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?




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 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 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 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 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.




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."

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