What to do with a medium when its germinating purpose has expired? Put rockets underneath it and light the fuse? Tiptoe away quietly, without saying another word?
I started this blog with an express purpose, or as much of a purpose as one has while depressed. I wasn’t doing any other kind of writing – well, there were the internet articles I suppose – a grim treadmill of underpay and over exacting ‘copy editors,’ but no novel – nothing which needed a flight of fantasy. I wrote because writing has always helped me process my darkest thoughts – I’m tragically inarticulate when it comes to speaking aloud – and I needed that outlet. But I’m better now. I’ve signed off the group and individual therapy sessions too. I eked them out over the past couple of months as a precaution, but I really don’t need therapy any more and this might be foolish to say, but I don’t think I’ll ever need it again.
I’m feeling creative again and this is such a big deal for me. I’ve written some poems and I’ve got a huge idea for a new novel, but I’m getting to work on the one I’ve finished first. So do I keep writing this blog? There are still things in my head that need working out. Elodie’s CFS overwhelms me at times, when she’s affected. She’s just had a four day ill patch, but last night she was singing and dancing again and I can stop worrying for a bit. I’m in limbo too about the prison job. I still haven’t heard that I definitely haven’t got this one, and I need to know before I can focus on what to do next. I feel really drawn to working in prison, and have thought about training as a literacy teacher as one way of being able to do that. If they don’t want me for this particular library position, I’m going to offer to run a creative writing group there. Does that sound a bit desperate? I really want to do it.
Above all, this blog has been about Juliette and me. For this past year her absence has dominated my thoughts in a way I didn’t fully allow over the previous eight years. I think because I’ve let this happen, her presence has receded. That isn’t forgetting her; it’s normal and healthy. I’ve integrated her story into my own in a way that I feel I can live with for the remainder of my life. I want to go forwards, but I’m taking take her with me.
Yesterday I had an interview for a job, working in two of our local prison libraries.
When I’ve mentioned this to people over the past few weeks, their eyes widen and I can see them working out how to react. The thing is having thought hard about what is involved, I really want to work there. I’ve visited both prisons, and I find it quite difficult to put into words just how inspired I was. Both prisons present challenges – I’m not totally middle-class-naive about the potential issues – but I was amazed at what is offered to inmates and just how positive the atmosphere is. A rooting of self-esteem, nurtures change for the better. I absurdly, passionately, want to be a part of it. For the past few weeks and perhaps foolishly, I’ve made the idea of the job a part of my life.
I don’t think the interview went very well. I came out feeling like I hadn’t shown the best of myself, which is frustrating. I wanted to express what I think I could do for them, and fear I fell short. Everything I’d meant to say came to me as I was leaving to building.
Still, I know what I want to do now. If they don’t want me, I’m going to find out what I need to have the best chance next time.
|Making cake at Tatty and Grandpa’s
Last night Elodie found a bag full to the brim of pictures none of us knew were there. Lots are of Juliette so it’s an unexpected treasure trove – happy and poignant.
In the photo below she hasn’t seen the camera. Head like an eagle chick’s, she’s lined up her evening medicines on the shop counter and something is making her smile. That’s the one that got me in the chest.
A few weeks ago I was talking to another mother I know who lost her teenage son. She told me how lovely it is when photographs she hadn’t seen would appear from his friends, or she when she heard another anecdote about times she’d known nothing about. I have to admit to feeling a bit jealous, because this never happens to me. It’s difficult to explain if you haven’t lost a child, just how precious these little scraps of memory are. You hoard these, desperately, especially in the early years.
After nine years I thought I knew everything, had totalled the sum of Juliette’s life, but then I got a message from Emily. Lovely Emily used to help me with the children – she was with us when Juliette was diagnosed. She’d found a wonderful pile of old photographs of Juliette, Elodie and Pierre that I’d never seen. It seems to be a time of precious and unexpected gifts.