Desperation, Delusion, Despair & ….Drunk (21-27 September)

A Life in Words

A Life in Words
…not quite there yet…

This is an unusual way for me to begin a post, but I feel the need to warn you now that it comprises a tragic mix of desperation, delusion, dependence and despair (because it was a particularly heavy week; processing my first ever experience of being dumped). It makes for a juicy read but it’s THE most embarrassing for me to date, by far and away. (The quotes I found all help to describe and/or ‘justify’ some of my feelings about it so fittingly that I decided to include them all). It’s very difficult for me to accept that I actually thought and acted the way I did: the antagonism, grovelling and bitchiness all borne of desperation, (ego-driven) pain …and a clear lack of self esteem. But this (Life) IS a learning process…

 

A Life in Words
…even if it involves THEM?

Monday 21/9/87

I’ve got it! I’ve got it! I know how we should be! [‘Should’ is one of those useless, stress-inducing words; implying obligation, duty, correctness: all of which mean different things to different people, to boot.] . . just like the Christmas holidays → then also those 3 days before the camp. That is, on the holidays, I don’t ring every day; only  be a ‘friend’ and let him decide what, if we do anything, [ugh, in other words be a door mat?] unless I’ve got a set proposition. And at school, I just don’t go up to him at all …except maybe a little bit. I don’t know if I’ll even sit near him in biology. That way he’ll have his ‘freedom’ and, will start to miss me a bit & ∴ chase me more than I do, him [Oh dear. *shakes head* Liss ….where to start?! ….perhaps by not thinking so much?]  Anyway today, ate very little .. my stomach’s shrunk. (GREAT!) Mima & fi didn’t want to do anything today. . I got my hair cut Did scrapbook most of the day. Fiona rang Mark this morning, but wasn’t home. I hope she gets around to it soon. [Seriously? Surely some part of me was aware of the futility of this caper? Getting my friends to try to retrieve information for me (‘answers’ I believed I needed – even though they were all there in plain sight…) was not just useless (why would he ‘open up and spill all’ suddenly to one of your friends? At worst, wouldn’t that in itself indicate that he wasn’t comfortable being truly open with you?) and actually counter-productive: exacerbating his negativity toward you.] I NEED HIM. [Um, like oxygen? I don’t think so.] I’m not sure he needs me now, after all this. [Ya think?] A Life in WordsIt makes me wonder how he could give up that easily. IT STILL HURTS ME. SO MUCH. [It’s still pretty fresh. That’s to be expected.] God, I wish I could turn back the clock. A whole year. [….aaaaand then what?]

Tuesday 22/9/87

In town with Fi & Mima, met Brent. Didn’t do very much really. (I was on the lookout for Trisha F bitch) [Haha, what, to “have a go”? Pffft, talking tough! I don’t have an aggressive bone in my body. I obviously wasn’t completely aware of that back then.] I didn’t have any money until late in the morning; when I found Julia & got my $50 from dad. (Then mum found me and gave me my bankbook & when I tried to swap it over for a cashcard, [yeah, that’s right people, the era of ‘plastic money’ (including Australia’s currency change to polymer notes) burgeoned in the 1980’s (even though credit cards had been around for awhile). ATM machines were slowly popping up – but only at bank branches] they said I had to be 18. That sux. I’m gonna change banks. [Can’t recall with whom I banked back then.] Fi had a doctor’s appointment. Mima, Brent & I got ice cream (gelati – I couldn’t eat it) [Now that’s a serious state of affairs – if I “can’t” eat one of my favourite treats…] Were going to get a video and watch it at fi’s but Stewart didn’t let us!! So we went home. I rang Nigel about the english [assignment??]: we’ll have to work out something. Also Steven, but he was “at the movies”. A Life in Words[Yes it gets worse: I’m now harassing his friends…] So when Jason, Fi & I got there (with Wade, David etc) I saw him and tried to talk. Keith walked past & I knew Mark was hiding. It’s almost as if he hates me. [No, he just wanted space. But in my defense, I literally was there with friends to see the movie, not to hunt him down…] He (when he did show) stayed well away not looking or talking to me at all. It hurts so much. I sat next to David during the movie & Fi & Jason said they didn’t see him, or even Keith look over once. I’m sure he’s trying to hate me. [How easy it is to create anxiety! Attempting to assume the thoughts of others is such a waste of energy: nine out of ten times you’ll be wrong and/or you’ll never find out anyway.] Walked off towards city place straight after→

Wednesday 23/9/87

→talking to Terry outside. We went to Yanks… I didn’t feel like anything to eat or drink. After, we went to Jason’s (just Fi, Mark B, & me) (David came in Jason’s car) and watched Bruce Lee (They still call me Bruce!) A Life in WordsBut we all fell asleep during it at sometime. Raining lots. At home, around 2:30, I bombed- freezing! This morning I was depressed when I thought about the movies, and how mark was. Why is he doing this? [I was so blind…] Keith even came up to me & rubbed it in.. “we were coming over & Mark said “shit!”..” That makes me feel really great. I feel like crying. Today, I watched TV, and did crash scrapbook again. I rang Fi after Steven (Steve said he’d talk when he called Mark around lunchtime) [Oh god, I wish I could shake myself!] So I told Fi Mark should be home around then. I need help. I’m hurting so much. I’ve got a horrible feeling he’s not just “having a break” so we can start again, but “having a break” so that I get used to being without him. [That’s a gut feeling. And for future reference… it’s usually right.] NO!! He can’t. Raining all day today (cool) Cameron & Glyn popped in & we went to Fi’s & then mima’s. Steven didn’t ring me back. [Certainly can’t blame him…] Sharon & I went into town first, then were rejected from Croc Rock. Waited outside freezing, for people to bring out [next page…]

Thursday 24/9/87

→some I.D. for us. Sharon in first. Then I waited ..Linda bought out the same I.D. I talked to Mark. [Privacy omission] “snuck” in. The night, as a whole, was bad. I regretted going now, tho it’s lucky I did. He spent most of his time, when I first saw him, alone, or with no girl. Keith with Angela M. I danced, hung round Sharon. Talked to him a little. Every person I spoke to seemed to be negative (no, they were negative) Fucking [privacy omission] said “he’s a bastard etc.” People all telling me he cheats on me. Even [privacy omission] admitted it. (Sharon left earlier than me) A Life in WordsI got really upset in the end & Mark got shitty (fucking Angela all over him (as good as she’d dare while I was around. The sick bitch even smiled at me all the time- until I fucked her up- dirtiest look – & she avoided me.)[There it is… vitriolic jealousy.] Eventually, to cut the story short, I talked to him ..he was really pissed off. I can’t even give him 3 days without suffocating him & even his friends, too (ringing them up) he’s pissed off I talk behind his back etc. [You totally had this coming.] Anyway, I got home around 4:15. Couldn’t sleep- got up at 8:00. Fi came round after I rang her. Long talk I told her everything, and cried. I watched TV the rest of the day & slept lots up till 6:30 …went late nite with Fi, Liam & Jason, met Pol, Brent, Peter & Mima. (Boring there) then to Jason’s to watch Pirate Movie on video. Made me sad cos I’ve got no one. [Up until this year, you had no one. You survived the first 16 years of your life without ‘someone’…] I’d desperately like to meet Phillip C soon. I need him – he’s right for me. [Oh lordy. Now you need a guy you don’t know at all, but emphatically assume is right for you? Purleeeease.] I know, when Mark’s “had his time” I’ll go back, but mate I’m gonna rev the shit out of him first – laying down the “conditions – regulations & expectations” and it won’t really bother me if he doesn’t want to comply: I’ll have P.C. [Righteo. Utterly warped fantasy. No other way to describe it.] As for Angela M & Tricia – they’ll never get what I have – his love. [Needing to feel ‘superior’ to appease my crushed Ego…]

A Life in Words
So… anyone? Anyone got the feels for me yet?! This succinct Finnish word has no English equivalent. Pronunciation? Ha, good luck! Apparently something like this: ‘moo-er-ta-ha-pay-ah’

Friday 25/9/87

Let me warn you – I’m still intoxicated at the moment. [Oh Gaaad, yes. You should’ve seen my handwriting in the diary…] I’m not supposed to let Mark know that I spent the night with Glyn & Cameron in town. [Ah… whoops, my bad? D’ya think that secret is a matter of importance 28 years on?] They were meant to go out. But mate, I got drunk & I had an ace time. I started out with Fi, Jas, Brent, Pol & Mim, late nite shopping (hoping I’d either see Philip C out or spend the rest of the night with David (Jas’s stepbrother- gorgeous hunk) [It’s intriguing watching myself ‘grasping’ for something (someone) to fill the ‘void’…] I know Mark’s with someone tonite. He’s a playboy. And he’ll never change. [If “the drunken tongue speaks the sober mind” …why was I hanging in there?] I went grass skiing with Pol, Peter, Fi & Jas. David watched- Dave hangs around alot – Hope he likes me. I think he’s gorgeous. So’s Philip. At home around 3:00- rang Cam. & Glyn …couldn’t find out if Philip was going out.A Life in Words I’ll die if he did. [Really?] apparently lotsa people I know, know I like Philip. […REALLY? Yup. Turns out I’m pretty easy to read…] It’s 12:30. Jo’s comin’ home 2morrow YAY!

Saturday 26/9/87

It’s 9:00. My first night home since Monday!! WOW! (I need the sleep!) Going to the beach with Sharon &, get this; LUCY!! Yeah, she rang this morning, wanting to go out, but this Saturday no parties & no one’s going out So we’re going to Beach party sunday night at Playpen (FUN, FUN, FUN!) Hope Philip’s there! Did nothing today (made lotsa phone calls though!) Went to the Boat Show – boring – saw Mark riding up Reservoir Road, on the way. Sharon said he was with Steven last night & no girls! I couldn’t believe it!! I’m feeling really strange at the moment _ I love him still, but I’m not missing him – I think it’s because I know we’ll get together again. Hope he’s not trying to fall out of love with me. […I don’t think people have to try to do that, Liss…] I’ll shoot him!! Jo came home – yay! Ringing late tomorrow to see if she can come out to Playpen tomorrow. Philip wasn’t out last nite. Was Raining just before – hope it’s not tomorrow. Hope I see Phillip (yummy) C. (or David!!)

Sunday 27/9/87

I had so much trouble getting to sleep last night. 9:00 I got to bed & around  12:30 to sleep. I heard a request to Joannah & it sounded like Elissa or Elisa. [The song requested was Icehouse’s “Electric Blue” …I’ve included a link to it on YouTube (below) if you’d like a listen.] A Life in WordsWondered if that was for us? (No one said who it was from.) [Chances of there being two other friends with our names in a city of about 50,000 was pretty slim, I reckon …especially my name. Oh and I/we never found out who it was either.] Anyway I got to Sharon’s on time (lucky – I got up late) To Lucy’s, then on the bus. It was very windy & grey at Palm Cove. We walked around, taking photos. Jo’s shop wasn’t open. We sat around the shop trying to ring Mr W. It started to clear up around 1:30.. we swam (Sharon & I ..in the “surf” – cold, but great fun) Saw Fi just before Mr W picked us up (just after 3:00) and she followed them to Lucy’s. We got ready after going to Sharon’s & getting her gear (Fi went home) Lucy, Sharon & I walked to Smithfield Tavern – the bottle shop was shut -everything was shut! So we went to Beach Night, sober. Got in back door – no ID asked at all. The night was excellent! Got crowded quite quickly, but there was barely anyone I knew- Sandra F, Carla G. That’s it!! So we raged something unbelievable. I had 10 Tequila slammers [shots]! […the annoying thing about my going out on a Sunday night is that YOU don’t get the full story until the next post… just like a real TV serial, you’re left hanging…]

A Gas Explosion, ASAT Rehearsals & Something is Up (17-23 August)

Monday 17/8/87

Had a really good sleep last night – long! I woke around 9:30 today. (and spent nearly all day in bed anyway). [Still ‘off sick’ from school?] Still didn’t do any of my english assignment ..nor any study for my biology exam. But I’m taking tomorrow off, too: Nana’s funeral is at 10:00 – then at home I’ll have to get myself into gear & really work. [Uh-huh…] I did feel much better today – the chest region is much less blocked & I’m coughing a lot less. I only feel “off-colour” now & then, esp. when I eat, although I do have some sort of appetite back (I’ve lost 2kgs since I got sick!) [Yep, reducing caloric inatke will usually do that…] still can’t believe Mark was “worried” about me. He said that Sunday (after the Smithfield formal party) he couldn’t play baseball, because he was sick with grief at the thought that I’d leave him when I heard about him & Angela. I’m extremely flattered (for once!) [Oh my god.] In a way, it worries me, though. I don’t know if he’s over it yet. [You’re misreading your gut instinct…] BIG gas explosion in town today near Mike’s work – we heard it here!! A Life in Words[Freshwater (where we lived) is approximately 10 kilometres from the explosion site and there’s a mountain range separating them so that’s pretty impressive. (…but what do I know about explosions?) It was the result of an LPG storage unit catching fire and killed one person, injuring twenty-seven. Here’s a link to a public government record of the incident. There’s not a great deal of detail, but the comments provide some perspectives.]

Tuesday 18/8/87

Am feeling much better today. Eating is a bit easier – don’t feel as ill when I eat (ate a lot today!) I still cough – but only ’cause’ of the chest phlem. [Yep, I spelled it wrong] Still, I get very tired. I had to rest a number of times today & actually had a sleep. Nana’s funeral was at 10:00. It was quite short & I didn’t cry. I can’t. Because I’m happier that she’s gone – she’s not in pain ..she’s with grandpa at last, too. [I’d never known my maternal grandfather – he’d passed away during my mother’s childhood.] It’s a little sad thinking about how she was, knowing I won’t see her again, but I’m just glad she’s resting in peace. I just wish she didn’t go out the way she did..that’s the sad part. [I’m not exactly sure what I meant there – whether it was referring to the ‘humiliation’ of being a morphine ‘vegetable’ or the rheumatoid arthritic disease experience as a whole. Either way, the attitude I’d developed towards death is obvious: not afraid of Death itself, but the way in which we meet it. A Life in WordsPrior to the bus accident, I’d always believed the only way to ‘go’ was to pass peacefully in your sleep (being unconscious of it). After the accident, experiencing firsthand the power of Shock; the body’s incredible hormonal response to immense trauma, to ‘thwart’ the conscious Mind, I’ve come to realise that the death experience can be – if not ‘peaceful’ – at least ‘tolerable’ in wider range of scenarios. Nana effectively died peacefully because the morphine interfered (greatly) with her consciousness.] Mark didn’t ring again tonight. I’m sure now something’s still up. I have a strong feeling he’s letting me go (cos he thinks I don’t love him.) He is all I think about! [That ‘strong feeling’? Listen to it.] All the aunts (Joy, Nancy & Ruth) + Cynthia & Dougie stayed all day. Hilary is going home tomorrow: stopping in Brisbane to scatter Nana’s ashes (hopefully with grandpa’s) Is 9:43. Take tomorrow off [school – that’s been quite awhile, now…] to study biol & do my eng. assign. (I’m still too tired in the day to go back) [oh I see…]

Wednesday 19/8/87

What a waste! I’ve written 2 sentences on my assignment & done no biol. study, watsoever! [Surprise, surprise!] A Life in WordsI read Julius Caesar today, but that was about all I did. I’m going to die tomorrow- I’ll be so behind- this weekend I’ll really have to knuckle down & work (HA, HA) [Even I don’t believe myself!] Mr. G will kill me. Oh dear; that’s all I can think about. Auntie Hilary left today (I ate so much today) was rather hot, too. Auntie Joy’s going tomorrow. It looks like we’re off to Brisbane for xmas!! (Great! Hope I can go while mark’s out of town) Wish Fi could come, or something. She’s having trouble with Jemima (it’s got to do a bit with me & everyone really) she’s just sick of all the Grade 12’s. – sitting with Yr 11 girls. Fi came round this arvy to talk – she got her lisense today! Still no call from Mark. Am hesitant about seeing him tomorrow. Will everything be O.K.?? Will have to get up early, I suppose, to do my english. Great. SO DAMNED BEHIND!

Thursday 20/8/87

Got over my assignment hassle O.K (didn’t get it finished – just talked my way out) But was supposed to have it done for tomorrow’s double lesson- & of course just like me, I didn’t bother to do any (any HW for that matter) of it. Will have to wake early tomorrow again to finish it Have only just under one page to write. Barely saw mima or fi for that matter but I know they weren’t together. Had ASAT [Australian Scholastic Aptitude Test] practise tests today. [These national exams are meant to determine each Australian students’ achievement at the completion of secondary schooling. Their applicability is becoming a societal discussion of late.] I only got 15 questions answered, but of those, I got 11 right! (Hope I can do as well, or better in the real ones) [Duh…] Read my ’83 & 84 diaries this arvy – so funny some of the things. [….try reading them in 28 years later!] 10:35 – yet another late nite. I told Jo about Adam M’s friend that likes me & she said “Philip N” I said “WHAT?” she said “He works with Philip..” my god that would be totally incredible. [Obviously I misheard Jo and got excited… a little crush, ya think?] Barely saw Mark at all – talked even less. I’m sure something’s still wrong. A Life in WordsGot Cabaret [Cairns High’s musical for the year] tickets- will pay Nigel tomorrow. Had to do thing about Monique for the Euroka this arvy- (Got photos of my leg too) Nigel read my eng. assign. on her & cried (I got 19/20 for it) [I don’t remember that… jeez, I wish I still had it… as well as all those photos of my leg…] am worried about Mark.

Friday 21/8/87

It’s 11:00. Can’t wait for tomorrow night! Got my english done (not before school as I’d planned, but during my english lesson. OK. finish, not great tho’.) Barely talked to Mark again… I’m positive something’s up: the same something as we talked about? I don’t know, but it gives me the shits. Tried to ring tonight (for once) but he was at Keith’s – too bad! I watched the movie & am now “dead”!! Tomorrow night’ll be ace! Cameron & I fighting in chem – he kicked me in the same place (left shin) 2 times- now I have a very sore lump (egg) [My shins have always been super-sensitive. I bruise really easily everywhere and often don’t know how I get a lot of them, but my shin bones… there’s NO way I’d be clueless about any damage sustained to them…] went into town with Jo & Fi after school …stayed in there for ages- Mr C dropped me home. Looking at all the great clothes (& shoes) in there (drool, drool) P.C.supp. (car) [← but I have absolutely NO idea what this cryptic wording means. I’m wondering if it’s related to the other Phil I had an interest in; Phil C.? Maybe I glimpsed him in a car? Pfft, who knows?] Bludge day, really. Pretty cool weather (about 27ºC) fine (sunny) I eat too much (fattening stuff) Must do lotsa HW tomorrow. Think I know who/that “guy” is. yukky Year 11 CAD guy. (I think that might be him cause I’ve noticed he’s nearly always around) YUKKY Mark, please get over this “phase”… it’s awkward for me. [LOL.] TIRED!

Saturday 22/8/87

A Life in WordsThe day at home was boring .. I listened to records/tapes while doing my art (weaving) – no HW (set HW) done Beautiful weather. . a little cloudy. Fi visited me late this arvy (Mark rang and it wasn’t a good phone call seemed so bored.. I felt really down after it) to borrow my black shirt. My hair was tied in rags [to create the messy wavy-crinkly look that was so hot back then!] (looked funny) Ran late of course: dinner at 7:15 – they came when I was just taking the rags out. CABARET was cool! Mark didn’t seem impressed. In fact he didn’t seem anything. I really don’t know what to do. Anyway I felt sick during last part (after interval) right up until 1:00 or so.. I lay in Fi’s car, then in Peter’s room. [There must have been an after-party…] I’m sure I was just sick from worry about Mark. [That’d be no surprise…] Jason got him to come in & we talked a little.. he thinks nothing’s happening.. so he left the room & I came out soon after .. just as well I did when I did because we left for the St. Monica’s party (Deena B) soon after (& Fiona was gone somewhere…

Sunday 23/8/87

→ I saw her ages later at the party. It was just as boring really. .had to pay for drinks etc (I couldn’t be bothered) I hung around Mark a lot in an attempt to change what has been happening all last week & the week before : that is: nothing. But I still got the feeling he didn’t want me near him. [What a waste of energy] I was especially upset when I showed him some affection & he totally ignored it. I left with Fi, very confused & slightly angry. – very hurt. Got home around 5:30, after hearing about Jo’s, Fi’s, Brendan L’s & Jason’s “problem” [??] wasted the whole day – weeping & thinking about mark. He rung in mid-afternoon. We had a very long D&M (deep & meaningful) was it meaningful? Um, yeah I guess. [….and? what? Clearly no resolution…] Tania visited just a few minutes ago (holidays from uni …didn’t know what to say) […well your sociability would have been compromised by your emotional state…] mark’s going through a “nonchalant” phase: not caring about anything. A Life in WordsI’ll just have to sit it out .. be patient as always. & hope it’ll pass soon. We talked a lot about breaking up & that worries me. [It must have been my tenacity, my resolve to not be ‘the ‘bad guy’ – the one to call it quits. I mean, it’s as obvious as a punch in the face that he wanted out, surely? I was clearly gullible, but not stupid.] NITE.

Sleep Struggles, Cramming & My First Monique Dream (15-21 June)

Monday 15/6/87

Today was non-stop for me! I had an extremely restless night – finally got to sleep round 11:30 then woke up a number of times during the night .. so tired this morning. [Stress will do that to you…] At school, when Mark came we sat & talked a little – he’s sick again. .. the headache & mainly very sore throat. After parade, had double chem.. catching up on pracs. then maths I busily worked fixing up [computer] programmes. . even worked into little lunch, trying to catch up on one programme (with Mark’s printout) so ½ way thru little lunch, I drop my bag at artroom & race off to give Mark his printout, before he left ..walked back with him to artroom (he needed paint). He left during 4th ..double art I did a bit of painting when Ms Marsland finished talking to us; that (painting) went into lunch hour, so went up to computer room & tried a few little programmes. Bell went; in english I copied out notes on novel & play for revision, then in bio got test (mark) back & fixed up all mistakes. A Life in WordsMum took me home . . I sat studying maths till about 6:30. Rang Mark briefly, then watched TV the rest of the night. So it’s now 9:45. And I’m not at all ready for this math exam(s) I really should’ve tried harder to catch up. my fault. [Ownership!] Big failure tomorrow.

Tuesday 16/6/87

A Life in Words
This isn’t the original portrait, but it certainly is yet another failed attempt…

Man, am I in a great mood! I just had a big (and I mean MASSIVE) attack of laughter (not giggles . . it was cackle) Man, was it fun! I don’t know why either! [And it doesn’t matter! It was scientifically verified quite some time ago that Laughter reduces Stress thanks to ‘positive’ hormonal responses = lifting one’s mood!] See, Maths Prac.. I think I’ll pass (just) because I managed to learn trapezoidal method before we went in .. & that happened to be the Q. [Oh and have I ever needed to refer to Trapezoidal Method again in my life (to date)? I’ll give you one guess…] But, after 2½ hours study time after it (& for lunch) I wrote out the rest of my maths I [this ‘I’ denotes ‘One’ …as opposed to another separate subject, known as ‘Maths II’ …or Maths ‘Two’…!] notes (programmes etc) But to no avail. Come the test, Elissa leaves at least 5 Q’s totally blank & writes crap for all the rest. Fact was ..I wasn’t even worried cos’ I knew from the outset I’d fail (but by how much? – HEAPS, I think) [Lower expectations = less Stress?] Then again So’d everybody else.. not many will pass that exam I think. Talked a fair bit to Mark, “in-between” ..being “sweet” today.. liked it. This arvy (Jason drove us home) did artwork of Monique & Erica, but is nowhere near them, like Mark is of his portrait. [Photo-realistic artwork can be so hit-and-miss…] so I rubbed them out v. angrily. wasted the arvy & night will have to cram for english tomorrow morning. just, really, have to learn quotes, poems & read over examples & notes. BASIC! (Ha, ha) Is 9:10. GOD, I FEEL GOOD!!

Wednesday 17/6/87

This morning I spent trying to find quotes and it was pointless. At the last minute, mum took me to school. Mark came late & sat on the other side of the room  I did not do well at all. It was a very hard english exam (of the 3 I’ve now had at CHS, [one per semester so; two in Year 11 + this Yr 12 first semester = 3] it’s the one I feel worst about.) Oh dear; I’m not doing well! Mark barely talked after – left almost straight away – his sinuses are playing up now. That’s probly why. [Another confusing statement, thanks to poor grammar… I’m thinking I meant he “probly” “barely talked” to me because of his “sinuses playing up” This composition doesn’t really help to illustrate how good an English student I was, huh?] Mum picked me up & took me home. This arvy, I did almost nothing. Tried to do art, tried a little bio study but I was too tired- lay down all arvy. And watched TV tonight (the movie too – umah! it’s 10:10 too late!) Fine today (hot too) Oh, I’m tired – what a fool I am. Thinking about Monique a lot today (dreamt about her for the 1st time since the crash, last night) Dreamt her ghost was with me – everywhere ..we talked & did all the things we would normally do. It’s not fair. She shouldn’t have died. She didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve it. I need her. I want her. [Wow, SO many things to address here, relative to the beliefs I have formed over the years: firstly, Death is only ‘undeserved’ if our perception of it is a Bad Thing. And I now think it’s not at all. (Perhaps the way you end life is more frightening than Death itself?) I believe wherever we ‘go’ after is actually our true ‘Home’. A Life in WordsEach life is a journey (of tests and/or merely ‘Experience’). So maybe she DID deserve it? Maybe she had served her purpose and deserved to be free of her “meatsuit” (body) and the trials of mortal life? We (me, her family et al) who she left here could certainly feel jibbed because her physical departure is our loss. The truth is, no one needs anyone. We can certainly want them but the Futility, that only perpetuates Pain…]

Thursday 18/6/87

Well, I’m bugared. It’s about 11:10. I just got told by Julia that it’s time to go to bed. [A wee dig at my little sister, for “bossiness”?!] I am tired, but I bet I won’t get to sleep soon. My sleep has been terrible for the last 2 weeks, or so. And it’s not doing me any good. Well, I stuffed my biol. prac. no way I could pass that (except for a miracle) that’s why I think I “knuckled down” tonight – gotta do ‘excellently’ in my theory to keep me up there. I wasted this morning – didn’t get to do any of my art because there was an art exam in our room. SHIT! I spent the time in the library, doing biol instead. Mark barely talked, but I know he’s not shitty with me. Anyway I rang him tonight – about 20mins- we got on O.K. He’s getting better finally … just his throat (& that terrible cough) now. Good-o! Boring day. It actually fined-up, but raining few minutes ago. Well 11:15 now. TOO LATE A NIGHT! Please God, help me do exceedingly wonderful[ly!] in my biol. theory!

Friday 19/6/87

It’s 10:00 now. I’m not in a great mood today well – I’m a little depressed. Mark barely talked to me today. It’s getting me down; he’s not shitty or angry with me, I know, but he barely talks to me. Anyway, after the biol. exam, he went to study & that’s the last I saw of him. I went to the art room at finished my painting. [“at finished my painting”? No, not a typo, I actually wrote that in my diary.. not thinking clearly?] Left school around 2:50. He was still in his exam. He didn’t ring me tonight (this arv.) So I rang him, around 6:50. Very short phone call. He was going to town with Keith. I can’t explain why I felt so miserable – I was ready to cry. Why didn’t he want to spend the night with me? I’m feeling neglected. I want to be loved. I haven’t had time with him for around 2 weeks.. doesn’t he miss that? I can’t understand how he feels. Jesus, I need a better diary next year. . so I can write as much as I want -2 or 3 pages. Now 10:30 -movie is finished. Got to sleep around midnight last nite (as I thought) &  woke at 6:30 this morning. What’s wrong with me?

Saturday 20/6/87

I wasn’t excessively worried, but a little disappointed (yet just as I had expected) when I didn’t get a phonecall from Mark. I spent the whole day talking to Julia, Amanda (laughing!) watching TV (the sat. morning music shows), after reading the paper (believe it or not) [Even now, I hardly watch TV news let alone read newspapers…] Well, I decided not to vege out at home – rang Fi – she was out, so rang Sharon. I went to her place then we left for the pancake house. Long talk! A Life in WordsLots to catch up on! Then to see Les Patterson Saves The World and Playing For Keeps. Les Patt. is very sick humour – Playing for keeps is O.K.!! At her place, had hot chocolate then bombed! I was so tired! – 12:45. (the day had fined up! sunny! Yay! I did no. chem. study – umah!) thought about Mark a far bit esp. trying to get to sleep- but I always do!

Sunday 21/6/87

Woke around, god, can’t remember, but I had a good sleep there (if only it could’ve been longer ie. gotten to bed earlier! My black bags still haven’t gone – big as ever!) Well, after brekky, went to Holloways Beach for about 1½hrs. (about 10:30-12:00) The back of my right leg is burnt! (scars pink!) Saw Giles S and Brendan L. Talked a little (about the crash) at Sharon’s, before she got ready for hockey and dropped me home on her way there. I knew it – I dreaded asking “No phone calls?” Nope. So I spent the rest of the afternoon doing nothing- the weather was beautiful – mum’s room so cool: I just sat lazing. It was great! Tonite I rang Fi …she said I should ring him. I wanted to, anyway but wanted her opinion. He was in the shower -rang back about 30mins later (I was annoyed!) Talk was O.K. Not exciting, but he wasn’t shitty with me. We are going to the movies tomorrow nite – I had to organise it as usual. Mima & polly just “dropped in” – walking with their family.. embarrassing – I had only my P.J. shirt on – my fat legs showing!! [I wonder how ‘fat’ they actually were? I’m skeptical about that, because of my poor self-image] Watching mini-series now. It’s 9:20 will be another late night.

Emotional Depths & A Message From Monique (20-26 April)

Monday 20/4/87

Um, was woken early by the others getting ready to go to Green Island… we dropped them off, went to the dump &, at home mum cleaned the car.. went to pick up the Dandos (remember them? John & Christine – – not the kids) [I am of course, asking to myself this question; not expecting you readers to know who these people were… Oh, and the answer is yes, I do remember them.] they stayed a while. All I did was finish covering my books & write out my chem. notes…no assignments done at all. SHIT. (all day!) The others came back around 4:00 (I cut mag. pictures & decorated my diary) After roast dinner (early) . . went to Nana’s (6:30) time flew . . at 7:30 I wanted to go ..slowly, so bloody slowly we finally got home 8:00. [I was too young and self-centred to realise that this was the last visit my aunt who lived interstate would have with her mother (Nana) before they left Cairns tomorrow. So very selfish, in hindsight…] I rang him as soon as I got in the door… cutie (short -10 min) phone call, just to hear his voice before school. A Life in WordsAfter shower, watching NORTH & SOUTH & fucking mother turned it off & made us “have an early night” …it’s fuckin 9:40.. thats not fuckin early …what’s the fuckin point? It’s shit. She’s so dumb I’m not gonna get up at 5:00. . I can get ready in  10 minutes → we’re leaving 6:15 … I’m getting up at 6:00. FUCK YOU. [Well there’s a dummy-spit and a half! Kids really don’t like Discipline do they?!]

Tuesday 21/4/87

[My cousin wrote “Bye Lis ♥ Jo xox” on the first line of this page] I was cranky at being woken at 5:45… but, once they were gone (it was freezing at the airport!) [Really? Freezing in Cairns?] I was feeling better [hmm, that doesn’t sound very nice, but I’m quite sure it wasn’t anything personal toward my cousins; I would’ve meant that my crankiness dissipated by the time they left]. .a bit nervous going to school again… dunno why .. perhaps that I wasn’t wearing the bandage? Well, that wasn’t bad at all .. most people didn’t notice (well, didn’t stare when I looked at ’em – I didn’t notice anyone noticing) [Strangely, my self consciousness about my scar had a direct effect on my courage: not typically one to make eye contact with strangers, I brazenly held my gaze upon those who noticed it, as most of them would eventually look up from leg to my face. (To assign identity? Or search for a clue in the owner’s face of the story behind the deformity?) Having grown up believing it was rude to stare, there may have been a certain self-righteousness driving my courage: by catching them gawking was I hoping to embarrass them for their overt curiosity?] s’posed to be 19º tonite YAY!! Mark & I got on v. well!! A Life in WordsSpending lotsa time together (argh – mozzies.) Had a biro fight in biology ..almost serious (was saying to Fi . . I think we can sense (well I do) when our “picking” is getting too close to a fight & thus “back off” at least a little! now Cool, great!) He rang me this arvy – wowee!!! We are becoming slightly more openly affectionate (ie: at school etc in public) Almost had a blue on the phone tonite ..but solved again! I wanna serious talk to him soon.. ask him how I’m going… whether I’m doing anything now that bugs him (I’m doing everything else he asked … talking to him – going up to him – relaxing (I think!)) [OMG, who IS this person?! The proverbial doormat? Why so eager to please, to change, for one person? Even if you’re not one to believe in Karmic debts or patterns, it’s obvious that he was an important ‘teacher’ and that this relationship presented me with some significant life lessons, for which I can only be grateful.] Walked to shop this arvy…got mima & fiona easter goodies. Am getting so fat. . . I think it may be my Freddy soon, that’s the prob! [For those that mightn’t have heard of it before, ‘Freddy’ was (yet another) slang term for menstruation…] Early! Is only 8:55 & I’m ready 4 bed!

Wednesday 22/4/87

I’m really scared. I mean really scared.. about my future. My life. These horrible feelings I have…that life is pointless [uh-huh! here it is..]. .and it all has mainly to do with Mark [oh, no, not what I was thinking…]…he is very bored (I rang him briefly tonight) with life and (we nearly had a big fight tonight) it is getting me… I feel it, too [but Elissa, you are very sensitive and often subject to the moods of others…] and it scares me.. A Life in Wordswe are too young to be sick of life already … and another thought.. no matter how I try, I don’t think I’ll ever love anyone the way I love Mark [well, to begin with, you can’t TRY to love people…] ..even when I go to Brisbane ..I’ll always have him on my mind. That’s scary, too, to think I love him so much, when I haven’t loved a guy before. [There’s always a first, for every one, in every thing…] I am capable of very deep love .. but incapable of getting over a broken love (as deep as that) I’m sure I know what’ll happen – he’ll find someone for himself, who he’ll love more than me & want to marry & I’ll still love him because I can’t get him out of my mind or heart, to love another guy… Or try to. [Good news, people; my pessimistic predictions were wrong… I didn’t suffer a loveless life. What a tragic-romantic!] Boring day. School always is … Life is. I did HW tonight. It rained today. A Life in WordsI got my senior badge. Went grocery shopping with mum after school. Ate a lot of junk. [….and THAT would’ve helped your mood. Not.]

Thursday 23/4/87

I felt kind of happy today. I still felt depressed & scared this morning.. I said I wished I’d died in the crash and so mum made an appointment with kerri [the social worker from my hospital stay, with whom I’d had the best connection] for after school. I actually hung around Mark less today..and I think it made me feel better for it …before school a little, during bio, a little of recess, a little at big lunch (was with Fi, Seigi, Nicole, Juliet the rest _ _ he missed me too: looking for me!) & minute after school. So I was happy when I went to see Kerri.. but talking brought up all my fears, worries & depression. I realised, however, that Kerri was right- I’m depending on Mark only (that’s too much for him) …I know what I need ..spend more time with Fiona, Mima, Sharon .. do the things I used to do…go out, to parties etc.. without Mark .. to free him & get some excitement or change of scene for me.. then I’ll enjoy other things more! [Hallelujah. Yes, Be Your Own Person: Life Lesson 101!] Rainy – pouring late this arvy & tonight. 9:34. A Life in WordsI must have a positive outlook to make me feel better Pessimism always nags me, tho’. I actually started some art today! Getting fat (& periods)

Friday 24/4/87

It’s raining – I love rain at night. Today was good, indeed. I didn’t talk before school & very little at little lunch ..when we did see each other at big lunch & after school.. we were happier ..for sure (well I was!) I think  the less time we spend together ..the more sacred & exciting our time together becomes. And that’s what I need; excitement .. I am seeing a difference in my life .. I’ve acquired a primarily positive outlook! [Wow, that was quick, like the flick of  switch? At risk of sounding like the pessimist I can be, let’s see how long it lasts…] Lotsa HW this weekend..english assignment & art contract due Monday. Went home in Brewer’s combi – Brent drove it to school- stopped at Kentucky Fried! Mark rang – said he’s working 1pm-9pm Sat. night – can’t go bowling (with me, mim, Brent, Fi ..) but we’ll get around that, we decided (HOW? Well, that we didn’t decide)A Life in Words went to see PLATOON Gory – gruesome. Brent, Steven & Keith were there too. (M&I walked around town first- met Gordon C. & Clayton E. & Russell C.) Dropped Keith home as well as Mark. Mark is being so much nicer lately. . .  I have 2 theories as to why ..either it’s because I feel happier that he is, or appears to me to be, [well hello! here’s a hint of the Law of Attraction] OR he has hi’s & lo’s in his personality depending on moods & he just happens to be in a good one

Saturday 25/4/87

I woke around 9:20!! Wow! Watched TV & listened to music & doing (little) homework all day… rang mima twice, Sharon once. She rang me once again & I rang Mark & he rang me. Well, I had a shower etc when mima fi & Brent came, Sharon was late. Off to Kentucky Fried (yummy! laughs!) Bowling was fun! I came last in the 1st game, but 2nd in the 2nd! Big jump! .. I needed to warm up first, that’s why I did badly 1st game. [Also, I’ve never been a star athlete… but if I try my hand at something I can usually master it, over time.] Well I rang Mark from the alley to say we’d be a little longer. It was O.K. . he’d only just got home. (Found out I’d forgotten to change before I left home..thought all night I’d leak ..but was so surprised when I got home .. NOTHING at all!!! Only night 3, too!) [I guess there’s no need to explain what that was all about?] Picked Mark up . . party boring, very boring at first ..but soon we started holding hands etc. almost got ‘there’ [no, still not what y’all think!] but this guy came up & talked to him for ages..so I had to go.. he came to say goodbye. . only 1 big kiss Poopy! said he’d ring me tomorrow (rainy weather still!) Oh, I wish (!!) Fi & I once on our way home realised (we both had wanted to stay!) we had enough $ between us, to get a taxi home. TOO LATE!

Sunday 26/4/87

Today was boring, but something very freaky happened tonight. I woke just before 9:00 & spent (what time I did) the day doing my art.. have 3 left to do. . . argh! (Mucking around, otherwise) Mark rang me during my dinner ..at work (he was) talked briefly- a customer came in. Oh well .. I was doing my work, listening to the radio [via my walkman, so I had headphones on] (at the dining room table – Julia in her armchair) I heard a “thump” [it wasn’t loud, I saw something out of the corner of my eye…] ..looked at a 45″ record (single) on the floor. Took little notice for a few seconds ..How did it get there, from being wedged in the mantelpiece thingy? Turned off my radio [removed my headphones] & bent down to pick it up. A Life in WordsGuess what it was .. Walk Like An Egyptian… the only 45″ we own, that was one of Moni’s favourite songs. I was a little frightened, but mostly bewildered & shocked. FREAKY ..or just coincidence? Wow. when I told Jules, I could tell she was scared (not very scared.. just shaken up.) [We put the record on, to ‘acknowledge’ her…] Anyway, I feel spooked a bit, thinking about it..but I’m not scared.. If it was Monique .. I’m glad she let me know she’s there. [There’s no doubt in my mind that it was Monique. I analysed the situation over and over and there’s NO other explanation. The windows were closed so there was no air movement. And our numerous 45″ records were firmly wedged by a basketful of cassettes into a recess (shelf) in “the mantelpiece thingy” (which was directly behind me as I worked at the dining room table). Further inspection revealed that the shelf inclined towards the front (opening) so anything rolling forward out of it would defy laws of Physics. What are the chances? What are the chances that of all the singles records we owned, the one that meant the most to Monique, rolled out of its cover, forward out of an up-slanting shelf, to land right-side up, by my feet? I’m sorry if you’re a skeptic, but that shit doesn’t just happen. That’s WAY beyond coincidence.]

Surgery, Seat Belts & the Birth of my Spiritual Belief System (16-22 February)

Monday 16/2/87

Feeling still very depressed. The doctors caught up with me today. (Dining room for breakfast & lunch. were late for brekky …squashy next to 2 black guys ..PAINFUL) [I’m quite certain this was a statement of discomfort rather than racist ‘slur’, for those who may be wondering…] After my shower they came back. Wasn’t too painful… they took out the drains. Redressed  my leg after a while. 2 dressings a day now… this arvy, mima was with me. Fi came in, too. Mark didn’t come today- I knew he wouldn’t. Probably won’t tomorrow, too. But he should come before 3 weeks. See, I’m going to surgery (skin graft for the big hole, stitch up the little hole) on Wed, then I’ll be in about a week after that. Then Drs say I have to spend at least 2 weeks at home. No I won’t. [Um, if the doctors say so…] I’m missing too much schoolwork. & friends. Dad told me yesterday: Jenny & him are getting married in May. I was shocked, but hid the surprise good as possible. Jacque visited. A Life in WordsBoring, depressed.. my  leg feels like no progress still hurts as much to stand now as it did when I first did – I’m not getting used to the blood rushing down, thru’ the sore. Painful, still. Tania gave me a big photo frame with photo of me, moni, fi, sharon &  mima taken end of last year, It’s beautiful. Monique is beautiful. ♥ her 4eva.

Tuesday 17/2/87

I went to the Valentine’s Dance! On crutches!! Tania drove me. I’d had painkillers – walking, sitting etc was a breeze!! [I found another notation elsewhere that also mentioned I got in for free!] Felt so good today… I mean tonight … walking, etc.. I’ve improved heaps – can lift my leg straight, in the air. Just finished dressing …did it when I came back.. (while after) about 9:00. surgery tomorrow. very few visitors. Oh, I’m tired. Sleep well. Ha! Mark wasn’t there tonight, but he’s going to the swim. carnival tomorrow – I won’t be allowed. Have to stay flat in bed for 3 days…will be murder getting on crutches again. The “report” on the bus accident on the Today Show was disappointing. Not much about the actual crash.

A Life in Words
How would seat belts have saved lives in this wreckage?

[Of course by this time there were preliminary investigations under way but very little had been published, since a formal inquiry was to be held at a future date. Naturally there was media & public speculation about the cause of the accident and associated discussions about prevention. The most prevalent opinion was that wearing seat belts would have saved lives. Absolute RUBBISH. One look at the bus wreckage should be totally explanatory. Interestingly enough, there was an article in the Cairns Post on this topic (not however in the manner of my specific argument) on Friday 20 (see below). I’m not against seat belts at all (if it’s even possible – per the article) but if WE had been strapped into our seats when that bus roof sheared off & seats were ripped from their places, the death toll would’ve been much higher…] Oh, I’m upset..Tania said to me tonight – talking to [privacy omission] he said something about Mark wanting to _ _ _ _ me She said they were pretty close… I’m upset; is that all Mark wants?? [Well, he’s a teenaged boy…?] I like him so much.. so very much… Oh, I’m so worried. . . . Too bad if I forgot anything – I’m so tired. Night. . . painful leg – skin graft oooh It’s 10:30

Wednesday 18/2/87

I was late – I mean THEY were [for surgery]. I was s’posed to go in at 8:00, but I got my pre-op(eration) needle at 8:30, and was taken up awhile after that. A Life in WordsI waited for ages, up there, dozing & finally around 10:00 I think I was rolled in & soon after, given the “knock-out” needle. When I woke, drowsy, really drowsy I was in heaps of pain. Finally got back down here around 11:45. Crying & whinging in pain. [I don’t seem to have diarised anything about this but sometimes the nurses would administer needles for pain relief, rather than just oral pills. I can’t recall the name of the drug, but I do remember asking for it on a few occasions. I can imagine this would be one of the moments they would not have denied me.] It soon settled. Spent the rest of the day lazing . . dozed a little around 5:00. Mark came up today – but to see Trina he reckoned. I think he’s shitty with me. (Oh, my leg’s so itchy) Doctor told me I didn’t have a skin graft after all – GREAT, HUH?! The flesh repairing was so elastic they could just stitch it up!! No major scars! Great! [Oh how the tables turned in just a few days’ time…and months later I begged my mother to try to recall whether she had signed any consent forms that specifically outlined the surgeons’ original intentions…] No major visitors (‘cept Mark) …I mean very few but the ones who came were nice. A case of quality, not quantity. [Of course ALL of my visitors were ‘nice’!] Another school kid’s bus crash in N.Z. about 5 people killed… not nearly as badly smashed as our bus, was their’s. [Competitive? Sheesh. Trying to source information about this accident was almost as difficult as it is to find information about ours on the net. This article celebrates the growth & success of one of the survivors of the Woodford House girl’s school bus accident which killed two students, two teachers & the driver. The victim doesn’t recall anything of the accident, waking up with  permanent paraplegia two weeks later in hospital.] It’s just after 9:00. I may be going home soon. Keep thinking about mark.. he wouldn’t be after “one thing”.. he writes too much caring stuff. He doesn’t intend to ever hurt me

A Life in Words
Before I was “reduced to square one -again”

Thursday 19/2/87

A “down’ Day, definitely: few visitors, pain in my leg. Hurts to walk: put it this way…I can’t anymore… I can’t straighten my leg and find it easier to ‘hop’ on my left leg, keeping the right foot totally off the ground. But tonight, after doing my teeth I kept up [stayed up] & went for exercise walk …keeping foot on floor, stretching & bending knee as much as possible. [In hindsight, this makes me cringe.] mima, Fi, Brent, Jason came up at lunchtime – Mark was at school. . he didn’t come up here. I think I should’ve written a note for mim to give to him for me. Of course I care that he doesn’t visit me… I care a lot. Am getting anxious… hope Trish doesn’t get hooks into him. (Tania visited this morning…had to work rest of the day.. BOOHOO! She’s leaving tomorrow-MISS HER! Hope I can get out to see her off – have a prezzy for her silver bracelet (sterling.)) My leg- how can it be – I walk fine Tues. & after an operation am reduced to square one -again: A veggie? Is 9:30. Try to get to sleep. Ate little (cos too lazy to go to dining room for meals – too sore.)

Friday 20/2/87

* Another down day. Still painful…worse to walk. Trina left this arvy, around 2:00 I think. This morning, the doctors came- but not all of them… thanks to the charge sister, Lisa, they decided to take my dressing off  On the way, he [one of them?] called me a sook. Bastard. It stuck a bit & it hurts so much. [I still cannot grasp the insensitivity of these medical ‘professionals’…] So, after, I waited about ½hr before someone redressed it, then, too late to have a shower, I dressed & mum took me to see Tania off. No tears shed. But I’ll miss her. Another friend gone. [Developing a life ‘theme’?] Showered after I got back (had lunch – a pie – got some food) Few visitors .. Mrs McI gave me a beautiful book (for end of 9 yrs of speech-huh? That’s not right…yep! it is!) Mr Paddy & Yru (came seperately, but) talked in depth about the crash..esp. Mr Paddy …he helped me understand/accept death etc .. It’s still scary to me…but I’m sure it’s  a big step to recovery of shock. [I’d never had anything to do with Mr ‘Paddy’ (I got his surname wrong) since he was a Music teacher, but this conversation had an incredibly massive impact upon me. I believe it was the catalyst for the development of my entire spiritual belief system, for life. All he did was offer his ideas about ‘what happens’ after we ‘pass over’ but it put me at ease by intimating that death is not ‘The End’. So I came to believe in reincarnation or at least, endurance of Spirit. One particular suggestion he made actually came to pass just a few months later; it was an indisputable experience and perhaps this is what irrevocably cemented my belief, and therefore eternal gratitude, love & respect for him.] Mark didn’t come. I’m really worried. [Privacy omission] mentioned something about sex today, too… it would absolutely break me if that’s all he wanted – I know it’s not ..I think …some little doubt in side …well, my mind’s made up.. he’s not going to get it, ever . . till I’m ready -and that’ll be ages. [He] told me he did to [privacy omission]..didnt really surprise me much 8:55

A Life in Words
In case you’re unable to decipher the fine print, the article basically discusses the impracticality of seat belt installation from an engineering point of view. While there is no reference to our bus’s detached roof, the displaced seats are mentioned.

Saturday 21/2/87

They told me I could go home today. But I didn’t. I wanted to stay in til Monday. Everyone probably thinks I’m crazy- I s’pose I am – but I’m smart; I’ll stay in just to be sure -no infections. [If there was ever a point in my life up till then that I should have respected myself for heeding my ‘Gut’, this was it…] And besides; my visitors have to be told!! [oh you Social Butterfly you!] On Monday I’d also like to see the physio & drs before I go They took out the drain this morning- my leg’s quite a bit better! Walking a bit easier!! Except for Mark’s visit, today was an “up” day.. he came – we got on alright…but he left the same way he did the  last 2 times..without saying goodbye…just walking off in a shit..I’d said something about him being mean to me [and then] “well you can leave” … [so he answered] “alright I will” ..he walked off & didn’t come back. That upset me. I really am worried about if he does like me. (God it’s hot.) he’s so moody; impatient I can’t understand him. We really need a good talk.. it’ll be a long time though.. you can’t really talk well in a hospital..or even at school. Oh, I’ve a headache… feel hot..feel terrible. Can’t sleep very well. Quite a few visitors..very lazy day.     Oh . . . I fell terrible. Must try to sleep.

Sunday 22/2/87

What a waste of a day. Here I was thinking I’d get hoardes of visitors:- mum, the McKenzies (principal), Justin F & Wayne C. That’s it. Leg’s O.K. I get pain “jabs” – throbbing now & then…but noticed walking is getting a bit better. Totally boring day… so sleepy, but couldn’t sleep. Thinking about mark…. I thought maybe that I’d changed & he’d changed (y’know – from the crash’n’everything) and we just don’t “click” anymore. Oh I wish everything was “normal” again.  home tomorrow – I have mixed feelings about that, too. . . good cos’ I’ll get work done (less visitors) & be able to exercise my leg – go for walks (crutches!) BUT – I’m apprehensive – haven’t been home since before the camp – before the crash that’s 3 weeks exactly…the memories – it’s going to be different – “overwhelming” is the word I think of. [Wow, well said.] Oh dear… Hot (-ish) today. Didn’t see Jules. Mike B went to see her this arvy, mum said. Wo, Jules!! ♥ mark – u poop! DAMN YOU

Her Funeral, the Public Memorial & Raw Meat Pie (9-15 February)

Monday 9/2/87

Mark saw me 2 times today!! Came up in his wheelchair! He was chirpier and only stayed little whiles. I was shitty in the morning – woken early again cos I couldn’t roll over – so bad – makes me restless so I’m still tired & cranky. A shower and I still felt bad – exhausted. But I put lotsa pressure on my left leg – put all my weight on it (nearly) GREAT! (But dad reminded me tonight about the crack in my femur – don’t wanna make that worse.) [In the long term this injury amounted to nothing: at some stage I recall a doctor saying they weren’t even certain it existed: the crack was so fine that it could have simply been a scratch on the X-ray itself] They also dressed my right leg (the deep puncture) today – Tania C (who was here all day – 10am to 8pm!!) and my fav. nurse Alison “comforted” me but I made heaps of noises – it was bad. [I’ve already ascertained that my vocal chords are not inhibited in times of Stress…] My leg was put on an electric exerciser – it was great – bending & moving my right leg!! I was wary at first. God changing the dressing was hell-ful. I also did my first shit in one week or ≈8/9 days. [Ok, for new readers, I need to explain: my family – dad in particular – was not very inhibited with regard to discussing bodily functions. To the point that (perennial comedian he is) he coined a phrase for the phenomenon: the “Coxen Bowel Fetish”. If you care to better understand this unique family trait, there’s a fuller explanation in this post from my 1984 archives] Quite a few visitors perked me up. We watched video of Friday’s school memorial & tree planting. Sound was terrible couldn’t hear anything. Cried anyway. [Naturally] Mark got his tube out of his lung. Am tired now – hoping I can roll over tonight. Glad Mark visited me “a lot”. I really do think he likes me a lot – that letter says it all & so has he. It’s about […and then I forgot to fill in the time..]

A Life in Words
Goodbye my beautiful friend x

Tuesday 10/2/87

I went to Monique’s funeral by car around 2:30 I thought it’d “do the job” – but I still don’t think I’ve cried enough. I realised I lost a true friend – a person I met & related with so soon, but trusted quickly & forever. She lives in my heart & mind. I need her to live with me. I met Kerri; saw Mr & Mrs P. I cry when I see them & Camille & Kerri. [I think this was the last time I would see Monique’s mother for a very long time. Apparently she refused to see me because it was too painful, because it was always with Monique. Of course this upset me, but how could I fail to understand that?] Kerri & her mum came to the hospital tonight. She doesn’t say much. [Kerri was Monique’s ‘previous’ best friend in Brisbane. With hindsight I now understand she may not have “said much” because she too would have been in shock and grieving…] I felt really cranky after the funeral – my leg was sore. people all looking at me [I’m hardly an exhibitionist, but I can tolerate a certain amount of attention. Things mustn’t be ‘rosy’ if I am shunning the ‘spotlight’…] – went home in a stretcher in an ambulance. Rolled over (partly) last night! But woken early by nurses anyway 6:00. ooooh! Bumsore! Legsore! Change of dressing was bad again today. I hate it so much. [I still hadn’t the courage to look at the wound: I have always found that one method of tolerating (physical) pain is to not look at what’s causing it. For example, I still can’t watch the needle piercing my dermis in the act of blood giving, for example…] Tanya (C.) & Alison “helped” me again, tho’ I bit Tanya’s back today. Umah. [Clearly it’s not just my vocal chords that respond to stress: so do my jaw muscles…] Funny – having Tanya in all day. (And yesterday) She’s good company. [She really was one of my Saviours] Mark came up little while once. Tonight for longer … gave him kiss (little) worried – Jaque & Michael B both say Tricia spends 2hrs a day with him. I must trust him. Exerciser again – bending knee higher. memorial service tomorrow. Will it do the final job of recovering me? Will it get me out of shock? [Oh the naivety… if only it was as easy as ‘flicking a switch’…] must be with mark 4 it. about 9:00

A Life in Words
The Civic Memorial at St Monica’s Cathedral spilled out into the street

Wednesday 11/2/87

A Life in Words
A photographer captures my feeling during the civic memorial

packed day. Slept badly again-rolling a little isn’t enough … I went for a shower (reluctantly almost) and stood on my left leg to do so (I went to the ladies for the 1st time – out of a wheelchair – on a seat for the bath.) Then after using the loo- yes, proper loo! for a shit, yes, poo! (Talked to Trina – both of us for 10mins!) Ambulance men came. Mum hadn’t come with my uniform so Jaque let me wear hers. I felt terrible at first. I was smiling & waving at people [well… you were free of your hospital room for the first time in 6 days, and since visitor numbers had declined, seeing familiar faces after ‘so long’ would have been quite refreshing] & couldn’t cry – but later, during the eulogies, it all came out. Monique was my 1st best friend in about 6yrs [I can’t think whom I supposed my previous best friend was… six years earlier I would’ve been in Year 5 or 6 at primary school] – I think my first true one [indisputable]. I love her & I’m gonna miss her so much – not gonna be there (physically) anymore, when I need her… left in tears (news crews there – I was on the news – Mark too & others) They made me get on crutches – walk today. It hurt so much…even more (?? not sure) than dressing the wound ..I screamed but it was better today than “ever”. [“Dressing the wound” was a tad more complex than you might think. Still unable to bring myself to look at it, all I knew at this stage was that they had to ‘pack’ the wound daily with saline-soaked cottonwool, around the two plastic ‘drains’ that were buried in there. That may begin to give you an idea of the extent of the injury…] Lotsa Smithfield people came becca p, Karen & toni & Jo B – gave me a record voucher & chocolates. [Yes, black vinyl. We still had record players in the late 80’s, although cassettes were more predominantly used (in our walkmans, right?) CD’s were pretty much unheard of’.] Isn’t that great? Um, saw mark little – another kiss. He’s going tomorrow. hope he sees me at school lunchtimes. I wonder if Tricia kisses him when she sees him. Bitch – spending too much time with him. [The Green Monster] Hope nothing happens back at school. OH WOE!!

Thursday 12/2/87

I nearly fainted on the crutches this arvy – I decided to try and walk to the loo – but the pain in my leg – the blood rushing to my wound my feet – by my wound – made me light-headed weak, dizzy. After drinking water – I was wheeled to the loo. SHit. I’ve been eating choc-coated peanuts they made me shit 2 times more this arvy. [I can’t decide whether the ‘SHit’ was an expletive because I failed to get to the bathroom on my own & had to be wheeled in, or whether it was an introduction to the statement detailing my bowel movements…] After loo, I went to see Mark – talked & mucked around. He went home. (after long (??) time) But he has to come here 10pm – stay the night so they can check his leg in the morning. Hope he visits me. Said he’s going to movies tomorrow night – & it only just occurred to me: with whom? TRICIA? NO! He CAN’T. WOULDN’T. COULDN’T. might? Oh dear; I hope he visits me lots. I’ll miss him – I already do. Doctors undressed my leg today so I had no painkillers WHATSOEVER. I let out a scream & one doctor revved me. [I was immediately stunned into silence; why did the doctor snap at me? How could he be so heartless? So rough, insensitive & unsympathetic? Aren’t all medical professionals meant to be caring? I was a kid for chrissakes, with a hole in my leg …to which the dressings stuck fast every day. Was I not entitled to react to Pain? I literally dreaded the doctors’ rounds thereafter, and even tried to arrange bathroom sojourns in order to evade them. This experience may also possibly underlie my partial aversion to the clinical medical industry…] I saw the wound – unpacked. Yukky. [That’s a bit of an understatement. A Life in WordsThe only way I have been able to describe it to people is in this light: imagine you took the pastry top off a meat pie, and discovered not only that it was uncooked (red-raw) inside, but that there were also two bits of plastic tubing staring out at you. That was what my right inner thigh (about 10cms above my knee) looked like. It’s a real shame we never managed to take any photos of it.] Then waited ages till the nurses brought the stuff – to repack themselves I was much better today I think. Took stitches out of my [left] knee. God I wish my muscles would work themselves. [That’s what every lazy person wishes with regard to physical activity!] It’s 9:00. I need an early night. So I can hack walking or even standing tomorrow. I hate it. HURTS SO BAD. ♥ u mark!

Friday 13/2/87

My bruising appears to be going down – it’s fading.. I got on crutches lots today… walkies!! and I didn’t scream or even yell when my dressing was done! (I had the Finnish sister – she’s really gentle – doesn’t rip off stuff that’s stuck to the wound- soaks it in NaCl+H2O [saline solution] and gently prys apart.) But the best bit was… MY CAMERA WAS FOUND & THE HORNETTS PROCESSED THE FILM! I Have PHOTOS! 20 photos some good, some boring – but all are great campshots. Not enough of Monique. A few visitors today. Mark came up before he left. 2 goodbye kisses. I’m gonna miss him. He’d better come up tomorrow. If he doesn’t I’ll bash him!! Ha, ha! (Not going to movies- he’s going to dinner with family- “WELCOME HOME”.) Getting rain lots now. Think periods are over, thank god. Ms Mars. came up & gave us (Trina & I) [art] work. Pizza (from dad) for tea. Jaque’s going home tomorrow. Will be boring-er [meaning: more boring] when she’s gone. Yowie fell out of bed last night & Mark almost ran him over today. (in wheelchair) God, he’s lost weight – skinny runt. Restless sleep last night …couldn’t get comfortable – couldn’t roll over much. Shitty right leg. hurry up & heal! about 9:30.

A Life in Words
Sometime after the back-biting incident, I was presented with this teething ring to use during dressing changes. (I think my mum bought it for Tania’s sake!) It was clearly well-used…

Saturday 14/2/87

VALENTINE’S I got from him a red rose, a balloon-on-a-stick (saying “I love you”) and a card (and even a little letter-which is great, considering he finds it hard to write) he came during the last 15mins or so of my dressing- I didn’t know for the first 10 mins. and was babbling on.. Ha,ha. He stayed quite some time- about 4 or 5 kisses altogether today. Love that guy… can’t wait til I’m better & we’re both back at school. Cried more for Monique today. Realised how she’s the only one I’ll really miss – she’s the one who was most part of my life. I love you Monique. I wish you were here. I thought about being dead today. If I’d died, I wouldn’t’ve minded – cos moni’d be with me.. I’d feel none of the pain I get with this leg etc [The contemplation of Death is unavoidable in an experience such as this. You meet with it yourself, you lose your peers to it, you can’t hide from it. Up to this point in time, I naturally hadn’t formed many beliefs (we were never a highly religious family). I hadn’t conceived of much: ‘Where’ exactly do you – did they – Go? Heaven? What is Heaven? Does it even exist? The Fear of Death is simply the Unknown, so it’s clear that in one (very odd) respect I benefitted from Monique’s death: it removed an element of Fear about the Afterlife (or simply, ‘After’). I believed I would not be Alone, and I would not feel (physical) Pain…] ..Few visitors ..boring day cause JACQUE LEFT at 10:30. It’s so different without her. Ate lotsa junk today Hospital food -yukky-some alright. Kentucky from Trina’s parents for tea. I still will cry for monique I don’t think I’ll ever stop – slow down maybe, but never stop. [I was right. But the tears much, much fewer and farther between, because… Life Goes On.] Easier on crutches, esp. tonight.

Sunday 15/2/87

Mark did come in today.. was boring for him, I could tell..reckons he won’t come back or see me for 3 weeks… I reckon he’ll come back. Has to. I’ll bash him if he doesn’t!! [What’s with all this ‘bashing’ Liss? A bit aggressive…] Love that guy. He came in before I went for a shower and had my dressing changed – saw the hole in my leg. Crabbe came in yet again…and Tania, but what’s new? Missing Alyson (nurse) quite a few new nurses now Did my daily exercise – crutch to loo shower, clean my teeth, to the “lookout room” at the other end of this floor & other miscellaneous crutch expeditions. Here I was thinking this diary would be just big enough. Next year I’m gonna get a thick book & write when I feel like it…probly every night, but more often if I feel inclined. Slept quite well last night. Talked to lotsa people, Justin, Daniel A, Dad, mum about their side of the story; what they felt ..what happened to them. [I believe ‘sharing’ experiences assists in the grieving and/or healing process. I have been surprised by the number of readers who have, through their gratitude to me for these blogposts, expressed this. While she wasn’t a ‘diariser’ like I, Mum managed to maintain a journal for a few weeks after the accident and I intend to transcribe parts of that in another, separate post in the near future. Reading it myself is difficult for two reasons: not merely identifying with (or trying to imagine) her experience, but also because she has now passed, her absence (my Loss) is accentuated.] I realised I haven’t dreamt since the accident. 2 weeks almost. Wonder if that’s [a] mental side effect. Will ask a social worker tomorrow. Eeek! Doctors tomorrow looking at my wound. No escaping it! Aaagh! Ate a fair bit today. Ooo-er! Rainy, cool… I think I’m getting better physically… mentally no.. I’m depressed… I’ll be in here at least another week.. I reckon 2. Everybody else’ll be gone by then I bet.

Life is a Creek

A Life in Words

Life is  a Creek. There are countless analogies out there but one of my clients mentioned it last week and it really stuck with me.

You see, I’ve had a pretty interesting few months. For someone who likes to think she “gets it”, who has perfect faith in her spiritual/philosophical belief system, I’ve had one hell of a big Awakening.

It started with a physical ailment; some serious back pain. It’s not like I’ve never had ‘serious back pain’ before: this was different. This didn’t actually involve the disc bulges or neural pinches I’ve typically experienced in the past. No, this was just plain old muscular seizure. My physio was a bit puzzled. My yoga teacher wasn’t.

I was aware enough to recognise it was due to Stress. Work stress. I’d taken on a fourth job… for a variety of reasons, but in all honesty, money was the ‘deep’ motivation. I thought this opportunity might also lead me in a new direction, widen my scope for ‘Success’ because it involved one of my passions.

Suffice to say, I was wrong. I’d had what I thought were rose-coloured glasses on. I’d ‘pushed’ myself under the belief that I was being pro-active, but I came to realise, I was actually being driven by a deep-seated ‘desperation’. As always happens, the awakening came in a series of realisations.

Firstly, on the physical level, I realised the culprit muscles seizing in my back were only doing what they were ‘taught’: in the Past, the physical treatment for my injuries/pain required me to be in a specific postural position for relief, release & recovery. Five or so years of this particular ‘rehab’ position had trained certain muscles to respond (that is, created a new pattern or ‘habit’) to any Stress, by immediately contracting to ‘protect’ that area that I had led myself to believe was inherently weak.

I knew what I had to do; from my philosophical/spiritual point of view (to which neuroscience is now alluding also, incidentally) it was simply Common Sense. My Yoga teacher didn’t really have to tell me. I knew it. And my Physio agreed. I had to Stop. Rest. Meditate. As much as possible. So relaxation/healing meditations were added to my daily routine.

When the root of my Stress was elicited by my acupuncturist (he didn’t actually have to dig it out of me – it seemed to be a case of just being ‘the right time’ for the words to spill out of my mouth) he gave me some more focus for my meditations and breathing that addressed my physical as well as emotional pain. And I practiced.

I had also been reading a book recommended to me by my yoga teacher (even better; she had presented it to me in a pile of books and I had been the one to choose it from the stack… another perfect example of “cosmic timing”) It had taken me awhile to get through because I simply had so much other stuff to attend to, but I had caught glimpses of clarity as I worked my way through it.

The kicker came towards the end of the book.

Dammit, I know this stuff. I’ve read heaps of ‘new age’ literature and it all makes perfect sense to me. How could I not have seen this and more importantly lived it until now?

The author – himself a yogi – wrote of his own ‘Illumination’ and his three simple words struck a huge chord with me.

“I don’t know.”

What? This:

My whole life has been plagued by these words, with respect to ‘Purpose’. What Am I Here For?A Life in Words

I have struggled with this forever. It’s the deepest source of my Depression.

Describing the weight that lifted from him when he spoke those words out loud to no one in particular, and moreover, the revelation that it didn’t matter – none of it mattered – Blew. Me. Away. Forget the light bulb, I had a hundred floodlights in my face.

The source of my deepest struggle instantly dried up.

I always knew I was the master of my life: heck, I have read enough to know that. But to strike at the heart of one of your most dominant Concerns is totally liberating.

I can fully practice what I have learnt now. In one fell swoop, my Fear of the Future has gone.

So now I’m focusing on being a Leaf.

As my client put it, if Life is a creek and we are all fallen leaves being freely carried by its running waters, we are bound to be washed up against debris, pooled & eddied. Most of us get stuck: trying to fight, resist or control. What leaf ever moved a rock or fallen tree trunk out of its path? These struggles and challenges are an absolute and unavoidable part of Life. I’m ready to let go of resistance, to let the waters carry me where I’m meant to go.

I am finally ready to really Trust.

I have found renewed Faith. And god, it feels amazing!