Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sorry for Intruding


I call this photo: "So this is what the sky looks like when you relapse."

My demon is gone. Into thin air ... I didn't need the exorcism after all.

What kind of dickhead writes about her demons on the internet? Maybe I should tone it down, I have been thinking. Say things in different ways ... don't be SO out there. It's just not ... right.

And then I received this email, from a lady who came across my blog and has been reading it backwards ... the 30-day chip, the two-year lead up to the Lost Weekend, the chemo ... the cancer. Back to where it all began.

She is a complete stranger to me ... the subject in the email was "Sorry for intruding but I just had to write ..."

Terri you didn't intrude. I am deeply grateful that you wrote, and I will think about your words forever:

::

I have been reading your blog, working progressively further back. It is a bit like watching something explode in reverse, and it makes the "whole" that you work back to seem decidedly less whole than if you had watched/read it all unfurl in real time. The posts that might have (if read in sequence) seem more light hearted, instead take on a shadowy foreboding. I want to run back to the "earlier Eden" and warn her, but that would have saved nothing, would it? The journey, babe. The journey, no matter how painful, it's the whole point.

When things happen...things that seem tragic or life-altering, or unbearably painful...I think of my aunt.

It was Friday the 13th, November...1998. I was at work and got a call from my dad. My aunt, who worked in a prison kitchen, had been "cut." Probably nothing, he assured me. He recommended that I sit tight, and he and my mom would figure out the details.

"Oh, you know how dramatic your aunt is," he said wryly, and he recounted a story where she had closed a finger in a car door, examined it, and wondered aloud how many days off work that might be get her.

So I waited. About an hour later, maybe less, the phone rang again. "She is gone," he said simply. Gone? What? Where? To a different hospital?

No.

Gone.

Dead.

I walked into my bosses office. He was on the phone. He took one look at me and mouthed, "Go! Go!" and waved me toward the door; he motioned that he would call soon to check on me.

My then-boyfriend/now-husband came to drive me the hour's drive to the small town where my aunt lived. We had to stop for gas. At first I was so anxious about having to stop for something so stupid, then I realized that there was nothing to rush for...it was over.

We drove quietly and without tears. At times, he would reach over and stoke my hand.

When we got to my uncle--her brother's--house (which was next door to her own), the whole block was filled with cars. Cars parked on the grass, all along the curb, spilling from the driveways... So much of that day, and the ones that followed, was a blur.

The funeral was several days later, and it was full of stangers. Law enforcement from all over the state, and even several states away, came to honor her. How odd to share such mourning with people whom we had never met before, never spoke with, never knew existed until that moment...and who would, for all practical purposes, no longer exist to us once they walked out the door of the church.

I ordered a copy of the autopsy. For some reason, I was gripped by the need to know exactly what happened.

The autopsy came in the mail...so many crisp white pages. A diagram of a generic female stared back at me; her every wound meticulously documented. She was stabbed sixteen times. Her aorta severed. Her death would have been swift.

Then her killer locked them both in a storage closet off the prison kitchen and barracaded them inside while he made a superficial attempt at suicide.

I read the pages over and over, but the only things that I can still remember about it was that, even though she smoked her lungs were perfectly clear and healthy, and she had been wearing purple panties.

For some reason, the purple panties haunted me. Perhaps it was the sterotype of a nagging mother reminding her child to wear clean underwear "in case they got in an accident." Who the fuck cares what your underwear is like if you are dead?! No. That's not it... When I actually let myself acknowledge it, I know...

That morning was like any other. She got up, tugged open the top drawer of her dresser, and picked THAT pair--whether haphazzardly or by design--and she had no idea what would soon happen. She had no idea that this was to be her last day on this earth. The idea that bad, terrible, painful, life-altering days start out exactly the same as the boring, mundane days...this is what keeps me up at night.

Because when you are in the middle of it...you don't see it coming.

I read your blog backwards. I saw it coming, and I just wanted to cry out to you...for you.
But there is no hurry now. It is done.

But the fucking awesome thing is this...it is done...and you are still here. You still get to dip your hand into the top drawer and pick out a pair of underwear and start another day.

Thank God. And thank you...for your blog, your honesty, your soul.


-

Terri

::

I'm going to "dip my hand into my top drawer" like I'd dip a pen into an inkwell.

With an intent I've not had before, until I read about Terri's aunt.

I snapped this near my house the other day. See those clouds? They aligned themselves in that moment - just so. They will never look like that again. I call this photo: "Realising you have more good parts in your Soul than bad parts, so you may as well live the very best version of your life that you possibly can."

 

59 comments:

  1. Holy shit, goosebumps indeed. And they say that blogging is pointless.

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  2. I'm new to your blog Eden, but I already love it for its honesty. At some point I will also go back and discover more of your experience. Your awareness makes you truly blessed, and the same goes for Terri- hence you've crossed paths. Stay open, you just never know what you'll see next. My best

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  3. You never know who you will reach with the words you write so please don't stop being yourself and writing your heart out. It's the heart that matters. Sometimes it's the people who reach back to you that will make all the difference in the world. Amazing post.

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  4. Wow. What an insightful email to have received. Glad your demons have vanished Eden.

    :)

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  5. Read this post and really liked it . Will read more of your posts .

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  6. Post like these can make anyone reflect on his/her inevitability of death. Truly makes me appreciate my life here and now.

    This reminds me of a story of a friend of mine whose brother passed away. His brother was on a ski trip with a few college friends, and when they arrived at the resort, the brother's head was aching he chose to stay back while his friends went out for dinner. When the group came back to the lodge, the brother was on the floor, dead. He died of a brain aneurysm and the symptoms? A dam headache! Well I would probably pop an advil and let it rest just as he did. Devastating.

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  7. you write for a reason we all do. at the time of writing we may not always know why that reason is but the reason is there lying in wait.

    it's when you receive emails like terri's that your reason becomes blindingly clear - your words touch people, people you've never met, people you will never meet; people going through different things to you but at the same time similar.

    this is why you, we all, need to keep writing, even on the days that are hard, the days where we think "shit why do i bother, they are only words on a screen" - yes they may only be words on a screen to you but to someone, somewhere they may be the thing that they need to read that day to gets them through the day.

    ~x~

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  8. Beautiful, tear-inducing letter.
    Our friends through blogging are so incredible. I can't imagine my life without my online friends.
    I love your blog, your writing. I love how honestly you speak - it inspires me. As painful as the truth can be, hiding from it hurts even more.

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  9. What an incredible post, to think a total stranger would stop to care and comfort another in this day and age is awe-inspiring. You both have touched me deeply, and I will chose my underwear well. Namaste.

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  10. Read this post before getting myself and my four year old dressed this morning. I've never paused picking out our underwear before. Thank you.

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  11. I continue to learn the power of words...to build up or destroy...and I am humbled. I am so glad that Eden's honesty is making me re-examine things and helping me find my own voice.

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  12. These sorts of connections always run a tingle up my spine. But this is at the core of who we are, isn't it? Humans connect with each other... with those souls that look/feel familiar. I know Terri (hi, up there, Ginger ;) but I, like Terri, only know you, Eden, through what you write here. It's amazing, really, how reading the words of someone you've never met, that you may never meet, can have such a profound effect, can mean SO much.

    Thank you for being so honest and so open to the touch of another heart to yours. This place that you've created, Ms. Eden, is inspiring to all of us. Thank you for not running from your demons and for showing your flaws. Your ability to see them clearly is your greatest weapon against that which haunts you... and is one of your greatest contributions to the world you that you touch.

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  13. Terri's mail was so - so touching. Having recently lost someone I loved very much I can understand her anguish. And equally touching and beautiful was the photograph of the clouds near your house. I have always believed that they have a mind and a soul of their own :-)

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  14. Wow, thats really good honesty from someone and such a story to tell to someone who you have never met before. Quite very touching as well, thanks for sharing

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  15. Terri and Eden...even when you do see it coming, there is not much you can do about it.

    Eden, clearly, you must not ever tone yourself down - imagine how much more easily those demons would take hold if you did. The only way to make them go away is to shine some light on them.

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  16. Your writing is incredibly moving as well as the comment from Terri.

    Please do not tone yourself down in the least! I began blogging not long ago about trauma I went through and how I have overcome and grown in the six years since it all happened (http://mytaleoftriumphandsurvival.blogspot.com/).I hope to inspire people as much as you do one day as well! I look forward to reading backwards through your entries!

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  17. I invite you to my blog: www.pamietniklafne.blogspot.com

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  18. Hi, I'm a newbie all the way from the UK. I'm new to Blogger and new to writing. I write for a reason. For me, it's my therapy and I enjoy it as well. I started off ranting and raving to a journalist of a big UK newspaper and she suggested that I either a) write for a career, or b) start a blog. So I did the latter, even though I didn't know what the hell it was.

    It's a place for stories. Whether those stories are about good times, sad times or even traumatic times. They make us realise that we are not alone and that we all share some sort of common heartache along the way. So thank you edenland, for making me feel I am not alone, crazy or downright nuts!!!

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  19. Hi, I'm new to your blog (I found it because of blogs of note, how about that?), and I have to say that I love it. It's depressing, honest, and straightforward. And for some reason the mixture of the three makes it somewhat therapeutic to read.
    Terri's email was so deep and chilling. I only wish that I could write like that to people I know, let alone complete strangers.

    -Girl 1
    http://ouramazingadventures.blogspot.com

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  20. first photo is beautiful !

    xoxo

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  21. Look and think how powerful you are: to stir a reader into composing that incredible email.

    The time it took to write that to you.

    She was riveted. And what she says, "the foreboding of reading backwards."

    Yes, the heartpounding foreboding of how SHE knows what is going to happen to you before you did.

    We never know.

    So, yes... I do go through life like a smiling idiot. Because you never know, and I want to go knowing I was in those moments.

    Who are we saving the good times up for? If not ourselves, our families?

    That was an incredible email.

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  22. Oh, wow, what an incredibly moving email to receive. Wear nice undies (or red boots) every day x

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  23. That first photo is stunning!

    emmaobarnett.blogspot.com

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  24. That was really moving.

    I've very nearly lost my brother twice this year. It's always in the back of my mind that I may get a phone call to say this time he didn't make it.

    I still need reminding every now and then not to take each day for granted.

    Thankyou

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  25. What a beautiful post. I am so glad that Terri emailed you and that you shared it with us.
    I love your photo and I also love the title you gave it. It's something I sure need to do.

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  26. This made my heart pause b/c I, too, sometimes worry I am too "out there" for those around me. What I realized is I have to purge the thoughts or they will drown me. Thanks for not holding back.

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  27. Isn't it amazing what blogging can do? I really enjoyed reading the email from Terri, thank you for including it. A poignant reminder to us all!

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  28. Ilove this!!!
    "Realising you have more good parts in your Soul than bad parts, so you may as well live the very best version of your life that you possibly can."

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  29. I've only been reading for a couple weeks but love how open you are with this blog. I enjoy how you write from your heart.

    I look forward to following you!!

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  30. Incredible blog! Blogs of Note was well deserved!

    Check out/Follow my blog?

    http://thewalkingphotography.blogspot.com/

    The Walking Photographer :)

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  31. Amazing. This post, amongst other things that run much deeper, is a timely wakeup call that I must replenish my top drawer with undies worthy of my existence.

    Thank you for sharing this, it was so hauntingly beautiful.

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  32. I'm spellbound by the simplicity of her message, of how such little things can haunt, how quickly our life can shatter. Thank God for this blog and your beautiful writing

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  33. That was sheerly amazing to read. I feel not quite ready to breathe yet.

    Thank you for sharing and Thank Terri for sending that to you.

    Wow.

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  34. Jesus. Eden. Your writing. Your words. They blow me away every singe time. I love you, dude.xxxx

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  35. That's amazing that someone went to so much effort to write to you..

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  36. what a beautiful letter- and what a beautiful post.
    we are more good than bad.

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  37. That's an amazing story, Eden. As is your writing. I haven't read your blog backwards, yet. But I will.

    Some bloggers' gifts inspire me to keep writing, to keep striving, to not be mediocre. Thank you...

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  38. Thank you! I am so very grateful for your posts that I can't find words to describe the full effect and affect they have on me. Thank you, and PLEASE, please, PLEASE never stop writing.

    I claw my way up through the fog of depression just to read you, I comletely need you. I drag myself down from the supreme heights of superiority just to read you, I completely need you. When I've done everything I can possibly do and it doesn't seem to be enough, I read you.

    Thank you, I completely need you.

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  39. Hey Eden,

    Why do you call that photo "So this is what the sky looks like when you relapse?" I don't get it, but I want to understand. Is that a sunrise or a sunset -- or -- is the whole point the fact that I can't tell? Is it the beginning of the relapse or the end? I am ever the optimist, and so I see great things ahead, but isn’t that really hard to do in the midst of relapse?

    Well, thought provoking it absolutely is, and beautiful! The second photo is also glorious, but that one looks more like a relapse photo to me. The wild boar is chasing you to grab you and suck the life from you with addiction dependence. The joy is in the fact that you haven’t been completely caught yet!

    Again, please PLEASE, please allow me to find my strength in your writing, and make it easier for me to be. Thank you.

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  40. Hey!! Nice blog you got!

    You should show it at www.kokakola.se.
    Get new visitors and best of all.... it´s free

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  41. I get the clouds, totally. Loved this post, and all others. Lisa

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  42. See? I told you...you do something special with your writing. I envy that!

    Your strength and honesty are f'ing amazing, E. Really.

    Much love to you!

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  43. Holy Moly! This made me typeless... Wow! Keep writing Eden! Hugs to you Teri!!

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  44. Your honesty and your ability to be completely who you are in a given moment is what inspires me most.

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  45. All of these amazing comments are terrifying and wonderful, and freaking me out.

    Susanne - thank you. The sky/relapse photo is exactly that ... after so many years of recovery, I relapsed one day. It was terrible and I looked up and thought, this is what the sky looks like when I relapse. I don't know why I took the picture, I just did. I don't know why I do a lot of the things that I do.

    I think I'm crazy by some definition. We all are, right?

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  46. I stumbled upon your blog tonight (or really this early morning, it's 4am here in Florence) and I'm really glad that I did. Your story and Terri's are truly moving. I'm going to spend some time reading through your posts, but already I love your tone and honesty. Thank you so much for sharing.
    I'm brought back to two years ago and being in the hospital daily watching my Grandmother wither. It's the difficult, heart breaking situations in life that shape us, even though we don't know it at the time. And I think it's important that we take a step back and remember that each day is a new one, a new day to cherish, a new day to "reach into the top drawer". We don't know where life we'll lead, so we should live to the best of our abilities.

    Thank you so much for reminding me. I feel like I keep forgetting as I get caught up in trivialities...

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  47. "There is no true joy in a life lived closed up in the little shell of the self. When you take one step to reach out to people, when you meet with others and share their thoughts and sufferings, infinite compassion and wisdom well up within your heart. Your life is transformed."

    So tell your story, the light and the darkness. You are not alone.

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  49. That story was amazing. Thank you both for sharing.

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  50. Never tone it down. Never keep quiet. Its so much easier for the demons to win when you stay quiet.

    We love you Eden, and we love your truth. Dont stifle it.

    Your soul has many, many good parts, love. Don't forget it.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  51. WOW! KInd of leaves you breathless and speecheless. Thank you for your honesty and pure rare beauty. It is unequaled. It can and will help others through many things even maybe there recovery. Keep writing and be honest, rare and real. True beauty and the heart comes through. love it.
    Blessings

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  52. That you for sharing that, and to Terri for writing that. That one has been staying with me. Pulled a pair of knickers out of my drawer today and thought " What is these were the last ones?"

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  54. nice pic,downloaded it,draw on it,put it on my blog,with your link on it,thnx 4 sharing,nice blog.

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  55. So very, very beautiful. What amazing people you both are to share the depths of your souls.

    I too work differently on your blog. Read bits and pieces that grab me, comment on old posts or any posts that resonate.

    This one has sent my whole body into vibration of loss.

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  56. Beautiful post. Sad but hopefull too.

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

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