SILENCE

Silence

Fills the thick air between us

There’s something no one wants to say

But it’s on the tips of everyone’s tongues

That desire to escape, plagues us one by one

 

My grandmother felt it, lying in wait for years

In excruciating pain

Hating God for his lack of empathy

She wanted a way out

Because she believed there was nothing left for her here

 

My brother felt it, he tied it up into a neat package

Full of smoke, and alcohol, and psychedelia

The patterns on his walls spoke to him

And asked him to ponder the question

Of whether he was worth this world

 

My mother felt it, her life broken apart suddenly

By death, by divorce, by loneliness

The urges crept into her bedroom

As she lay awake during twilight hours

Asking herself if there was another way to get rid of the aches in her heart

 

I felt it, because I never believed I was worthy

Through trauma, through silent neglect

The thought pierced my mind as a child, as a teenager, as an adult

And I shouldn’t even be here

But somehow, I survived that visit to the whitewashed hospital walls

I woke up and walked out alone onto a horizon that I had to build myself

And now, a global pandemic made me realise that there is something to live for

Yet that is still hard to cling to

Because what is the truth may not be a part of my narrative

Until I re-write the whole darn thing

From page 1 to now

 

Yet, no one speaks in my family

Stillness settles like dust on bookshelves full of old classics

And space and time separate us

I lie awake in the future, wanting to be able to articulate

The things I’ve learned that keep me safe

Yet, they too, feel like heavy weights keeping me down

And I try to knock, but the doors are empty

The hollow sound of my fist echoes back

I’m ready to speak, but no one is there to receive my news

 

So we stay alone, connected by a thread of past, current, and future anxieties

We have stories to tell and serious things to say

Yet shame and stigma pervade every crevice of conversation

And I fear for those who don’t even have a name for this

How can they speak? When I am only just learning how to open my mouth

 

The only thing I can say

Is that the shame of suicide may feel real

But until you shatter the glass that keeps you locked inside

You’ll always believe that you’re the only one feeling ashamed

When in fact it could be anyone around you

Also living that daily battle to put one foot out of bed, then the other

 

Be brave and speak up

Be brave and listen

And if it’s too difficult to be brave at the moment

That’s ok too

Be patient with yourself instead, and let the words come when they are ready

 

They will arrive eventually

And you will find that being open to what you may learn and what you may give

Is just enough for today

And the next day

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