It's strange. My mother has been dead for 13 years now but sometimes I miss her as if she only shuffled off the mortal coil yesterday, and the communication between us was familiar and habitual, instead of a long-gone distant memory. I need her advice on things. I don't feel ready to deal with all the crap in my head alone and I'm terrified that if I dump it on those who are closest to me they'll run in the opposite direction with wings on their feet like Billy Whizz in "The Beano". Or was it that Greek God, old What's-His-Name?
Because I've been ill this past couple of years I've become preoccupied with death and loss. I feel like somebody who might already have passed away and is walking around in a ghost body wondering why everything feels different. After all, nothing in life is as I remember it; nothing is as it used to be when I felt like I belonged to life and life belonged to me. Every place I used to work has been shut down, boarded up, fenced off, is grown over now with weeds and rubbish; nearly everyone I've known in any way shape or form is gone. I can't even understand the fucking culture that surrounds me (although it did lift me a bit hearing Bob Dylan sing "I Want You" in the public loos this morning).
Every day I get up, do my thing at home and go to work wondering if I'm going to die today. Or get an urgent call from the hospital telling me I have a brain tumour. It may or may not be stupid, but that's the way I feel. So I write furiously trying to get something down before I croak or lose my job because my health becomes too poor, after which I'll be too hung up on considerations of survival to be creative. I can't think about career anymore. I can't think beyond lunch, the way my mind is going. And I'm afraid to go to concerts or plays like I used to because I imagine myself blacking out in the middle of a performance and being a ghastly tragic spectacle hauled off to hospital (again), jabbed at, tested, photographed, questioned, all in that condescending manner reserved for patients they know are really really screwed.
Some days it isn't possible to kid yourself into what used to be called "positivity" (which might be defined as a state of mind you are persuaded to adopt so that you quit bothering me), and then the anger and the fear pull at your hide like relentless, wild dogs. That's when you need somebody who can make you feel safe without making it obvious that that's what they're doing, because when anybody is transparent about trying to make you feel safe it makes you feel even more afraid. My mother was the person who used to be able to perform that trick for me, though the only thing that ever scared me more than I'm scared now, when she was alive, was her cancer diagnosis. I wish she was here now and not part of that vanished world out of which I'm floating, still, like a lost shirt on the wind.