Five Minutes

[Please note: This is a flashback to part of my reality towards the end of last year, and may contain triggers for you if you’ve suffered child loss. Things are vastly better now, but triggers (as I discovered, as my eyes hollowed and I fell once again under its thrall and swirling darkness) can still bring it all back to me, though less powerfully. The feelings are not gone, but less intense, and circumstances have changed vastly (for the better) from this night. But I suddenly needed to write this out of me.]

“Stop. Right now. Put everything down and just get out there. Get outside and stay there for five minutes. Just breathe. Please go…”

I can’t. I don’t want to.

I want to give in. I want to go and fetch a glass and drink until my wine-stained lips lose all coherence and I no longer care about being at the mercy of my own mind. To sip again and again, the shuddering tang in my throat telling me that I’m nearly there – nearly safe from this torture – nearly back to oblivion, where (for a while) reality’s claws are cut and her shackles fall free. To see through unfocussed eyes, and laugh and laugh because by altering my mind, it becomes impervious.

“And don’t you dare drink. Go!”

Engulfed again, pain bubbling up like a spring of bitter poison within my heart, welling over and tainting every drop of blood until it feels as though my veins are on fire and my arteries are steadily carrying the toxins deeper in until they permeate every cell.

I’ve never known hurt like this. And I stand on the edge of the Abyss, trapped in a hell of twice-losing; broken.

You’d never know it from the outside, for daylight and artfully constructed normalcy hide the filigree of cracks across my skin, but as night falls and shadows deepen, those cracks become more pronounced – more visible against the fading skies.

“Are you listening to me? You need to get out of here and go. Just go and be THERE, please, for me…”

Mute, my fingers doing the talking, I concede, the world shrunken to the size of the room, the silhouettes of my thoughts dancing voodoo against the perimeters, surrounding me.

I stand. Unplug. Move.

One stumbling foot in front of another, reaching for the door, as per my instructions, unable to think for myself at this time, but following blindly that guidance from another who Knows this place.

A small, wavering part of me is thankful she’s there. The rest is raging darkness, pressing outwards against the cracks in my skin; seeping through and covering me with a cloak of dispair as the scent and smell and sound of grief – that deafening scream, relentless inside my head, blocks out all input and leaves me stunned with its power. Crippled by its overwhelming strength. Helpless before it.

I look back briefly – that saviour screen is still flickering, offering a life-line. She’s still there. Five minutes.

Five minutes.

Hand to the key, I twist and step free, ignored and inconsequential to the one I most want to notice me, yet I’ve lost him again to his own Demon, and it’s too late at night for anyone here to be awake. I am alone.


The night outside mocks me with an orange glow of street-lamps and their garish light reflected back from the low-based clouds busy emptying themselves over the city. Blurred cars splash past, leaving glittering white and red trails of light bouncing from the rainwashed tarmac in their wake.

I step forward, leaning out, desperate to see some kind of heavens, but the broiling clouds are complete in their smothering, and there is nothing but rain, pouring steadily in sheets, gusting in shimmering curtains under the lights, their downpour perfectly reflecting my mood.

And here, the shattering happens, as I look out from the first floor and feel the chill water on my skin, watching it mingle with tears as they fall, matching torrent for torrent, down into free space to the earth below. And I wonder what it would be like to fall with my tears.

Five minutes.

If I landed, I would surely complete the breaking which has already begun. The body going the same way as the mind – off the deep end and into oblivion. And then, if released, I might see them both – finally gather them into my arms and smell their sweet scent and murmur their names. Finally carry them as I was unable to do in this world – as I tried, and failed, to do – for they were broken long before I was.

Would it bring me everything I wanted? The only thing I could see that mattered?

Still mute, but with my soul screaming and twisting within me, I step forward, holding the idea lightly – playing with it; inspecting it from all angles, as one does a new toy. And I wonder if it would work.

Silently I call out to the night to see whether Sam and Jesse are even out there – whether they can hear me and affirm that this is even worth doing: whether I’d even succeed.

Five minutes.

The night is inscrutable and yields no answers. I crumple, images springing unbidden to my mind of those who need me here, and I know I can’t leave them; can’t gamble their grief on an unknown afterlife which mightn’t bring me back my children, even though this world may never offer replacements.

And as I sob, knowing my tattered heart will keep beating, the faint light of that screen through the window, and the person it contains; the faint light of the thoughts of my loved ones; my family; my friends; join together and grow stronger as one, providing me, somehow, with reason to whisper my babies’ names to the night, just to have said them, then dry my face and walk back into that stifling room.

“Are you alright?”, he notices, glancing up as I reach for the tissues.

“Yeah. Fine. Just went out for some air”, I lie, unwilling to provide his Demon with further weapons.

Sit down. Plug in. Bring the saviour-screen back close.

“Are you there?”

“Yeah. I didn’t jump off the balcony…”



44 thoughts on “Five Minutes

  1. I can't imagine
    or rather try not to imagine
    because it would make me cry
    hot tears that have no end.

    Sometimes… words just don't feel enough except to say…

    I hear you, I see you, and I am listening. *hugs*


  2. True. And how many of these women (including you) have been the ones who've helped me and held me up and kept me going. That's so vital.

    But I hadn't considered the people who aren't able to comment or give voice to their hurts. I hope they have people like you and Kristi and Christine around them. I hope they have *someone* to get them through.


  3. Sharing your pain helps you and helps others you don't even know about. Notice how many women in these comments alone have said they have lost a baby, too (including me)? Think of the ones who read this who don't comment. Or can't talk about it. It will help.


  4. Breathtaking…. sitting here in silence, gasping and taken with your darkness and your grasp of it all and release of the horrid air that you are forced to breath in. I hate it so very much. I hate that you suffer like this. I hate that you have been beaten by infliction and death and pain and rage and sickness and lethal fallen arrows pierced right into your heart. I hate it.

    Your words describing this night and all it's heavy weighted submerged hopelessness was something most could never express- as it's almost 'indescribable'. You, my love- are able to share the 'indescribable'. That is a gift.


  5. Thanks, Old Egg. It certainly makes it easier to reveal this kind of thing and know it's being well received. Don't feel inept. This was all a while ago now. I'm in a much better place now, thank goodness.


  6. How important it is to be able to talk about. How inept we feel when we want to say something to you to help ease the pain. I just hope that the warmth of the comments comfort you.


  7. Thanks Josie. It was quite the prompt, and I was going in a WHOLE other, much more sparklyfun direction with it, when I fell over a trigger and the entire thing got rewritten into this. I think it needed to be done though. And thanks for hosting. I do so love your link-up πŸ™‚


  8. Late is fine. And you're right – this is the kind of doozy it needs the right frame of mind to manage. It certainly took me by surprise, but I think it was helpful in the end. Got something out which needed to be 'out' and free.

    I'm definitely in a better place now, thank you πŸ™‚


  9. Sadly I think people do go trough this alone, or, maybe DID before the internet. I think I may have. But. well, here. now. And your friend? Adores you right back. xo


  10. This one took my breath away dearest Lizzi, for once (and it might surprise you) I really have no long strings of words to fill up this box… I simply say I know, I have been in this place. Thank God for the rain that mingles with our tear, and thank God for those who wait for us while we weigh out our future and our intent. Beautifully written, it really says it all.


  11. I've been meaning to come by and read what had come from the comment exchange on Facebook with Laura last night. I knew it would be something that needed stillness and attention to get through, so I'm here a bit late. So sorry, Lizzie, but so glad that you are in a better, more hopeful, place now.


  12. It was cathartic. And good to finally get it out and into words. I hope it will help others, rather than send them into a tailspin.

    I'm sorry to hear you've been there. There sucks. I'm glad you're now Here. πŸ™‚


  13. I hope this was a cathartic for you as it will most definitely be for many others to read. Though in some different circumstances….yes I've been there. Hugs and smiles to you, LIzzi. πŸ™‚


  14. LOL! Sorry about the effing up. But not, because at least it means the writing works. MOJO BABY!

    But yes, I know what you mean. Sometimes it feels like effort, but I SO enjoy the prompts and I know I can't do one without the other…


  15. I wrote the first part of something earlier, which hearkens back to those darkest days. And it was SUCH relief to find that I could write it and immerse, but then emerge unscathed. Such. A. Relief!

    I don't want to go back, and I shall take every care to see that I don't.

    It doesn't have to be a life sentence, I agree, but it does…hang around in the shadows somewhat.


  16. you should know that when I enter Two Shoes Tuesday and find I have already read an entry I do a little happy dance in my head that I have one down and however many to go…. unfortunately or fortunately I am always compelled to reread yours and you kinda eff that up for me in a good way I suppose… hahahaha… thats what ya get for being a compelling writer!


  17. The more you open, like this or in any way, the more you let go, and the less of a hold it will get. And the more you allow your feelings, the less of a hold it can get. You've written before about how you are learning to feel your feelings – that's the route out of depression, that and questioning your thoughts and seeing that how you look at life is what hurts not what happens. And you are doing that too, so my guess is you're going to be just fine.
    It's not a life-sentence – I haven't been depressed in years. Sad yes, deeply sad (most recently after my dad died) but not that hopeless depression.


  18. I'm glad we both did. We live, we cry, we hurt, and if we're lucky, we learn. And eventually we laugh and go on living.

    To be honest, where depression is concerned, the decks are already rather stacked against me, as it hides not-so-well in my past, and sometimes tries to set up a recursion.


  19. Thanks Sandy. Not that I ached you, but that the writing was good. I'm TenBajillion Things of Every Shade of Thankful that I'm in a better place now.

    And my friend in the screen. I owe her bigtime. She Knows, and is generous enough to try to teach me, constantly, about how to make it through this thing called Life.

    Also grateful for you and your lovely friendship, tho πŸ™‚


  20. *shudder* I hope no-one has to go through this alone. I know that they do, and I hate that. Thanks for liking the writing. And I'm also absolutely OVER THE MOON that I'm in a better place. I was told it would be so.

    She is. She does. And I should. Someday I'll learn. πŸ˜‰


  21. Yes, good.

    I know that feeling too. For me after miscarriage was deep depression but not like this. I was there in my twenties after the break-up of a relationship – though really it had been building for years and that was the final straw. It wasn't a balcony for me, but I recognise that terrible emptiness, that sense of not wanting to go on. I'm glad you did go on, and glad I did too!


  22. I don't think I knew that about you Michelle 😦 Sorry to hear that.

    But yes – looking back is incredible – to see the distance we've come in between times…wow!


  23. Afraid to say, I also rank among those who been there and done that? It's agonizing, takes darned long to leave behind, but you feel a strange sense of amaze,net when you do.


  24. Oh Jny! I'm so sorry to hear you went through this too. I'm really glad you had Jim to look after you so well, but I can't imagine trying to continue life not having told anyone else. That must have been incredibly lonely 😦

    I remember feeling utterly alone, and like a complete, abject failure when it happened. Both times.

    I'm so glad your friend had you to support her through this. That's the learning we get, isn't it (hopefully) – the ability to connect on a different level than before, and to help other women through it. That's why I write these things.

    And yes – some of the comments I had were shocking! Fortunately not too many though.



  25. I really am in a better place. I promise. But I don't think this is
    something which ever gets left behind, nor do I think it's meant to.
    That's how our world works – by the intensely souldeep care of parents
    for their children (in the 'meant-to-be' version, anyway).

    glad you appreciated the honesty – it's really important to me to tell
    the Truth about this; if at some point, it could help one person who's
    going through it to feel less alone, it will have been worth it. Added
    to which, writing is marvellous therapy…


  26. well it is just so hard, it is the hardest thing, I had this happen too. I had been so happy and so excited. Then I grieved and never stopped. I lost my dear little baby.
    I had a friend who had this happen, years later, and because it had happened to me I was able to write her. We wrote back and forth, and she and I became close.. She was Robert's teacher. We are still close…more than people understand.
    Nobody who had not had this happen seems to understand. Yhey often say the weirdest most awful things to try to console you. You know the things they say. It is hurtful and negates what has happened,
    I never told anyone until, so all I had to deal with was my own pain.
    Jim brought me little presents for months and months and months because he understood my sadness. I was engulfed in Bettie Boop t shirts and cheap earrings because of Jim.
    I love you, dear Lizzi. xoxoxoxoxox jean


  27. Yes, good, you wrote it out and you can move on. And of course you wrote it so stunningly gorgeous. So heartfelt and raw. Wow.


  28. It sucks that you understand. But thank you. Time is…if not a healer, a good distancer. When I get swamped these days, it's shallower and for a shorter time. Thank goodness!

    And quite! I'm glad I did, too!


  29. I wish there were words that ease, that heal. I understand the need to write it. I understand the hurt. The need to say the things out loud. I am so very sorry. I'm glad you took the “leap” a different way, turning it towards friends and family, your writing.


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