Did I Ever Tell You…

Did I ever tell you
how hard
my birthday is
how filled
with darkness
it is?

I used to think
it was just winter,
the cold,
the fading light,
or the emotional
mine field
of the holidays

I would just say
it was my bad
time of year

A lover
once told me
I should
just decide
to not
be depressed

Of course
he was an asshole
and he’s gone away now

One year
I experienced
a vision
of Jesus
of the Sacred Heart
and fell into
Advent
like a hungry
beggar,
studying
to become
a Catholic

My confirmation saint
is Saint John of the Cross

Advent
is about light
hope
connection
oneness with God
an open heart…

Saint John of the Cross
wrote about
The Dark Night of the Soul
the darkness
the suffering
you have to survive,
to lean into,
before you reach
the light,
the hope
of transformation

A few years ago
I came
to the conclusion
that it wasn’t
my birthday
that was depressing
and sad
but my birth

So, yes
I am triggered
by my own birth

I feel
a bit suicidal
the entire day

but it’s not
a feeling
of wanting
to die

it’s more a feeling
of being on
the precipice
of life
and death

of a deep
feeling
like a bleeding
wound
of not being
wanted
at all

of being
a dreadful
mistake

instead
of rejoicing
at the miracle
of birth
of life
there is grieving
at this birth
at my birth

I don’t know
if this is truth
or reality
but it’s a feeling
an inner reality
I carry with me

A reaching out
for connection
and knowing
you will be met
with emptiness
so you stop
reaching out

My birthday
is a day
I struggle
to survive

There are always
tears
and loneliness,
sadness,
silence

This year
I turned 65

You know
when I was younger
I never expected
to live this long

This year
three days
before my birthday

my right breast
was x-rayed again
and covered
in sticky gel
and poked
and prodded
needles sending
numbing lidocaine
and a larger needle
that felt a bit
like a drill
digging deep
into the earth’s core
but it was just my
poison filled breast

And then
I sat next
to a kind doctor,
a Dr Shepherd

I like the metaphor
inherent in his name

we looked at a big
monitor
with an image
of my breast
and the two
areas of concern

the shepherd
is fairly certain
the growth
directly behind
the nipple
is cancer

the second
dark spot
he’s not
so sure about

so he bored
into my breast
six times
removing tissue

and now we wait

My husband was there
with me
wanting to plan
to make decisions

but we must wait

He left
the next night

He wasn’t here
for my birthday

It’s just as well
really

it’s just a sad day
to get through
at the best of times

This year

this year

I suppose
I really am
on the precipice
of life
and death

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
16 December 2017
West Sussex, England

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