Sea Stroll, Black Dog

WordPress is featuring Mental Health as a top blogging topic for 2014. So I thought I’d drop my few words into the pot  too.  If  you’re interested check out the blog-roll at Blog for Mental Health 2014 .

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Meanwhile I’m still strollin’, still thinking….about my mother.  And the sea. Where I live, the sea is close, the land is flat and the skies big.  The tides come in and the tides go out.  Always. I  do love ole’mother nature. I know I can rely on her to sort me out.
My birth mother lost the fight with the Black Dog after several traumatic bereavements in quick succession, including a week old baby sister of mine born with an incurable  heart condition. In those days I guess post-natal depression was even more misunderstood and stigmatised than it is now. We don’t mention the s. word in my family, or in Britain much at all. And in Britain, we’re oh-so-famous for our oh-so-stiff upper lip.  I mean – look at me – chin up, nose in the air, just keep on going.   For all you know, I could  be thinking about… buttercups,  or what’s for dinner.  As for that to do list, I’m goin’ to walk on, right on by…
Thank the blogosphere, things are slowly changing.   If my mother had lost against the black dog a decade or so ealier, she (and, by an invisible  extension, the whole family)  would not only have  been labelled  a loser, but also a criminal.   In Britain, we had a macabre history of hanging those who failed to kill themselves…  ( Al ALvarez: “The Savage God”)
My mother didn’t fail. The  Black Dog dragged her under, leaving its large black pawmark on our family.
At one point in history the children of the Black Dog’s victims were disinherited.  In our family this tradtion has persisted in a bizarre manner.   It’s only in the last few years, many decades after her death, that I’ve received, or been allowed to take,  a few of my mother’s personal and family possessions, including letters and photos which have lain mouldering in friends’ cellars all this time.
Amongst these personal effects are a few special, prized possessions.
And absolutely invaluable, I’ve come to realise,  for every H.M.H.   Such  essential  standbys,  good for most emergencies,  that I just can’t stop  buying them…   Now I never leave home without a pair – or several.    For an  H.M.H’s bag can never be too big or too full…    In fact,  I def-in-ite-ly need them right now…

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I decide to get out and blow the cobwebs away, but there’s that ole’ pesky to do list rearing it’s scraggy head again.

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Then sea makes me think of my mother. La mer. La mère. I wish I could ask her for tips with how to deal with it all.  You know Life, Children, the Universe.  In Capitals.  Mothers are meant to know about these things, be the fountain of all wisdom, come out with the right words at the right time, wise words to pass on to their children.

I wish my mother was here. But she’s not. When I go to the cupboard where  maternal wise words are stored, the cupboard is  bare…  Not a scrap. Not even a tin of baked beans.  She’s not been around for a long long time.

As for wise words, well, I guess I’ll just have to make them up,  or voyage into the blogosphere…