On a lonely road


In between flights at Charles de Gaulle - that collection of centipedes wriggling us out to possible futures (including that very rich one)- and contemplating two months in a bleak Austrian Studentenheim, I fell, finally, and fatally, for the ipod mini.

I sit on my cello`s flight case in the departure lounge, touch the screen to select the itunes freebies and discover, as if someone somewhere knows I am on a lonely road and I am travelling, that they are all by my beloved Joni Mitchell. I kiss its shiny skin and let myself be caressed.

Suddenly it`s playing `Little Green`- the song Joni wrote for the child she felt unable to take care of, who she gave up for adoption but with whom, in later life, she became happily reunited. Her voice sounds like she is naked on a tightrope in a huge sky, very high and clear like thin air. It cracks occasionally and I think she`s going to fall....

Gripped by this raw quality I find myself once again haunted by the jagged line between breath and annihilation. I cannot stop thinking about K`s suicide, by the image of his body on the railway track, his song silent now, forever.

A friend who has adopted is angry. She knows the tendrils of abuse that can strangle an innocent life and has given Clara - my Godchild - the miraculous chance for a brighter path. She cannot find it in her heart to forgive K.

Another friend, the estranged father of whose son committed the same act, seeing the fury in her son`s broken heart, has vowed never to succumb to that way out, though there are times when it feels like the easiest. She may never forgive B but his death may yet save her life and that of her young child.

Is it the ultimate selfish act to rob those who love and need you of your life-blood, of even the dream of an answer one day, when things are better? Is it inverted arrogance to think that the worst of Daddy is worse than Daddy No More? Is it the ultimate cowardice?

As I crouch on my big white case I am beckoned to pre-board, and as I rise my anger at K`s abandonment rises with me - like vomit, unbidden. The feeling, having dreamed of the a chance to nurture a child of ours and having that chance denied, is malicious:

"So this is what you want, K? Attention? Everyone talking and emailing about your shining spirit without having to deal with the nitty-gritty of you; the ordinariness of you? That, whilst your children stand black clad staring at a black box the grownups say is Papa but which they can never open?"

I`m struggling with emotions I cannot control and yet still I want desperately to forgive, clutching at the hope that those of us who can might possibly buoy up those who simply cannot.

Later, I sit alone in my Salzburg hotel room, my ipod gleaming on my attempt at the lotus position, and I arc the tip of my finger round to select Jack Kornfeld`s forgiveness meditation:

"Forgiveness is the act of not putting someone out of your heart, even those who are acting out of deep ignorance or out of confusion and pain."

I`m working on it, with a little help from my silver ifriend.


Such complex issues. So many more questions than answers. But essential questions to ask and consider, even if the answers aren't clear or available. And beautifully written, as always.

Joni Mitchell, Jack Kornfield - I love that some of your bright talented guiding stars are also mine. Who the hell can be objective or wise about the death, and especially the suicide, of a loved person? But for what it's worth, I don't believe suicide is ever a choice, but a moment that felt like there were no more choices. Feeling so bad about yourself that you don't want to live any more surely presupposes not believing your death could possibly be a painful loss to anyone.

"Forgiveness is the act of not putting someone out of your heart, even those who are acting out of deep ignorance or out of confusion and pain..."I had read that before. Thanks for putting it in your blog. Today I'll try and forgive Will VZ. It's about time...27 years of being pissed off at a great guy is a bit excessive.

thanks jean for that. your words are really wise about it being a moment of no choice. glad also that you have such good taste!

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