I normally stay away from trite platitudes and I hate poetry. I can’t stand the bulk of crap that is forwarded on email, and I am generally quite cynical. But this is a simple way of describing how I am feeling to people who can’t imagine. It is like a wall hit me in the face, that I hurt all over, and I can’t go back to the way things were – while the rest of the world walks in the sun…
You are walking along fine with everyone else and the sun is shining and all is well, then you walk SLAM into a brick wall. And it hurts – it really hurts. It hurts your head and your chest where your heart is and your stomach. And it shocks you as only slamming into a brick wall can. It stops you dead in your tracts. And you stand there thinking, “How did I not see that coming? What the hell happened? How could someone just do that to me?” And you look around and everyone else seems to be walking round the wall. They are carrying on like nothing happened and the sun is still shining for them. They don’t even see the wall. They don’t even know it’s there. And you realise you didn’t even know it was there till you hit it – you didn’t even know there was a brick wall you could hit – not now, not at this stage. And slowly you pull yourself back together. The pain in your stomach has turned to a sick feeling and your heart still hurts, your mind racing with questions about this brick wall – How, What, Where, Why??? Mostly WHY??? Why on earth would someone make you walk into this wall – why did they have to put it in front of you and no-one else?
And you can walk again now the pain in your stomach and maybe your legs has lessened. So you slowly make your way around the wall and to the other side. But it doesn’t look the same on the other side. It’s greyer and emptier. And you know you’ve left something behind – something very precious and you want it back. So you turn round and there is the brick wall behind you and it seems to hit you with the same force again when you realise you can’t go back. It’s blocking your path and it will always be there. You pummel your fists on it and cry and shout at it but it’s unbreakable and absolute. It won’t let you get your precious bundle back – that has to stay on the other side and you must carry on without it. You can’t go back to the path you were on before you hit the brick wall – it’s impossible. So all you can do is go forward and walk on from it. But it’s hard going and your legs don’t seem to want to walk away from it. You know when you look over your shoulder it will always be there. It may fade a bit from view but if you look closely you will always be able to see it – even in the distance. And you look around you again and see all the people who never hit the brick wall carrying on too. You tell some of them about the brick wall and they sympathise – it must’ve hurt they say. You are looking very well despite this brick wall – you have no cuts or bruises on the outside because those heal. So you must be doing ok then now they say. But my wounds are on the inside you feel like screaming. How can you not know about this brick wall – why couldn’t you walk into instead of me? And then you feel bad – you know you wouldn’t really want anyone else to walk into that wall.
Some people are ok – maybe they have seen the wall themselves in the past or came close to it – maybe they are really good friends/family who close their eyes and do try to imagine walking into the wall. They are the ones who help you keep walking away from it. People tell you that you’ll never hit this brick wall again – it only appears once in your life. And you want to believe them even though you can’t ever be sure. Up ahead it looks like maybe your path does cross back into the sunshine again – the same sunshine that everyone else is basking in. And you can maybe just make out another bundle waiting for you to pick up and carry with you for the rest of your life. And maybe if you are strong and keep moving forward then you’ll reach it one day. But it’s not the same bundle as before – it can’t be. That one is behind the wall. The wall that’s always there if you look over your shoulder. And written on it forever more is the message in letters a mile high, that only you can see “My darling baby. RIP”.
Rachel Butterworth (written for her daughter Rhianna, born sleeping 16/10/05.)
Taken from SANDS newsletter “Footprints” 2006 issue 2.
7 thoughts on “The Wall”
Lara, thanks for posting this so that we, the people who walk beside you and who try to shut our eyes and imagine what it must be like to walk your path, can understand a little bit of what it is like.
I’ve tripped over a curb before and I thought I knew. I love you. Really appreciate you posting this.
Greetings again. Even from across the world and without really knowing you, I wish I could lessen your hurt. I don’t think I can. Even if I’d known you all my life, I suspect I still couldn’t. What you’re experiencing is unique to you. And painful beyond my understanding. And it is part of your life’s journey.
What would You say to someone going through what you are living through?
I can only offer these somewhat trite thoughts: Breathe. One step and one breath at a time when the weight of your life requires that level of focus to move forward. Know that you are not alone. That even strangers in another country wish you ease from your pain and a recovery of good health and comfort in your life.
I expect joy and laughter are bittersweet just now. The time will come when they won’t be always be tinged with a sad remembrance. Or at least not as often.
Deep breaths and brighter joy to you.
Some tears shed. Thank you for posting this.
A very simple story to explain very complex emotions. I think of you often Lara.
I’ve hit the wall. I was told there may be a wall, but thought I was prepared, walking cautiously with arms stretched out in front of me. It didn’t help. My heart exploded with pain from the force of the hit. Why? Yes, why? Why does no one understand the amount of work it takes to stand up inch yourself around the wall, but most of all walk on. I will never be the same person, I will never really be sure that the sun will shine as bright. Some days I crawl forward only to return to sit with my back against the wall that makes me feel like my bundle is that much closer. I’ve asked how do I walk again, but no one really knows how, there are no steps, just things that help.
Oh Sara, my heart goes out to you. What has happened to you (and to me) is such a terrible, horrible thing. We live our lives in innocence of the pain, and when it happens it is like a physical shock. We never thought it was possible to feel so bad, and yet your heart keeps beating, your lungs still pull in air, life goes on. But nothing will ever be the same.