So. The washing machine of grief, the viscous cycle, the ringing out. No soft soap for you, you have a dead sister and there is not one thing you can do about it. Some posts ago, I, in my naivety, spoke of my grief around the loss of my sister feeling lighter, softer, more manageable. Something like that. Some shit like that. I’m not going to look at the post, I know I mentioned smiling at Madonna songs and memories of Libby. Sure, I can listen to Madonna now and like it, I do smile and I think of Libby, us dancing and singing. Easy. But do you think I can get anywhere near the Amanda Palmer song I played – and nothing else – for months and months after Libby died? No way. That song, ‘In My Mind’, is off limits. I ruined it by playing it so much, convinced as I was that Libby had never heard so it was ‘safe’.
It’s not that I don’t love it I do, it’s that the song takes me back to the first days of no Libby. To the cops in my kicthen, to telling my other sister, Erin, to having to tell my parents their daughter is dead, to driving around in shock and tears and with a list of things to do.
Nxet month it will be two years. And what do I get to do about it? Stamp my foot (not even for real, in my head) and not play that song. That’s it.
And the washing machine seems to be stuck on the angry cycle.
I’m not great at anger. I don’t love it. Some people fight, some people fuck off, that’s me, the second one. Conflict resolution is a fine idea, managing your anger constructively must be great. But I’m anxious by nature, and anger, well, it makes nauseous. I shake and cry, and with Libby being gone, and nobody to blame, there’s no one to cry or vomit on.
Two years and I’ve learnt heaps, stuff about thankfulness and mindfulness and about remembering the good times. To date, until tonight, I haven’t let myself be angry.
Or maybe I have. I think I must be angry at me.
I don’t go to Platypus Rock as much anymore, I’ve been six times this year, and that might be a lie. Because really, whether I’m standing on a big rock beside a smooth running river, or I’m here at my keyboard, or in bed where it’s safe, there is nothing I can do. I can’t bring that girl back but I can sure be mad at me about it. And I’m used to being mad at me.
Anger must be a close relative of shame, an uncle, or maybe a twin.
I feel anger and shame. Makes you wanna swear and feel bad about it. Fucker. Sorry. Fucken dead sister. Sorry about that.
And so I write. Last year I wrote a novel that I chucked away. This year I wrote a novel I’ll keep if I can get out of bed to send it to my editor. I write on my blog, I sometimes get paid to write, I write less-than-straight letters to my sons’ teachers. I’ve written about child abuse, and depression, and sexuality, and sadness, and grief and grief and grief.
But I don’t know how to express anger. There is no eloquence to be found in how I’m feeling. And there’s no beauty or joyful surprise in the discovery that I’m angry and ashamed. I feel pissed off and pissed away.