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  • Posted on December 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Of rain, relentless
memories drumming on my taut skin
running in gurgling rivulets, seeking
deep subterranean places
dark water, far beneath my groundsheet.

A turf-torn guy-rope
relic of a stormy past wound on itself,
spent, forgot, coiled without tension
white as a stripped nerve.

With intent I listen
there is no rhythm in the rain, no
reason or cónfine. I am choosing
storm-surviving, to hear my skin
streaming, streaming, streaming.


2012 © Andie Davidson


  • Posted on December 30, 2012 at 6:42 pm

When the bearing down begins,
is this courage for the passing through—
or bravery for the inheritance of blood?

Or is it the terror of tearing,
expulsion of not belonging—
the urging to be freed?

And this presence in my belly,
this yearning to contain and hold—
does it not consider pain or wound?

Do not admire the episiotomy
any more than some placental pleasure—
birth is not courage. It’s guts.


2012 © Andie Davidson

Loss and letting go (1)

  • Posted on December 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm

They aren’t there. The books. There are now only mine, not the ones about attachment and loss. By John Bowlby – who asserted that to deal with these things we had to know and understand our past. How bloody ironic! It’s my discovery that has caused the loss and grief of such a profound attachment.

That sounds bitter. Only sort of; but it is high time I processed this stuff, so I think it will take a few blogs over time to get there. Somehow this week I have been surrounded by people and events and other writings, that are all about why loss and attachment is so difficult, and how it ruins lives that can’t move on.

Last week I watched an old episode of ‘Lewis’ (UK police drama featuring a lot of doing what’s best as much a what’s right). In this one, a father with two young daughters feels his only way out of shame (not his own) is to kill himself and take them with him. Well, jumping out of the top window of the British Museum, wasn’t going to happen really, was it? No. The daughters are saved, he jumps, and is caught by Inspector Lewis’ sidekick, the intellectual Hathaway. He and the man grasp each other’s wrist as the man dangles over the assembled crowd. Hathaway somehow knows the man doesn’t actually want to die. Surely he wouldn’t be hanging on if he did? Stupidly/heroically Hathaway releases his grip to convince the man that he has chosen to hold on and survive. If the man had decided to go, of course, he would have dropped. His choice. Now affirmed in his decision, the man is hauled back to safety.

This is the way we like it to be.

Holding on is instinctive, and letting go is a product of decision. Maybe you have no more strength? Is letting go a sign of weakness, just a giving in? Does holding on hurt? If you are holding onto something hot, sharp, spiky, constrictive, then it would be a relief, and if you fall having lost your fingers, why didn’t you let go sooner? Letting go is a positive act of recognising loss as what it is. So why is that so hard? Maybe you feel that someone is letting you go and they should not: that you are such a benefit to them and they don’t realise it. That’s a hard one, isn’t it? It isn’t our call, truly. Loyalty, commitment, faithfulness are essentials to love and to life itself. But there is a world of difference between the altruistic refusal to leave someone ill or injured or old when they are not wanting to be a burden or even a danger. That is your choice. But just because you love someone who may have loved you even intensely, doesn’t mean you can hang around on their wrist thinking it’s in their best interests. No. It’s about you, isn’t it?

This Christmas I had to conclude that letting go my love is my responsibility. And that means understanding the loss so that I can let go well and with good grace, for my own sake. Am I resisting out of hope that love has not actually gone? That being a man was not really a prerequisite for the eligibility of being kissed? That somehow it may dawn that I really am the same person and all will be forgiven? The loss I resist is the cold hard fact that I am no longer desirable, and whatever I feel, that part is not my call. Yes, right now, there is no-one in my world that actually wants to hold me, comfort me, love me, be intimate with me, and in that way validate and affirm and trust me.

This is what I do not want to know.

And yes, I can believe it all began with my mother, and that from the start, I was a nuisance. A necessary one, a deliberately-generated one, but nonetheless a bit of a burden. I spoilt my mother’s young life as much as I enhanced it. It’s true: as soon as you find love you also find rejection. As a parent, you like the gurgle, but not the poo. That winning smile, but not the tantrum in the wine bottle aisle. The moment they fall sweetly asleep, but not the bawling at 2 am. From the start: will we ever really be able to trust anyone? And can we survive without unconditional love? Even if you find it, you will never really know that is the case. Unconditional love is a hypothesis we spend our lives testing. The science is inconclusive, as they say; more research is needed.

This is the heart of loss: the possibility of replacement. You can never replace a parent or child, so you deal with the loss in an appropriate way. Parents go, a spouse remains, you are protected and loved, it is enough. You can tell yourself that a life was complete, well-lived, fulfilled, and that helps. A young life seems such a waste, and we may rationalise the perfection of their short life. The lost one has gone, and we are safe to gild memories, keep the photos, perfect the shared love, remember and preserve. There is mental replacement in a way unavailable to those with relatives gone missing.

We all had romances when young, and some have had affairs when older, and most of us know what it is to break up at a point that wasn’t just the fading of rose petals. We moved on best when there was another love; another lilypad to jump to. Or at least were happy when we found another after a short cold swim. We sustained our beliefs in ourselves that we were desirable, lovable – and dismissed our loss as ‘it’s their loss’. Even leaving a loving parental home was probably best survived by having a boyfriend or girlfriend, especially if parents were becoming a nuisance who didn’t understand our needs – just like they felt when we were born.

Really dealing with loss, really letting go, means something else. It means when there is no-one to catch you, no replacement or substitute, no affirmation of your desirability or personal value, and you are letting go something you really do still want but that will never be what you want – you are not killing yourself, or even part of yourself.

OK. Shut up Hathaway and stop intellectualising or your wrist will snap. This feels bad, but I am beginning to understand that I really am alone in this world and that I have not lost unconditional love. It was never there. In truth my feet are inches from the grass, and like it or not I have to walk away. It isn’t night, and it isn’t sunset, it’s just grass. There is nowhere greener, but at least I am allowed to walk on it. No-one is holding me, I have to let go. I don’t lose anything by letting go; I lost that some while back.

To be continued …