“It is sad that unless you are born a god, your life, from its very beginning, is a mystery to you.” ― Jamaica Kincaid, The Autobiography of My Mother American Horror: Murder House is the story of a couple living with the ghost of their only child. In The Killing parents mourn their murdered daughter. Happy…
When I was seventeen I played a Fury in a play loosely based on The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus at a summer theatre camp in Cheltenham, England. It was my first introduction to Greek tragedy. The play tells the story of Orestes who kills his mother, Clytemnestra, and avenges his father, Agamemnon, the king of…
“We’re all stories, in the end.” ― Steven Moffat Three months after my daughter died, I received an email from a psychic in England, who told me, she’d been contacted by a little girl she believed was India. She said that India’s head hurt and that she was crying for her mummy, but with my consent…
“We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. as we were. as we are no longer. as we will one day not be at all.”…
Dorothy: Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more. The Wizard of OZ (1939) When I was in grade nine, I auditioned for a school production of “The Wizard of Oz.” All the other girls wanted desperately to be Dorothy or Glinda but I wanted to be the Wicked Witch. I admired her fierceness. Unlike…
“I found a book on how to be invisible
Take a pinch of keyhole
And fold yourself up
You cut along a dotted line
You think inside out
And you’re invisible.”
A couple of weeks after India died, I was driving downtown and saw a billboard for the Scotia Bank which featured the image of a mother holding her new baby in a pink blanket. The caption read The moment everything changes. Instantly I was drawn back into the room at Roger’s House where I watched my child die.
Ever since that moment I’ve had to accept that I’m no longer who I used to be. My future is no longer tied to India’s. Not that I ever believed for an instant that she’d feel compelled to look after me or live close by when she grew-up—I understood she had dreams in which I didn’t play a role. Instead I envisioned myself fixed to her as if she were a brightly coloured kite and I, the ribbon tied to her tail.
“It may seem to you that your life is over now. Your future without the person you love is no future at all. Death is a head-on collision with your plans. But everything in life–the gold fillings of your teeth, the cotton of your sheets, the air you breathe, all the food you will ever eat–everything there…
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
To describe how it feels to learn your child’s death is imminent is far beyond my abilities. To say that it completely alters the fabric of your being and your perceptions is a clumsy understatement. To live with the knowledge that there’s an immense possibility that you will exist without your child is inconceivable. But it’s important that I try to describe it. Not just for myself, but for the many parents who live with this burden.
India, My Daughter
In front of the purple dinosaur
you kiss me, smack on the lips,
then gallop away. Abandoned
to dust bunnies, I follow scattered
crackers, wanting another kiss.
I find you in a place that has
seen cleaner days. We drink tea from
tiny clay cups. Then you find him,
soft fellow with the sea in his eyes.
You drag him with love, by the fin.
Lesley Buxton, 1999
I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars. Og Mandino Today I watched some of Disney’s Little Mermaid with India. She was feeling sad so I lay in bed with her, counting to myself every time her head dropped and…
One in Seven Billion “It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and…
“Yeah we all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun.”
Rapunzel is my favourite fairy tale. I used to spend hours when I was four years old pretending to be her. I’d dress up in my mother’s prettiest nightgown, stick a pair of my tights on my head and stand on the sofa waiting for the prince to rescue me. Much of the story’s allure was its imagery: the tall grey tower without a door, the full moon illuminating the witch’s walled garden filled with rampion, the dense verdant forest where the prince hunted. Then, of course, there was Rapunzel, lonely and bored, passing her days singing and combing her endless golden curls.