At three am Prince Charming started barking profusely. Cinderella joined in. I am a light sleeper and immediately awake. I am not scared. Just annoyed at the disturbance of my sleep. At five am, Blackie the cat decided to investigate what is behind the cupboard door in the room next to mine. The cupboard door has a spring. He pulls it with his front paw and then the door slams closed again, over and over and over. I angrily jumped out of bed with this second disturbance of my sleep in one night. I marched into the room, opened both cupboard doors and almost slammed the cat’s hotel door behind me. At six am Biscuit started to meow. If the SPCA could hear him, they would accuse me of not feeding my cat. I got up frustrated, fed the cats and fell into bed for a desperate extra hour of sleep.
Lockdown was a disruption to your exercise programme, my Beloved. Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 16.00–17.30 was your gym time. You often said that 90 minutes three times a week were the only times you felt a little bit happy. The exercise bike was part of your routine. Many people who saw you in action were amazed at the frenetic speed with which you cycled. I understood that. You were purposefully manufacturing endorphins for your body to supply the shortage in your brain. Anything to get those neuro-transmitters to work. Not being able to go to gym was a huge disturbance to your routine, and it robbed you of your emotional balance. The bereavement counsellor said it was akin to suddenly being without half of your medication for three months. The half that kept you going. The half that gave you a little bit of joy, three times a week for 90 minutes.
Your death is a disruption that dislodged me. It knocked me with force out of the rhythms we developed on the theme of staying alive. I have to learn to take the ‘me’ out of ‘us’. So much of me was geared towards you. Such focus on lessening your pain and suffering. How I desired to impart some of my love of life and breathe it into you. I can no longer negotiate ways to give you that kiss of life. You are so completely dead and beyond my reach now. I cannot even pray for you anymore. I now have to pray for those who are still alive and locked in this wrestle with death. That whatever disturbs, disrupts and dislodges them, they will find their way to live another day.
A book by Matt Haig, ‘Reasons to stay alive’, threw us a lifeline a few years ago. This quote stood out: “Depression is also… smaller than you. Always, it is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you; you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky, but ‒ if that is the metaphor ‒ you are the sky. You were there before it. And the cloud cannot exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.” Whoever you are, in your search for sunshine, may the sun break through the cloud of depression for you.
Romans 8:37-39 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” My God, thank you that André is safe in Your embrace. Jesus, the salvation You bought for us cannot be nullified by anything we do. Holy Spirit, I will hold onto Your guidance in the midst of any disruption that causes me to lose my balance. André’s death cannot separate me from Your un-ending love for me. Steady me, God, steady me.
Annette de la Porte