I Want You to Know

Archive #5

September 12, 2016

I want you
who feel unravelled
by your children’s addictions,
to hear me, and remind yourself:
“She survives, and so will I.”

I want you to know
there is life after
that day

~

that frozen moment
when black pain spilled into your brain

seeping through your veins like opiate’s antithesis
and you became a breathless ball of loss, falling to the floor
whimpering hot liquid half-finished prayers
to a deity you’re not sure you believe in
and you felt so alone

~

I want you to know,
while your bones freeze,
and your heart screams,
and while you beg
for relief from
fearful
agony

— I want you to know —
though it may hit you over and over,
sweep you into a clawing tornado of terror
— I want you to know, and to bear in mind —
you can rise from it every time,
and you can smile,
even laugh again.

I want you to know
that your life is precious,
and I want you to gain solace
from this simple knowledge:

you are not alone.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

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The Dark Lane

Archives #4

April 2 2017
clock-341253__480.png

“Later,” I heard you say.
Turning, you walked down the dark lane.
I watched as the numbers on the clock changed,
eating minutes, hours, days.

Years went by,
then, “Soon,” you cried,
and turned to walk again down the dark lane.

Your last word was “Tomorrow,”
spoken with confidence and hope.
I reached for you,
crying, “Today, please, today,”
but you turned away
to take one last walk down the dark lane.

Your clock stopped,
leaving memories of a lost embrace,
the deathly echo of a promise made too late,
and nightmares of a dark lane.

.

In memory of all the lives which have been stolen by addiction.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Archives 3. Map

March 4, 2017

maps

We all have our own, personalised maps, which we carry in our heads. Red and green roads leading to doctor, family or shops may stand out from the rest, these destinations painted in gold, grey and red, radiating from the place where we live. As we age, the world moves on in jagged stages, and the trails may change.

Addicts have maps, too. Ten years ago, two of my children displayed theirs, waving them in my face, their ash-stained digits tracing narrow, blackened tracks for me, gazing with sinking-unblinking-blinkered-blinded-pinprick-pupilled eyes, eyes which failed to see their fall, or the festering fissure that yawned each time they entered my chest.

The creases of the pocked pages of their maps made a smudged and faded cross in the middle of the paper, and that cross marked the spot that gave me unlikely hope. It was the abode of E.

Like many, E. had his sad history. As an illiterate kid, he’d assumed that when he grew, his feet would fit into his father’s shoes. His father would teach him the specialised trade that he practiced, and the people in his little world would gaze in awe. He would be made; in his own eyes, he would be an idol, like his dad was to him. While he was still in his teens, his father died, leaving E. helplessly clinging to the scarred fingers of his suffering, sole surviving parent, as he swung one inch above an open hole.

His own hands, slick with sweat and tears, slipped, and he fell, readily descending into the well of addiction. When my children met him, he was in the depths of that hellish pit, eating needles and rocks, and beginning to think there may be better nutrition at the surface.

E. spoke to them, and later, to me, of recovery. Though they weren’t yet ready for the pain of healing, he had planted seeds in their brains. Later still, I met him on a hill. He was clean, and he said it had been easy. He’d put on weight, and got a dog, a black whippet, to keep him company. From then on, whatever shape he may be, when I sighted his canine friend, I knew he’d be nearby.

For a long while, my children danced in the dark, down where hollowed-out passages lead them to their punctured desires.

Meanwhile, E. looked down, nostalgic for the closest thing to comfort he could recall. This time, he jived to his decline, ignoring the facts of it, chasing the cackling witch of addiction, tasting her many flavours, licking his lips, greedy for the next tickle in his nose, the next explosion of the brain. Speed, cocaine and spice; banned drugs and legal highs of of every kind, while he told himself:

“At least it isn’t heroin.”

As my children slowly rose, raggedly climbing over craggy stones and sly shale, sliding, then climbing again, they met E. several times, going down.

I watched my two, and I reached, while they were yet out of reach, until I saw they were scarring my heart, and in doing so, tearing their own souls. So I stood back, crying, “Here I am. Find me in your own time. Come to me when you hunger for love and not for drugs. Come to me, not for money, or to sully my truth, but free from the uncouth devil that charms you, holds you in her sticky arms. Come, let me to stroke your sore feet.Feel my warm hands on your face. Come to me for a smile or an embrace.”

Their sinking-unblinking-blinkered-blinded-pinprick-pupilled eyes gazed, glazed. Agonised requests stuttered from across the caked terrain. They begged for sharp things, for painkilling murder in the veins. They begged for death, diluted in the blood.

Every time I saw E., he would look at me, eager, shifty, from the edge of the abyss, his arms  battling with Saint Vitus dance – but losing, his loose, drooling lips speaking through frowsy, chemical haze “I am clean, Jane, see, I am clean.”

My children peruse the bright, speckled lanes, marking out new trails on their maps. Laura, thrilled with her pristine plan, takes me on brief excursions down spingtime highways, pointing out primroses, softly smiling, soaking in sunshine, her lovely eyes holding mine, as they silently describe love, regret, compassion, and hope.

Paul knows that if he shows me a roadmap, I’ll suspect it’s stolen, so he keeps it folded, and stays away from my desgner rage, designed to keep the wolf at bay. This could be a good sign, but I shall not waver from my decision to stay distant until I feel safe.

Today, I got a text from Laura. “Hi mum. U want to come ova? xxx” My reply was followed by “How about 5 o’clock. Love u lots. xxx”

I looked into the cavernous hole below. Neither of my children did I see, just a man with a black dog; a whippet. I didn’t immediately recognise the guy; he’d lost weight, but I knew the dog immediately.

I went into my kitchen to make coffee. From my window, I could see E. waiting in the rain, waiting impatiently, pacing, waiting at the bottom of that yawning cave, waiting, waiting, for his dealer who lives in a flat – marked with X in the rusty colour of old blood, on E.’s crumpled map – a block away from me.

Beneath gratitude for the new hope given to me, I feel sorrow and pity for E.,who planted the seeds of recovery in my offsprings’ heads, so long ago, when even the echoes of my own laughter had become a distant longing. I watched him on the incline, climbing so much faster than those tied to my womb, and I saw him topple and tumble back into the pit. I saw him crumble beneath the weight of hollow air. I felt the void that his father wrote, with ink that wasn’t there,  his dead fist limp in the grave, unable to grip a pen that wasn’t anywhere.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Archives 2. Street

1st February 2017

 

streets.jpg

.

Saw him in the street today.
I could say we passed like strangers,
but it wouldn’t be true.

Years of  abuse
curled like vapour
in the grey space between us.
I caught the rueful look on his face,
maybe shame, maybe regret at having lost
his power to use me.
He limply lifted his hand in vague salute,
and my view willingly slid from his face.

He didn’t slow his pace –
neither did I.

After we’d passed each other by,
I felt chilled relief;
throughout the vacant years of addiction,
I have clung on to a fake picture of a wonderful son.

I don’t know when he went, or understand why,
but he died, leaving but a shallow crust,
to be squatted by the horror I saw
in the street today.

Maybe I need to grieve,
but it feels like I’ve been grieving forever.

Please don’t criticise,
nor empathise or sympathise.
Don’t tell me he’s still there, or that he cares;
don’t treat me like an innocent,
or like a green beginner ~
I may be too brittle to take it;
I may break.

<> <> <>

©Jane Paterson Basil

Archives 1. Birthday

26th January 2017

rose-670447__480I’ve had a fortnight of reading, copying, pasting, editing, and formatting the best 150 poems I have written over the past two years; a manic race to complete an album of my verse, to give as a gift on my daughter, Laura’s birthday, two days ago.

I succeeded, in spite of constant interruptions from friends and family, and a particularly nasty and unexpected brain-rape, on the 22nd, by a strange sexual predator who made me so angry that I thought I was having a heart-attack. It was hard to work the following day, since I was physically shaking. I’m a bit confused by the unwanted attention I’ve been getting lately.

It happened that I’d been invited to a family dinner with my brother’s ex and my nephew. When Linda discovered that it was Laura’s birthday, she invited both her and her boyfriend, Joe. Laura, Joe and I walked to Linda’s together. Laura looked beautiful; nicely dressed and well groomed. Every time I see her I notice a new improvement. She was well and happy. This was to be the first family event she was to attend for over three years, and I was very excited.

My sister had had a tough week, and felt too tired to attend the dinner, but she met up with us beforehand, as she wanted to see Laura on her birthday. By the time we parted company from her aunt, Laura was positively glowing from the compliments laurahair12she’d received.

It wasn’t a big party – only seven of us, so I wasn’t too worried that she may feel overwhelmed, but I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did. She had a lovely time. She ate a proper meal, and a desert, and talked confidently. Everyone was impressed with her, and they liked Joe. It was lovely. I felt so pleased and proud. They left before the rest of us, as Joe’s nephew was staying over for the night, and he wanted to spend a bit of time with him. Although Laura clearly enjoyed herself, I expect she was emotionally exhausted after a couple of hours, so it was good that they had an excuse to leave, but the ice has been broken. From now on I expect she’ll be included in all the invites I get from that part of the family.

She’s managed to build up some savings. Before, every penny she received funded her drug habit.

One day at a time…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Wall

 

wall

.

This site has lain dormant for far too long. I hit a wall; for a while I felt too overwhelmed by my childrens’ difficulties to write about addiction. Even after I came out of that, I couldn’t bring myself to look at motheringaddicts.

So much has happened since I last posted. I’ve recorded a lot of it, mainly as poetry, on my main blog, and now I plan to copy and paste the relevant posts onto here – maybe over a period of days or weeks – if only to update this site.

After that, I don’t know where I’ll be going with this. I only know I should stick with it.