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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Side Shows and Fairy Tales/ Sexing up the Dead

The light is changing,  soft air expanding, buds pushing out far enough to insist on spring. I tell my husband how I was willing to wait a few weeks more,  and now you know here is, like a reward for patience. Everything new again for Easter. The world dying, rising, coming one more time for the people.

I think of childhood Easters, chocolate,  daffodil blaze, church obligatory  every evening with your mother, so that you oscillate between happy and melancholy; standing like stone before the bloody stations of the cross, drowning in the priest chant.   This Easter season I am reading,  reading,  about Grief,  Bereavement, Loss for a course assignment. About Death, which is apparently almost always denied, and we adepts at throwing up barriers, getting up side shows of Sex, Fairy Tales, Religion, between ourselves and it. Good for us. Teenagers in particular, already in the hormone storm,  suffering " Terror of Life"  when dying  is badly handled by hopefully cavorting adults.

In the kitchen. the boss makes a birthday cake with her very best friends, the buzz and noise lapping softly against my thinking. The Beautiful one lies above on her bed engaged in intermittent studying, facebooking. The boy is abroad with his mates. I track him in my mind,  a quick inventory against loosing anybody here. Bereavement.

I remember one such, when I was not yet a teenager, maybe seven, eight years old? A school  girl dies and we are dispatched to her funeral, required to do a guard of honour over the short coffin, stand and say the prayers at the yawning grave. I am a fumbling participent, distracted.  She was naughty, that one, in your face, and so it seemed that death came for the troublesome too. Only the good go early people said . I relied on that. Terror indeed, as I watched the small thing being lowered in the ground, the clods plopping quick to bury, thinking how it cannot be that they will really put her down there, leave her down there. Will not, surely. Leave her..

I hear yet another reading of Oscar Pistorius's love texts to Reeva SteenKamp on the evening news. Oscar Pistorious crouched legless and  bloody over the dead girl, begging, demanding that she live  again, that she be given back to him again. Their everyman  texts of endless for always and ever love belong to the rest of us now  she is dead in time never mind what he did forever her dark  troubling love her own  grim est reaper.

And so to bed, and I lie,  book held loosely in my hand, hearing my husband locking doors, flicking off lights, chatting  with  the dog as he puts him to bed. I have not spoken to him all evening on a point I will not yield, cannot, essential to me. I have not looked at him either least I weaken at the sight of the small  suffering boy  he, like all men puts on like a coat at such times.

I think of how I tumbled after Geraldine, in a way. For a few years into the heavy earth. Into the chilly grip of fear, caught inside a coil of snaking apprehension. And when I emerged, somehow, the dying thing had lost its power to paralyse forever. Yes. Or migrated perhaps to other places.  And so it goes.

I hear him coming up the stairs, the boss now singing in her room, the beautiful one sleeps. The boy still out, I text to tell him  stop! doing what he keeps on! doing, come home!, come home.! He texts to say he's on the way. .All live, all safe, for this night here. I wish good night  to husband, daughters, dog, to sweet Geraldine down there where she lay with me for all those years.  Good night , goodnight, sweet girl, may angels be.