Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Essays from the Deep

" don't think about it at all,
just keep your head low,
and don't think about it all ..
.. soldier on, soldier on
keep your heart close to the ground."

- Temper Trap 'Soldier On'

Yesterday, after a really, REALLY hard weekend, two birds flew right underneath the wheels of my car. I was driving down the main street of town .. there was no time to stop, just - bammo. I searched my rear view mirror as I drove off, willing them to be ok. I had killed one. I'm a bird killer. There is no meaning to be made of it. Sometimes, things happen in life that make no sense at all. Ever.


My two boys have been sick for days. Tired and cranky and sick and naughty. I have had no reprieve at all, as Dave has been away. It's been hard. I kept having flashbacks, to when Dave was down in hospital getting surgery and his first dose of chemo. Rocco was a newborn. My husbands cancer was a boa constrictor and swallowed my baby whole ... it spat out a tricky two-year old to me, only recently. What?


Tomorrow is a cancer check-up, down at the Big Hospital. I'm sure it will be fine. I'm sure it will be fucked. One of those statements is true. Dave scoffs, whenever I ask him what he thinks. It's hard to believe he ever had cancer at all. The only proof, it seems, is the huge vertical scar on his tummy, when they opened him up to see how far it had spread. Oh, cancer, you spanish dancer. You tried to hide but we found you, peekaboo!


Do you know what the biggest symptom of cancer is? Flu-like symptoms. Of course, our boys have been unwell, so it makes sense that Dave being sick lately is that he just caught something from them.


These past two years, I have often thought of the cancer ward. It was just horrible - and not because it was a cancer ward. Because it was right next to a big dumping ground for all of the garbage in the hospital. Because it stank. Because it had contaminated water when Dave was in there ... because it was dark and depressing and there was no light at all. One night, a guy walked in to Dave's room and took a piss in the hand basin. Dave feebly told him to fuck off and called the nurse, who got the cleaners to come and disinfect it straight away because piss is radioactive during chemotherapy. Another night, the Buddhist nun had a fit in her bed next to Dave's. He saved her life by pressing the buzzer - but she was so ill. I'd be surprised if she was still alive today. Her friends used to come in and sit around her bed, praying and chanting. Dave found it soothing.

The absolute worst thing about the cancer ward, was the artwork. I remember holding everything together, carrying Rocco in the sling, walking through it all .... but it was the artwork that made me despondent, want to slit my wrists. I'd always told myself that if Dave stayed any longer in that ward, I'd take down some of our art and hang it on his wall.

I still want to. I'll go with Dave to his appointment tomorrow, just to be annoying supportive .... and I will tell him my plan to take new artwork down to his old stomping ground. Something with some light in it, for goodness sake. He'll probably tell me to go for it - he always does.

Imagine if I didn't even ask the hospital, if I just waltzed in with beautifully coloured canvasses under my arm ... and swapped it over with all the bad art. (Bad art! Naughty!)

I think I will.


Obviously, on a deep level, my concerns regarding my husbands health have been triggered lately, which is why I can't catch a breath or a wave or a break. I know that he will be given the all-clear tomorrow. He always does.

And yet .... I keep thinking of that poor little confused birdie, standing next to its mate on the road, wondering why he won't get up and fly away.


  1. Sorry about the birds...that always freaks me out.

    I'll be thinking of you and Dave - I'm sure the appointment will go well. And new artwork would probably make many people very happy.

  2. This post made me cry. It is devastatingly beautiful. Thank you.


    D. was here.

  4. Everything crossed for you, not just fingers....

    and with the art? JUST DO IT.

  5. Good luck.

    The cancer and radiation rooms here is at the end of a deserted corridor, in a space that hasn't been done up yet. Scuffmarks and white light, but not the good kind.

    We were lucky, when Nan was dying she got to do it in a private hospital, with large windows and faries dancing in the artwork.

    Cancer sucks.

  6. Were they at least pigeons or magpies?

  7. I will be thinking of you all tomorrow. The last comment you made about the bird made me feel sad and I hope tomorrow all goes well!!

  8. Oh love. My love to you on the drive down AND back...

  9. Whatever will be will be, but it will be good and it will not be fucked and all will be right with the world again.

    Ugh about the birds - thanks to Guv's love of animals and it's determination to rub off on me, I serve like crazy to avoid ALL animals, yesterday was spent driving 2 hours north to the coast and swerving across the road to avoid bobtail after bobtail! Last week I swerved to avoid a snake in the middle of the road who was rearing it's ugly head at me.

    And you're right, sometimes, things do just happen for no reason.

    Then some things happen for a reason - like Dave being given the all clear tomorrow, so that your life can continue on in it's madcap insane way!!



  10. Yes, yes Dave will be given the all clear for sure.

    I love the idea of just swapping the artwork, I would love to put some of Max's artwork up there. He would love that too.

  11. I love you Eden and am still sending all that love across the waves...



  12. hey lady I can feel the anxiety and the rush in you across the miles. breathe Eden, the boa didn't squeeze all the way. thinking of you.

  13. You should definitely swap out the artwork. I can't imagine the hospital arguing - how do they even come up with the stuff they have there? Is there a hospital art buyer who looks for the most depressing, ugly stuff they can find?
    I know Dave will get the all clear, but sending good thoughts across the oceans for you anyway...

  14. "I'm sure it will be fine. I'm sure it will be fucked."

    I feel ya, sister. Owen goes to the pediatric cardiologist in a few weeks - his first check-up in a year - and I keep thinking, "I'm sure it will be fine. I'm sure it will be fucked."

    Cancer really does just play total mind games with you, doesn't it? It's been damn close to 30 years since I was diagnosed with childhood cancer and nearly 20 since I was officially "cancer free." I never think about it. Then the other night, I was turning in my sleep, and I woke for a moment and suddenly thought - out of nowhere - "I had cancer when I was kid - why won't Owen????"


    I'll be thinking of you guys at your appointment. Having spent time with him, it's so hard to believe how sick Dave was so recently - he's strong and healthy and cute and seemingly up for anything.

    "I'm sure it will be fine."

    Yeah...that doesn't help at all, does it?

    Love you! Love Dave! Good luck!


  15. thinking of you...deep breaths love. deep breaths. hope the kids recover soon..

  16. I am like this too, I think because I know bad things happen for no other reason than they just sometimes do. You cannot erase your experience, it is informing your sense of the present and hope/foreboding for the future. Odds are on his side though, he is more likely to be just fine than not.

    Change those paintings though, that's a really really good idea.

  17. Hugs ...I hope it all went well for Dave. Does Dave have PET scans ?
    Sorry about the birds.

    My hub had his 6 month post 'cancer' tumour removal surgery followup (Tuesday).

    It just undoes me too walking into the Cancer care centre rooms /radiation therapy too.
    ...I can't imagine what goes through your head, probably no worse than what goes through mine.Freakin unmentionable Fears. Mind games of worst possible kind.

    Our next review is a PET scan in February. I am freaking out already.

    So did you take any art ?

  18. Thinking of you and hoping it all went well. Many hugs. I think the new art work is a fabulous idea.

  19. Just stopping by to gush. I'm in this bloggy group and I was briefly bored so I clicked over to my Google Reader and went to "My Faves" list. And this touched me. Then took my breath away. And then made me cry. This is an incredible post. I mean it.

  20. Good luck! Sure things will be fine.

    Ugh about the birds.

  21. Congrats on Dave's great news!!!! That's awesome!!! Now you can exhale. :)


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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