The Funeral

So I had died.

I no longer existed.  I was at once two and one at once.  No longer knowing the boundaries of my own body, what was once familiar seemed alien, I was I and not I all at once.

I/we sat in the bath, I/we could not sit right, parts of me/us hit the bath that had never touched the bath before.  My/our stomach sagged, my/our breasts were enormous.  I/we looked in the mirror.  Whose body was this, what had happened… she was gone.  Tracks of green criss crossed my/our breasts in a furious pattern of growth and sustenance, blood rushing to grow this new body, this one who was no longer one, but two at the same time.  Did those breasts belong to me/us?

Vent on Tongariro, NZ, vulva
This is a still active vent on Mt Tongariro in New Zealand. To me it typifies the ever changing nature of Mother Nature, and of a woman’s body. It is always changing, always altering, and full of life and death. At once both at the same time and neither at once.

I/we showered.  I/we reached under my arms.  I/we panicked.  There were bulbous grapes underneath.  In my/our dazed state I/we wondered whether this body had developed cancer overnight.  No.  It took weeks for a specialist to confirm that no, I/we was one of a select group of women who have significant breast tissue under the armpits.  My/our armpits were swollen with milk for us/him.

I/we was now, had become the dyad.  But I was still mourning the murder.  ”I” had died, and I/we did not know what to do with this new landscape.

I/we tried to pretend that “I” had not died.  That “I” still existed.  HE did not need feeding on HIS schedule.  I could dictate that.  ”I” could be resurrected from the dead.  This was what “I” had learnt.  This was what “I” had expected.  Where was my/our “What to Expect” book… I/We found it.  And I/We devoured it searching for signs of “I”.  There it was.  HE would need to only feed every three hours.  I/We went to bed, and I/We set the alarm clock for three hours into the future so that I/we could wake HIM and feed on schedule.  HE did not know that I/We had read a book.  HE was reaching for WE and I/We was running screaming back to find “I”.  HE woke.  After 2 hours, HE woke.  HE was not expected.  Not what I/We had read.  This body was rebelling, HE was rebelling, I was running screaming to find “I”, because it MUST exist somewhere.  ”I” had to be able to be retrieved.  Day after day, night after night, my body leaking everywhere, blood and milk, HE tried to reach for WE, HE tried to tell me that WE needed, WE needed me to let go of I.  I/We were in pain, He/We were in pain.

HE would scream for WE.  Every day.  Every single day.  And every now and again WE would come together and WE would smile.  And I/We stopped looking for “I”.  And then as I/We would put HIM to bed, he would smile at I/We asking to stay with I/We and I would run screaming again, and HE would cry alone.  Alone because I/We had run off in search of “I”.  ”I” who had gone on August 14, 2005.  I/We thought he was grinning, was LAUGHING and telling I/We that “I” could never be found every again because HE was in charge.

The books told I/We that yes, HE was manipulating I/We.  That to get “I” back, there was training needed.  So I/We started to break.  I/We fell into a deep pit.  The deepest pit of despair.

I/We called my/our anchor, my/our darling husband and declared that I/We would no longer exist.  That I/We was off to find “I”, that HE would be better off without I/We, that both of them would be better off.

My/our darling husband replied.  ”I want you back”.

I/we thought, he knows.  He knows that “I” is dead.   Husband let me/we lie on the bed, screaming to find “I” as he walked HE constantly, up and down, up and down, up and down.

And then, I/We admitted.  Admitted that “I” might be dead.  That “I” needed to be let go.  I/we sunk into the drugs, the prescribed ones, the ones that would supposedly fix things.  I/we sank into the therapy

But what was left.  What was left?

Because there is no authorised script in this culture for interdependence.  There is only a script for independence.   I/We existed, in a state of mourning, in the longest goodbye to “I” because nowhere in the life of “I” had there been a narrative that allowed the growth of the dyad.

*** This is Part Two in my series on my sink into Postnatal Depression, for Part One please see here.  There will be more posts coming on my journey.  Please stay tuned.

Please also note, that this post in particular is heavily influenced by Luce Irigaray and her polemic, This Sex Which is Not One.

3 Responses to The Funeral

  1. LOVE
    Because there is no authorised script in this culture for interdependence. There is only a script for independence. I/We existed, in a state of mourning, in the longest goodbye to “I” because nowhere in the life of “I” had there been a narrative that allowed the growth of the dyad.

  2. I know this place too. It was dark and frightening. And when the I emerged again, she was completely different. I like the new me. I wish I’d known to expect her all along. Such silliness – thinking that the I can survive and still have the children stay whole….

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