doesn’t sound like her mum knew her at all so the memory wouldn’t be true to the real Jess that you knew. I think that Jess was lucky to have you as a friend and I’m sorry that she couldn’t stay around for you to support each other. It’s difficult to find good friends when attachment trauma makes relationships complicated.
    I don’t know what happened after Jess died but I can’t imagine that it warrants you torturing yourself like this. Whatever mistakes you made were because of immense grief and trauma. I hope that know that you can still go back to K even though I know that is difficult because it would be over the phone. Sending you lots of hugs xx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks lovely. I’ll try to keep this brief (ha!) but I really appreciate what you’ve written. You’re right – it’s rare to find good friends when you have attachment trauma, and what I loved about Jess was her lightness and joy as well as her shadows and dark sides. I do really need to try and work through and let go of what I ‘did’ after she died because it is poisoning me and not helping anyone else – part of the issue is it reminds me so much of how my mum would behave and that intensifies the shame. I started a blog post writing it all out in December last year, but didn’t finish it and then avoided it. I will try and get it written for this December as I think it will help. Sending big hugs back to you xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks lovely. It was a nice weekend – had a
      friend to stay and we went to the moors and watched a film and I felt almost like a normal person!! Hope yours was good and the decorating is going well! xx

      Liked by 1 person

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