In the last couple of days, I have learned of the untimely deaths of two friends, both in their 40s. Despite a head-cold and a nagging sore throat, things are progressing and improving for me, but this news dampened my spirits considerably.
Saturday I learned that Kumiko had just died in Montreal. She was a lovely, big-hearted Japanese woman – she lived with us for a summer, when she got together with MP. They travelled the world. She changed many lives. I lit two joss sticks, rang a bell, said a prayer.
Today, I learned that Ken French, a kind and dapper schoolfriend, died on Monday. He, above all people, turned me on to Funk. He lent me Parliament, Mothership Connection. I cried again this afternoon, for Ken, watching the Mighty Boosh. Boys, your humour is genius. Ken, I wish I had seen you again before you died.
It’s the awful truth of life that as we live and gain age, our loved ones keep dropping off the branch like so many ripe fruit, and as we get older, first parents and then contemporaries leave. I’m used to my own paranoias about health, and being on the edge of imminent death is too familiar a feeling for me, but I have felt that chill wind a little too often for cheerful. What was I saying a few posts back about being too serious? Maybe the opposite is true and I have not been serious enough, desperate to divert from the darkness.
Like many Brits, I’m not that good at admitting my depressions when they hit. People dying on you, after all, is quite likely to trigger a totally normal reactive depression, and one after the other can take a toll which starts to creep under the usual British soldier-on defenses. We do not have a kind and healing culture in this country which permits us to boldly say how completely fucked we are when that is indeed the case.
Facing up to depression has been an ongoing theme of my life. Most of my emotional patterns come from my mother, who was brought up in the 1939-45 World War. This was a time when you didn’t show grief, you did keep a stiff upper lip, and morale boosting meant massive diversion from the awful truths of death and destruction, and of the appalling conditions they were living through. My own early life was equally chaotic, if without the bombs, and it took me years to find the emotional outlets I was denied at the time. Find them I did; but old patterns, even reformed ones, still make up your history, even if they don’t still determine your present condition. Depressions can still creep up on me unnoticed with me sailing along in complete, articulate, verbose denial, apparently in touch with my feelings and operating efficiently as far as the outside world is concerned.
My computer also “died” recently. That was God working to help me, I decided. When forced by circumstance to stop over-working, I immediately felt pretty tired and knew I needed a break, so I took a few days out, and went to see some old friends and my sister’s family. I also decided to visit the GP and check my throat out (which hurts and I hope I don’t have cancer but anyway I stopped smoking but I used to smoke anyway I got a referral to hospital – again – see what I mean we’re all falling apart) and I booked a session with David Charlaff, the best osteopath accupuncturist healer in town.
David cricked my neck which was stiff. I told him about the throat. He laid me on my stomach and needled my head, my hands, my back, and sent me off with a prescription for £25 (!!!!) worth of homeopathic remedies, which I am still swallowing and gargling.
That was Monday morning. By Monday evening, I was sick. Monday night, my “cancer” throat went red, raw. The virus bit. I realised I had a virus. Damn! Bloody healer, I cursed, he’s healing me! He brought the sickness out pronto. I sighed, took painkillers. Been carrying on working in bursts, when I have the energy, drinking lemon ginger and honey.
Of course, I’ve had time to reflect, in my misery and occasional fever.
I was really affected by my twelve year old neighbour’s death, end of 2005, it was awful. I didn’t really even write about it or talk about it, except to GGF a bit. We’d just gone through a rough time anyway, when it happened. It knocked me, rocked me. I couldn’t face the funeral, made sure I worked so I didn’t have to go.
Just a few days ago, I found some video of her I had shot randomly out the window one day before she got sick, and I watched her walking fit and healthy in the park, which we both knew and loved. It slightly shocked me but I passed on, looking for some showreel stuff.
The sickness has made me feel my emotions, all the locked-up sadness. I realised I was actually depressed for a while, and that I am not depressed now. My depression was caused by unexpressed grief, it occurred to me, with tears running, snot all over my face, trying not to sneeze all over my iBook.
Now I’m feeling so shit, and newly sad about Kumiko and Ken, I realise that I need to sing the blues, for her, and for my other dead friends, whom I miss so much, while I still can.