The Palace Park

The Palace Park

Thursday, 19 February 2015

A riddle I shall call Enigma

So, my dear almost 5-year-old ghost son, where does the time go? The last 18 months have been gruelling, emotionally and physically. From London, to the Midwest, down to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico and back again, our household goods stranded in boxes across storage lockers and customs depots, suitcases our dearest friends.  And now we are back, back in London, back in the UK, back for another round, a new beginning. In so many ways.

Your sister is a lark, a sprite, an imp and I think she senses you at times. And now there is another whisper of a person on the horizon. At 37, it is not what I expected, but I am coming around to accepting my own unwitting complicity and am squaring my shoulders for the next round of maternal leanings.

You are in my heart and head every day, even now. I  contemplate what you would be like in the flesh and I wonder about your world now. 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Throwing a wish out

Oh, darlingist ghost...what can I say? My sweet prince, my bluest phantom...people think I am morbid if I seem to dwell and foolish when I say 'I would love more children;  I would love to adopt.' I say this with feeling, with intent. It seems not enough. The biological intent of OTHERS continues on. The OTHERS, are --  I firmly believe -- THEY. And I only wish I could hear your voice questioning me about 'Who they' are...and yet whilst I write it, I lie...This is not all I wish.

...In the  mean time, my bluest prince, we have moved. Of late we are in New Orleans, a city that fulfils every fairy- and cautionary- tale I could spin you and your sister the Squid, she of which is currently with my just seemed safer, with so much uncertainty and inconsistency on the horizon.

We are now living in the space of other people. In other people's space. And it is in what should be a perfect brick and concrete haven that I realise the bottom has long fallen from under my feet. Conversations escalate with an intensity that shocks even us. And we ARE the conversation: we are the sound, the shape, the anger, the love, the hate that erupts forth.

In 4 weeks time, I go to a meeting where I am to have achieved things.

All I can do is say I saw a film once where a man walked the Campino de Santiago in memory of his son. #CampMighty2013

The rest...well, your sister is a brilliant beacon and is her own light.  I disclose her travails when and where appropriate. She is mighty and fierce and there is no line in the sand, fairest one. Helena Handbasket is a force with whom even your mighty papa does  not reckon.

And yet...she doesn't yet know about you but knows of you. I wish I could explain the way her head tilts at times for words and music that move at a timbre only she can hear, in that moment, of another's time.

We are at the moment in a city of great beauty, sadness, and at a major crossroads, in major physical and literal ways that even make even me cache a cautionary eye and I all I can keep saying to myself is 'Go forward. Go on.'

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Grove Road is as busy as my old street ever was but the house is set back off the road a bit more and it is a whole house.  I came up to London yesterday, leaving your sister to wear out your dad and walked up Bear Road to Carrow Bridge, the long way around to the station, just because I could. I wondered if Julian of Norwich ever walked this way before her vow of silence, before taking her contemplative vow of silence, before writing the LONG TEXT.  I wonder that I've finally found my way to live near her grace, after years of being pulled ever-so-lightly to Norwich.

'What,' she might say, 'is a nice Jewish gal like you doing in a place like?' But no , it seems far more likely that she'd say 'Oh, you're here! How lovely...'

We've left London and where we go now, well, only the wind and the stars know, ultimately. But you're with us, my fair sweet prince.

This is now a moment of trotzdem a zum leben sagen.  Indeed, 'yes' is but a 3 letter word and one to use more often than I have in the past

Thursday, 29 November 2012

When Autumn leaves start to fall...

Well, now brown cow. What to say when there is so much and so little all at once?

Your sister is a radiant beam of sass and laughter.

My darling Josephine has died so now, not only to I talk to dead people but I also scratch the bellies and ears of dead dogs. Despite my intentions, we did not have her stuffed or her skull carved into a place holder. It just wasn't the right time (when, I can hear your father in the background of my mind saying, when is it ever time to have a dog stuffed?!).

We have gone to America and come back. We have put our flat on the market and after two weeks, the flat is under offer at over the asking price. I am trying not to hyperventilate and that much is easy to avoid because I'm so tired, my bones so sore and my heart so full of exhausted  love and dread over trying to make ends meet (Novemeber is a month the belts are worn tighter), even that display of dramatics is above me.

We have gone to America and come back. We have gone to the country, twice. We have flown to Barbados and attended a lovely wedding and we've come home and I just don't even feel like London is home. How long has it been since this city -- which I love and love -- has felt like home? I can't even say. Keeping it light enough to travel is one thing, but every heart needs a home.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Dear Fang

Summer is finally making its presence known. Late June and it has only just begun to feel that way.

Your sister Squidlet has grown into a proper whirlwind of red hair, infectious laugh, and a gamine grin. She says very important things often, including 'Duck,' 'Josie,' 'Daddy,' 'Nope.' And I am amazed on a daily basis that the way time moves us all forward. And I try only to look back with love. It isn't always easy. You are 2 and a half years old and there is so much of you still around me that your presence is almost physical. The wind moves through your perch in the olive trees, your box winks occasionally from the mantle. Your medical records sit in the filing cabinet (there is no 7-year rule for love nor for grief).

Someone asked me recently if it isn't just a wee bit morbid to speak of you, to remember and mention you in passing. And I resisted -- admirably, I must say -- the urge to take them into an alley and give them a very, very slow and debilitating working over. I smiled -- ever gracious, your mama (it must come with age) -- and just said 'Not at all. But if it offends you, my speaking about my son, I'll not mention him in your presence.' But I'm lying because I will mention you whenever and wherever I feel you should be.

So there.


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Jinx effect

 I remember sitting next to my grandfather on a dinghy as we zipped across the Chespeake Bay to Annapolis harbour for dinner one balmy July evening.  I remember sneaking sips of his gin and tonic whilst we watched 'Law and Order' marathons. I remember learning to dance on his feet at a cousin's  wedding. I remember his look of reluctant amusement as a sombrero was thumped on his head for his 68th birthday.
An example of just what you've missed in not knowing Jinx: when I came back from Basic Training, reaking of heartbreak, bruises and failure, at a loss as to what and where came next, he found me crying on the veranda. He never said a word, just came over and draped his arm around me whilst I sobbed. And in that moment, everyone around us asleep, the crickets rustling and the last of the lightening bugs droning hazily on in the background, he was my dearest friend and my staunchest ally.
Looking back on girlhood daydreaming when I used to think about the kind of man I wanted to end up with, I realize now just how much of a influence my grandfather had in my choice of husband.  He loved smooch music - Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore. He was rangy and lean in his youth, handsome and dapper in a 1950s chic way in middle age, and relaxed, beautific and scruffy in his twilight. He loved the sea and adventure. He loved a good sappy romance movie and he taught me to appreciate the finer points of B-movies. His influence, his approval, his support, and his guidance...these are part and parcel of the woman I have become and to the man I chose. It is one of the more heartbreaking aspects of my life that my husband and my grandfather did not meet. 

I wish there was a way that I could stress and convey what amazing person Jinx was, how fiercely he loved and protected - even when we were not aware.  I grew up moving around and my maternal grandparents have been a fundamental support. There are very few memories that I have in which my grandfather does not play a significant role.  He taught me so much: about music, film, economics, how to sail, how to mix a perfect to admit when I was wrong and how to fight for what I believe in.
He taught me the burden of having too much pride, in worshipping false idols and he stood by me and up for me through some of my less than stellar moments. I had hoped that - as he and my grandmother got older - I would be able to be a support and buffer for them in the same way that they had - and in the my grandmother continues to - protected and cherished me. But that chance, that passing of the torch, well...that was taken from us. From me. And what was left of a vibrant, irreverant, dashing figure of a man was a shell...unable to do anything other than just lie in a hospital bed, drooling and messing himself, unaware that his 'do not ressucitate' request, had been flagrantly ignored out of fear of one doctor's ego. He was one of my closest and dearest friends and there was no moment to say goodbye.
But we learn lessons in loss, in the things we don't get to say out loud and in person.
Jinx lingered on for three months. A month in ICU, a month and change at the ICU ward of an assisted living facilty, then hospice.  He never regained consciousness. In the end, it was his heart that refused to give up, one of the quirky ironies of life: the organ that made him so ill is the organ that wouldn't let go.  Did I mention he never liked to give up without a fight?

My grandfather was a dreamer and a pragmatist. He left very clear instructions, signed all the forms, ticked all the boxes and in the end he died unnecessarily.  We tried to keep his dignity about him as best we could but it still - 10 years later - feels cheap and brittle.

The thing about this kind of lawsuit is that it isn't about money or greed.  It is about loss and love and holding people accountable for their actions. There was no apology, no acknowledgement on the record, no owning of wrongs.  I don't expect people - even doctors - to infallible. But I do expect that they won't lie when a mistake is made. And I do expect that they won't allow their mistakes to cause a man to suffer and waste away needlessly.  And I know that there is little that can take the sting out of that kind of failure - when you can't protect and care for the people you love. And if there is one tribute I can pay to Jinx, to that dashingly cut figure of a human being, it is to insure that his end serves as an example of how a person's wishes should not be ignored.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

I miss you, little one. You would be on the verge, on the precipe of being a toddler and a boychild now.