I really didn’t know what to write about today. I asked my friend, and before she could answer, I said “Grief’, loss”, that’s it. That really is the only sense I have right now, two deaths that are closer to me this week, one from cancer, one from CV, and the new knowledge of CV deaths at the college I work for. I feel very much in the front line of grief this week.
Another direct personal loss was my MS nurse who has supported me for the last 8 years. I received a phone call from another nurse who needed to ‘tick boxes’ on her new register. I asked where my usual MS nurse was? The new nurse mumbled something about her being ill and not coming back, but then retracted and said she didn’t know her at all. I said I was sad and that I wanted to say goodbye, to thank her for all the support she had given me.
Eight years ago, when I had to give up my beloved job in the NHS, my nurse was there for me, she listened, and supported me in taking the next steps in my life’s journey. I sent an email to the new nurse to pass on my letter of thanks but I doubt she will ever receive my thanks. Has she died? I don’t know and no one can or will tell me. That’s just how it is, my new nurse knows nothing about me, and was distracted by her barking dogs. She told me that from here on things were changing, consultations would likely be by phone or through the screen.
It reminded me of when I had to leave my NHS job, taking with me years and years of knowledge about patients I had been looking after, IAPT weren’t interested in my findings, my stats, my concerns, and how I’d done a successful job.
We are numbers, only to be seen through a screen or through a mask. As a psychotherapist, working for decades to get rid of my mask, my ‘false’ self (as Donald Winnicott would say) only to find the universe is requesting I put one back on. And to be a number, I must be jabbed, marked somehow.
Below the photo is a poem I wrote, inspired by the ‘The Wing Assignment’ arts project. As Rachel Pantechnicon poet would say, ‘life is partly nice, partly nasty’. I was admiring the poppies at Peckham Rye then stepped in dog shit.
Bingo Wings Flapping in the Sun (Everyone has Bingo Wings)
M wings are over 5.5 decades old
In over 5.5 weeks of lockdown
The slow metabolism of carrying weight
As the wait of uncertainty
Begins to create
The worldwide break
Down of life, as my wings knew it
My bingo wings flap
What goes up
Must come down
40,50,60,70, lengths of the Pioneer pool
Will not change time
I stretch my arms up and down
And down and up
The wings still hang, wise and weary
Writhing in the snake pit below
As the divide strengthens, to conquer
I look up at the sun
Soaking in the vitamin D
That will conquer CV
Eros, equated with the sun
Breathes the spirit of life
The erotic, the creative, and in the psychoanalytical world, it is sometimes said ‘you live your life in the same way you experience sexual intercourse’
My bingo wings, flapping in the sun
Over cum ing, Cummings
And his dread of death
The voices behind the WHO (not of the Roger Daltrey kind)
Have clipped my wings
The little boy in ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ screams
“It is the soil, not the germ”
As we learn
My bingo wings WILL keep flapping in the sun