Thursday, March 30, 2006

room 1025

Thursday, March 30, 2006
november. ottawa. oh ... so many years ago. i remember the room number - 1025. i will never forget. you did not want me to meet you, there, so many years ago. but i didn't listen. i insisted - followed you there. and you acquiesced. how could you refuse me? you never could refuse me. i knew your weakness --me. when i arrived, at the door of 1025, you answered, wearing all black. you had the monday night football on the tele. and that smile painted on your face. desire - it oozed from your pores.

i felt ... wow ... exhilarated. was this really happening? i had waited so long to spend the night with you ... and at times never believed it would happen. and then - there it was. it felt good. like a dream. and we enjoyed each other. forgot about the reality - the unchanged reality that waited for us at home. and we ate together, walked together, talked together, slept together. i got so hot under the covers i had to go out on the balcony -- melting snow you called it. that was our joke after that. i believed i loved you -- i always wonder if you ever loved me.

i still carry in my heart your leaving. it was friday morning. you had to go to hull, you said. it was early. you got ready in silence -- gathered your things. i felt invisible, like i wasn't there. you had already started to shut me out. i laid there, under the covers. despair, like an occlusive heaviness, sat in my throat. i could not move, or barely speak. did you know? could u feel how i felt? and then you left the room. just left - took a cursory glance around the room, smiled a phoney smile and left.

do you know how cheap and used i felt? i cannot even tell you. but i was so young, so tender. and so vulnerable. and you left me. it hurt. and ... about 15 years later ... i can still recall the stinging in my heart as though it were fresh. each time i think of you. i feel that dark feeling in my heart when i think of you ... leaving me. leaving room 1025. 1025. the leaving room.

EDIT: okay. so you got me. i'm holding back a little ... or maybe a lot. this affair happened 20 years ago and i still am bankrupt when it comes to expressing myself about it ... wow, imagine, Malva, at a loss for words.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Come to my Window

Sunday, March 26, 2006
i would dial the numbers
just to listen to your breath
and i would stand inside my hell
and hold the hand of death
you don't know how far i'd go
to ease this precious ache
you don't know how much i'd give
or how much i can take
just to reach you ...

come to my window
come on inside
come to the light of the moon
come to my window
i'll be home soon

keeping my eyes open
i cannot afford to sleep
giving away promises
i know i cannot keep
nothing fills the blackness
that has seeped inside my chest
i need you in my blood
i am foresaking all the rest
just to reach you

written by Melissa Etheridge

this is how i felt a lot in my 20s - i like this song, it describes the longing i felt so clearly. longing for what? a person? i don't know. just a longing.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

thought for the day

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
image: copyright American Express 2006


Saturday, March 18, 2006

i saw your mother today,

Saturday, March 18, 2006
edwin. a crushed soul. crushed ... and shattered. and the shards cut deep. oh, edwin, such sorrow oozes from each of her pores. and still, she asks how i'm doing. when i touch her hand -- it stings. it stings me, edwin ... you know the stinging when you touch your eye after chopping onions? like that. her pain engulfs me. there's so much of it. it fills this place, this store where you got shot in the head over $47.

i now know why i have felt such fear of entering the store. the energy of your death, the crushing grief your parents feel, at missing you. i feel it. every molecule, every drop of sorrow and grief. my heart, my soul ... they remember this pain, this suffering. plucked away, edwin - this feeling, it's the feeling of 'plucked away.' the most beautiful, well-rooted and healthy feather ... plucked away. your parents, they witnessed what no parent should have to -- watching their own son die violently at the hands of another human. and they continue to live and work in that very place you lost your life.

Edwin ... can you breath some gentle comfort into the heart of your mother ... and shine some soft hope onto your father's anguished soul?

a note from malva: edwin yue, age 19 was shot in the head (and killed), the evening of 20.02.06, while working in the family convenience store. an escaped convict (who had been deemed a high risk to violently re-offend, and who had been missing for several months) killed him, over $47. the shooting happened less than 1 block away from my home. i am trying to come up with some way to immortalize edwin's memory ... something that involves the white lighter i purchased from him the last time i saw him ... i cannot let this boy be forgotten


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

renewal and rebirth

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
i'm working on a heavy-duty post ... its like pulling teeth ... in the meantime here's some more eye candy for you
image: copyright mad malva blue, 2006

i love the phoenix and what it represents: rebirth, renewal, regeneration. from the ashes, beauty does arise. the phoenix symbolizes the invincible in each of us - that divinity, that fire that resides inside. this place in each of us - that's where hope arises in the ruins of shattered and scorched hopes, dreams, and aspirations. thru each regeneration, each renewal, we lose a little piece of ourselves, but we gain so much more in the process - if we can only open our eyes, and our hearts, to the possibilities. i want to say to the possibilities of fire - but would that be stealing from our good friend wch?

about this piece: a digital rendering (btw - the afghan hound was also) ... a few hours of some painstaking work, but i am pleased with the outcome. comments welcome and appreciated.


Monday, March 13, 2006


Monday, March 13, 2006
image: copyright mad malva blue, 2006

this creature is entirely of my own creation, including the photos i used! and i am pretty proud of the results. i plan to make this available as a print. comments welcome and appreciated.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

nothing ...

Sunday, March 12, 2006
really wants to come out today, in word form. only lines, curves, colours and brush strokes want to come out today. so ... here's a sample: a portrait of my favourite creature on the planet. his pedigree name is "dragonfly lawrence of arabia" and i call him "brownie" ... but his real name is "blazer" - as in chevy blazer,
which i used to drive in my days as 'taxi-mum.'

image: copyright mad malva blue, 2006


letter to an estranged friend

that's what i think happened to us, tho ... on deeper reflection, perhaps we never really stood together at all. we have nothing in common. we stand on opposite sides of the street, and we're headed in opposite directions, in life. if not for nursing school, you and i never would have liked each other in any other circumstance.

reflecting back, i am not really sure what made me like you in the first place. i find you quite superficial, shallow and egocentric. we had the profession of nursing, a favourite past-time, and age in common - not exactly grounds for a really deep friendship. and yet, we ran deep for a while. of course, it didn't last.

you think the hardest thing about motherhood is pregnancy, labour and delivery, and view motherhood as a passage-of-right for all women (ie no woman is complete without it). you assume with so much complacence, you will get a child tht is perfect - free from disabling flaws at birth - and that it will be so easy ... that love is enough. somehow superior, you will not meet any of those obstacles and challenges that many parents face.

you measure success and happiness in terms of quantity, stuff, amounts, accumulation of wealth. and ... i do not. and i never have. and i never will. and i, i measure these things in terms of quality. and the ripple effect my existence has made. my remaining son = my ripple. i see myself as successful because he has made it to adulthood in one piece. in one piece, in so many ways that his parents did not. his spirit made in intact. that, i think, makes me successful. even tho my net worth may say otherwise. he who dies with the most toys, still dies. i use this as my mantra.

the greatest worries of your existence, paying off your line of credit and whether or not your dad will pay you back the $50,000 he owes you. and you tell me that you think your sister, recently diagnowsed with MS, has an attitude problem. you just don't understand this -- she should just get a grip and think about how you feel. (oh yeah - it's all about you, isn't it?)

when you tell me these things, i hold my tongue about my own life. i do not tell you, tho i long to, about the long, sleepless nites i spent longing for my son, and others i have lost too soon, the horrors of violent, anguish-filled deaths that i see every time i close my eyes (the sound, smell and sight of a patients bleeding to death thru either or both gastrointestinal orifaces), and the nagging sense of self-doubt that wraps it arms around me, continuously, like a tight corset. i do not tell you that, the more time i spend with you, the deeper my lonliness becomes. i see now, so clearly ... about us. destined for failure, from the start. a solid friendship needs a more stable foundation. and substance -- friendships need substance. and ours had very little.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

seven years

Saturday, March 11, 2006
that's how long has passed since we shut the machines off .... since ... your body died. when i think of you, i find it hard to believe that so much time has passed. and ... find it hard to understand why you just had to give in ... give up. My dear, i have known the sweet, searing sorrow of anguish, loneliness, of loss and shame. But ... it never made me want to destroy myself. Despite the shards of grief that pierce me as i walk along the path of life, this earthly life has so much to offer - if i only reach out and touch it, taste it, savour it.

And, my dear, i feel very sad that you gave up too soon, missed out. And i feel such sadness when i think of your mother -- without her only daughter in the dusk of her life. Alone ... she's alone ... and she must grieve for you terribly. I know ... i know this feeling, my dear. And ... know that you witnessed this grief ... my grief ... our grief - i will call it our grief, because you loved my boys like a mother.

And, dear ... that brings me the prize ... the prize of my life. My boy ... our boy ... you should see him, dear. He has grown into a man! I can hardly believe my eyes, when i look up at him (yes, look up at him -- he is taller that us, my dear) and into his gentle, brown eyes. So much life and experience in these eyes ... like ... they belong to an old, old soul. And he is a hit with the girls, my dear. Just like his dad was at that age. You should see our boy. It makes my heart shine, glimmer, sing. Perhaps yours too? Out there, somewhere?

And i feel a pinch of sadness that you could not stay, and see this. See how it all unfolded. But perhaps things may have turned out differently if you had not given up on yourself like you did. I dunno. I just know that we have moved on, my dear. Your name never gets spoken on our lips. When it does, i think we flinch - for the sound of your name resonates despair ... your despair. But ... your name sits in my heart, silent ... ever remembered. For the love you shared ... for the difference you made during your short earthly existence.

a note from malva: as i wrote this, a tribute to someone i knew (her name is not important) who drank herself to death at the age of 40, "free as a bird" (by lynyrd skinner) played on the radio -- i hope that where ever you are, my dear, you fly freely - like the song says


Friday, March 10, 2006

passing thoughts ...

Friday, March 10, 2006
  1. happiness is never where you think you'll find it

  2. i see most clearly with my eyes closed

  3. and hear most clearly with my eyes opened

  4. is there stillness in the chaos?

  5. can we ever really know certainty?

a note from malva: feeling a little spent right now ... another post is fermenting in me ... i will dig deep again this evening and make a longer entry. for now, tho' this will have to do.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

room 408 ...

Thursday, March 09, 2006
that's where you died. i'll call you cindy, even tho' we did not call you this in life. i know you can hear me, out there, somewhere, soaring on a trail of stardust. you're there - with your eyes wide open ... singing, shouting at the top of your voice, the voice that got so cruelly stifled toward end of your earthly existence.

cindy, i have thought about you these years since your death. wanting, so many times, to put your story in words. wanting to share your courage, your pain, the rip-off of your life ... and death. wanting to share this with others. but, until now cindy, i could not. could not give a voice to that very painful story -- your story. you seem so far away, cindy ... and as i revisit bittersweet memories of you that linger in my heart, i think each day since your death must seem an eternity to your children. i hope that you can watch them grow, and silently, wrap your loving arms around them, cindy. 15 and 17 years old ... that's far too young to lose your mother.

know what i remember, cindy? i remember that angry, stubborn and fiercly secretive woman who brooded in the corner of a 4-bed hospital room. angry, cindy ... so very angry. and - i don't blame you. but it sure made nursing you a challenge at times. even tho the rapidly growing cancer on your thyroid gland, and the tracheostomy it neccesitated, had silenced your voice, your outbursts could be sooo vitriolic just the same, cindy. in those early days of your admission, how you lashed out at us all. possibly, you hoped to keep us beyond your towering wall?

cindy ... i cannot imagine the journey you took, battling your cancer alone. your kids ... so lost and alone, too. such desperate sorrow silently gushed from their pores each time they came to visit. and ... how did they manage, so alone? forbidden, by you, to tell their father that their mother had terminal cancer. and ... that acrimonious relationship between you and your ex ... it left you with a bitter taste of antagonism in your mouth even as you contemplated your death.

i remember, cindy, your denial. how, at one point, you decided that the oncologist made a mistake. maybe that's why you had not really prepared yourself, or anyone else around you for the inevitable? the reason your head was swelling so severely that it made your eyes close, you announced, was because of an undiagnosed heart condition. oh, cindy, how this made me feel so sad about the job i had to do. how could i guide your passage thru this dark and difficult tunnel if you did not want to even walk inside it? and we watched you, cindy, lose each tiny battle with the cancer. day by day. week by week. and, eventually, silent, sad resignation cross your face like a shadow. and it rested there.

what a rip-off, cindy! how cheated we all felt for you. so intelligent, so determined, so much mothering left to do, and one course away from your PH.D. and cancer washed it all away. and you hung on, for as long as you could. maybe for too long? we all just wanted it to end, cindy. but you hung on. and, it hurt. and i remember trying really hard not to let the other patients see me cry whenever the harpist would come and play for you, cindy. a small, simple pleasure, cindy. but so beautiful and it made you smile. and what a beautiful smile, cindy. and we marvelled that you could still smile. and we cried that you could not even talk to your own mother on the phone, because you had no voice ... you could not even tell your mother you loved her, missed her. cindy ... no words can express it.

cindy, i remember marvelling at how you could write out what you wanted to say on the paper so neatly, so legibly ... even with your eyes swollen shut, your handwriting looked like 'school teaching writing' - perfectly formed and readable. and, cindy, i remember how you replied 'don't make me brave, make it easy,' when i told you that i thought your were so strong and brave. i'll never forget the feeling i felt, then - best described as a shard of glass thru a soft, ripe fruit - as these words sunk into my soul.

i watching you wither, fight, then fail over a period of 8 months. each and everyday i worked with you, cindy, you took my breath away. and when i think of you now ... you still do. you challenged us every day, cindy. and you made us feel it. and you taught us courage, hope, compassion, patience ... and above all - humilty. thank you cindy ... for your eternal lesson. i feel so privileged to have shared so intimately the raw moments of your life and to have made a difference in your death. i remember you, cindy, for so many reasons.

i'll never forget how you said goodbye to your kids. on mother's day, they came to visit ... spent the afternoon with you, pinned their artwork to your hospital room walls. when they said their goodbyes - the last time they saw you alive. and, two long and lonely weeks later, you died ... alone, in the hours before dawn, in your private and dark room. 408. i remember, cindy. 408. i will never forget.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

i want you to know ...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006
i forgive you, for what you did. it never was a question of forgiveness, on my part. just anguish, dark and lonely anguish that your betrayal sent me plunging into -- head first. i understood, you know. i understood why you did those things to me. you were 19 or 20. how old was i? i think, 10 or 12. my recollection of these times in my life - fragmented. i remember being in grade 6, then grade 7, then grade 8. and i remember that i understood.

sitting in the back seat of the car, listening to the adults talk about themselves and their relationships. that's when it became clear to me ... she ... your wife ... spoke of not satisfying you ... sexually. you know, that stupid mind-fucking game wives play with their husbands, involving deprival of sex at a whim? and, so, i rationalized, you had to get fulfilment somewhere. and that somewhere happened to be me. and ... i understood.

and, so, on those late nite drives - you driving me home after an evening of babysitting your daughter - thru the dark, deserted residential streets, you took what wasn't yours to take. did you think it was okay to take what wasn't yours if no one saw you taking it? did you think maybe i would forget ... that i wouldn't notice anything went missing?

well. i want you to know that it wasn't okay, that i did notice, even though no one else seemed to notice. and that your denials did not change the unchangeable reality. how many others, like me, were there? i wonder, do they remember the sour scent of your breath? the pastey, greasy feeling of your hair and skin? and do they have the same fear of men with grimy hands and dirt under their fingernails? and ... i also wonder ... how do you live with yourself?

i want you to know that ... what you took - my innocence, trust, self - you also took from every man i have ever loved. or tried to love. years after your betrayal, the ugly, repulsive and horrific betrayal ... you continue to take these things. and those, who never even knew you, have suffered the cold and icey fallout ... my cold and icey fallout.

and you ...? what have you suffered? oh ... why should i care? i don't really. i don't. i just want you to know that i remember ... forgive even ... but i can never, never forget. that's what i want you to know.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

dear sis,

Tuesday, March 07, 2006
author's note: i posted this on livejournal a few days ago. some, but not all, of you have seen this piece so i am reposting it here.

i thought of you today when i read these words: "living is the horror, not death. the living mourn the dead. the dead mourn no one." and so it is, kay. i, the living, mourn you, the dead. kay, i cannot put into words how i miss you. and how bitterness, tempered with regret, fills my soul when i think of all the tender moments, secrets, and sorrows that remained unshared between us sisters.

i'm sorry that you never got to experience motherhood. its amazing, kay. amazing. these tiny lives - so dependent. vulnerable, and so and we mold them. shape them. they become our life project.they become life ... and its meaning. its scary, kay. and so much responsibility. and difficult. but ... ahh. the joy of hearing yourself in a tiny voice, or seeing your gestures in a tiny body. and the intensity of it ... knowing you would die for them, or .... worse - kill for them. i think you would have made a wonderful mum, kay. better than me, i think. better - because you were always the strong, disciplined one. but --these are just thoughts now, dear sis. i miss you. and ... i'm forever sorry. and, it changes nothing.

i'm sorry that mother never understood, kay. that she discarded you like a torn sock. when you refused to deny yourself in order to declare your 'loyalty' ... some fucking stupid and nebulus concept they made up for their own self-importance. and that i, weak and cowardly, fell for her ultimatum and turned on you. this, i think, shall remain my undying regret --lifelong. the only thing i shall take to my grave, kay. and ... kay, i do so wish you had a grave. somplace i could visit you. but ... all i have are those secret shadowy places inside my heart ... filled with childhood memories ... you and me, kay. and ... i have my sad, searing regret.

i try not to think of the fact that someone from florida had to call us to tell us that you died in a car accident at home, in northern alberta. when i do think of this fact, i reflect on how complacent, cowardly and distant i had grown in relation to you. and of the last time i saw you alive. on the no. 60 bus. i can never really know for sure - but in my heart i believe that you saw me snubbing you. me - that fucking snotty little sister of yours.

i felt so sheepish, at your funeral. and judged. judged by all those who thought they loved you more, and therefore deserved to mourn you more intensely. i felt so much i felt nothing, kay. numb ... flaming numbness. my boss - a bitch from hell - gave me the gears about taking five days off to travel to your funeral, kay. fucking cunt! but i travelled all the same. i don't remember the bus ride to edmonton ...

i'm guessing that has something to do with the 3x500 cc bottles of rye and coke (a 50-50 mix) i drank en route. i have a very, very vague recollection of getting off the bus ... and, i'm actually amazed that i could walk at all. but, kay ... nothing could drown me. i tried, drinking as much alcohol as i could find. nothing. just a little of the edge taken off. i wonder what your in-laws thought - seeing me at breakfast time in the restaurant, already drinking alcohol.

i'm not really sure how ... but thru some form of osmosis the reality of your absence from this earth seeped into my soul. leaving its mark ... indelible. this wound of mine - it closed over, kay. but it never really healed inside. i miss you. i'm sorry. but i know that no depth of feeling can change the unchangeable. and so it is. the living mourn the dead. i mourn you.


Monday, March 06, 2006

is this mid life crisis?

Monday, March 06, 2006
well, whatever IT is ... fuck! it is making me soooo restless, indecisive, fickle. i cannot stand to live in my own skin some times. these times a restless, bone-chilling ache seizes my soul and does not let go. a residual feeling of unsatisfaction looms, hovers in the distant horizon. like a giant, dark cloud - the culmination of every loss, every disappointment, every heart break i have felt. and then there is self doubt - a nagging, high-pitched squeal that resides inside my consciousness.

where does self-doubt end and self-evaluation begin? when does 'taking stock' become wondering if i made the right choices? and why bother wondering at all? the choices have been made many years ago. is marriage a life-long commitment necessitating mutual-exclusivity and fidelity, where 2 become 1? isn't this a prison sentence,then?

is marriage a symbiotic relationship - eventually so habitual that it weaves itself into the fabric of each partner's personality? this implies that each person remains an individual and does not get assimilated by the 'marriage entity collective,' but nonetheless remain somehow intertwinned in existence. why do we think true love is ownership, possession and jealousy? is marriage really ownership and assimilation? that certainly is NOT what i signed up for ...

does true love mean sacrificing oneself to fidelity? isn't it naive to think that one can truly be sexually satisfied for a lifetime with one sexual partner? shouldn't we continually strive to push the envelope, stir the passions, seek physical satisfaction if the status quo does not meet our needs?

don't we continually strive to push the envelope and challenge ourselves in every other arena of life? then, why does the physical suffer? why do we have to settle for the status quo? and ... what if i don't want to? what if i want a meal supplment? like ... an hors d'oeuvre? if i have an hors d'oeuvre, does it mean i am rejecting the main course?

author's note: okay. so i couldn't stay away. i like this place far too much. and i missed you guys. i have tried to leave this place a few times. but you always bring me back here, my dear blogging friends.

so ... look for me here from now on.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

list of 4

Saturday, March 04, 2006
sigh ... tagged again!

this time by contessa v. infinitessima

alright, then ... here goes:

4 things/people that make me smile:
  1. p271828
  2. the smile of another
  3. an email or letter from a long lost friend
  4. thoughts of my babies when they were wee bairns!
4 ways to win my heart:
  1. clean hands and fingernails
  2. intelligence (c'mon, ya gotta keep up!)
  3. write me a (love) letter
  4. share with others who have less
  5. be real (NO PRETENSES!)

4 things i believe in:
  1. the big bang theory
  2. that there is no god
  3. unicorns
  4. humanity's immense capacity for destruction
4 things i'm afraid of:
  1. grief
  2. the sound of footsteps behind me (when i can't see who's making them)
  3. that my headache is really a brain tumor or aneurysm
  4. aging alone (widowhood)
  5. regret
  6. heights
4 things/people/places i want to see right now:
  1. jim
  2. my late sis: just for an hour
  3. amsterdam
  4. vancouver, canada