Posts Tagged ‘Black Dog’

Can someone develop inertia?  It sounds a bit like reversing backwards.  Well whatever it is, I’ve got it.

When my mum died, my happy pills kept the black dog at bay for the first few months.  Its departure was replaced by an emptiness, a desire to do nothing.  So that’s what I did.

Now, twenty months later, mum’s boxes are still littered around the house, their only movement being from the spare room to my study when Clare came to stay for a few weeks.

Each time I open a box, I am assailed by memories and doubts.  How can I disrespect my mother by throwing away her memories, her cherished possessions?  So instead, I spend hours on Facebook, playing stupid games, surrounded by boxes.

The only thing that motivates me is a deadline.  So, in the last year, I’ve performed, directed, designed and built more sets than ever before.  And while I’m doing it, I love it.  But when I get home, I go straight to the computer and kill vampires, harvest crops and hunt for treasure.

Then, last week, I was chatting to a friend whose mum died late last year, and she remarked how, since then, she’s had no desire to work in her garden.  She despairs at how bedraggled it looks, remembering how much she used to cherish it.  She wasn’t very impressed when I started smiling, and was even less impressed when I laughed at how many boxes she’s got in her spare room…all filled with her mum’s belongings.  What’s more, she said, all I want to do is read.  And even then it’s only because I’ve got to get the book back to the library before due date.

Sound familiar?

So we’ve come up with a plan.

Each week, for two hours, we’re going to take turns visiting each other.  The visitee will decide on the highest priority – emptying boxes, weeding or clearing out cupboards.  The visitor will comply and be rewarded with tea and chocolate biscuits.  Or red wine, if we’ve done really well.

I went to her house yesterday.  It was great.  There’s a long way to go, but it’s a start.

Who knows, I might even be able to empty a box or two myself before she comes around next week…


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The one that gnaws at my stomach, reminding me to worry: I’ve forgotten something; hurt someone with a thoughtless word; I’ll never complete what I’ve set out to do. It walks in my shadow all day, telling me there’s no point to it all, so why bother?

Sometimes it sleeps, releasing me into a place of laughter and escape. When I leave that sanctuary I turn and trip over it, bruising again.

I’ve found some pretty yellow pills that keep this hound at bay for a few hours. But he’s watching. Patient. Welcoming that yellow as his best friend, knowing they’re insidious traitors offering temporary, false relief from his attention.

The dog watches, lying in a corner with its head on its paws as I tackle new projects and meet new people to avoid its orange stare. It knows I’ll see it again when the novelty wears off, and I’m not surrounded by noise and friends and things to do. It’ll keep me company in the quiet of the pre-dawn, breathing its foul breath until I can sleep no more.

I see now that it’s always been there. I realise my mum had chained it up in a kennel out back, keeping me safe.

Do you think the SPCA will take it away if I ask very nicely?

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