Life after the house fire became like the movie Groundhog Day. Every day was the same and I could not see any light at the end of the tunnel. I had no family to call and vent my grief as the only member still alive was my sister. Through constant interference not of our own doing we had not spoken in a few years. I just couldn’t seem to pick up the phone and make the first move because I was stupid.
Life was filled with menial things like picking out wallpaper and hand painting a lot of trim. The firemen had given us a couple of boxes that were decorated like Christmas presents. They had not wanted the kids to be upset so they had wrapped up the perished pets as gifts. Since it was in the dead of winter I could not bury them so I made a tiny raft and sent them down the river.
The last pet standing was Snoopy who was an emotional mess and he now slept his life away. The dog knew things were out of his control like I did and had lost his friends in the fire so he literally gave up. I would go upstairs every few hours and coax him down to eat or go outside. But most of the time I just hugged him and cried.
I spoke to my grandmother today. She said some friends from her choir visited and brought her tulips, white, yellow, and red. Later in the conversation, when I tried to tell her she has to stay there -in the nursing home, she wasn’t happy, “It’s like an institution,” she exclaimed. Oddly, the tulips and her comment about it being an institution reminded me of the Sylvia Plath poem “Tulips.” The poem was written by Plath after being institutionalized. She famously suffered from depression and mental illness until she inevitably took her own life. Her poetry is so powerful that I can feel her emotion through reading her words. I can see her melancholy. It does not surprise me that she took her own life, some melancholy feels inescapable as hers must’ve.
When people call people who commit suicide weak, it offends me. People who’ve committed suicide were not weak, they just are not strong enough. Many of us have gone through some of the same things that push others over the edge and cause them to take their own lives.
by Sylvia Plath
The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anesthetist and my body to surgeons.
They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.
Do I want to move to the Big City or
go back to the mountains of Vermont
where the silence is deafening, where I
will surely drown in the cavernous
green mountains, now hidden, snow
Hayley Rose 2007
Filed under Poetry, Writing
Photo by Hayley Rose, 2011
I went running in the woods on the 2.5 mile loop that I love. I was hoping to reach the very sedative yet meditative state that one reaches after prolonged physical activity, but my brain was thinking overtime par usual. I decided to run the loop twice and by my fourth mile I was getting a bit fatigued as I began my battle against the steepest hill of the trail. As I began my ascent up the monster of an incline, I noticed a very inviting bench off to the side. Maybe I should sit down for just a minute…