Day 847

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My box…

I will put in my box
A confirmation certificate
And words of praise for my bishop.
My husband’s compassion
And the heart beat of the sea.

I will put in my box
Chinese fire crackers that
Spit and spark at the devil.
Silhouettes of palm trees
And lightning during the monsoon.

I will put in my box
A teenage tomboy
Forever-happy climbing mango trees.
A far away memory of mother’s laugh
And a fisherman’s hook.

I will put in my box
Only good stuff
A glowing friendship and
A sweet cup of tea.

I will put in my box
My youth and
All the fun of the fair
With donkeys and candyfloss.

I will put in my box
The smell of my first baby
A lot of understanding
And a day in the New Forest in a church
Waiting to hear Dancing Queen playing on the organ.

I will put in my box
A guinea pig from long ago
So sensitive and soft,
Squeezing into a ball like a cat
An orange tree I climbed,
Scared of nothing and such rewards!

I will put in my box
The circus at Blackpool and dancing
Girls in swimsuits.
The smell of mango
And juice of young coconut.

My box is made of
Garden scents and music
With ribbons and buttons and all sorts
On the lid.
You can unlock it by wishing quietly.

I shall keep my box
High on a roll of thunder
And watch the dice
As they tumble down
An evening by the beach.

  • By a creative writing group of elderly patients with mental illness.

What would I put in my box?

I will put in my box
The infectious laughter of my young man
The warm embrace of my sweetheart
The healing touch of my mother’s fingertips
running through my hair
All the colours of autumn.

What would you put in your box?

Day 846

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Simba Muzira, son of Sara Muzira.
Exhibition of Art, Long Gallery, Maudsley Hospital. London.
Simba Muzira. Doing it again.

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Spray paint. Street art. Bold statements. Clear expressions. Innocent eyes. Pure soul.
Courage. Suffering. Passion.

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Pigeons telling him not to wear his shoes. Pigeons everywhere! No words!

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A mother’s tribute to her talented son who died at 32 after living with mental illness for a few years, in and out of the hospital. Her accounts of doing things in his best interest which turned out otherwise. Her heartbreak at having to live away from him when he was too ill to be at home. Her sense of an utter waste of a young life full of promise. Her guilt. Again and again. Her love. Immeasurable.

I salute you. Sara and Simba Muzira.

 

Day 844

Maybe he has a nice little flat to himself up there, with a high ceiling, big windows and an airy verandah, properly kitted out with a fancy drum kit, a ping-pong table and a cricket pitch nearby. Maybe he hangs out with his new friends and they talk about ‘stuff’ and go to the gym together. They possibly do all kinds of accents and have a good laugh. Maybe they have fancy dress  parties too. Maybe he cooks meatball curry for them and they tell each other stories about their time on Earth.

Maybe he sometimes looks down at his house that is now like a shrine filled with flowers and candles, his Mum’s eyes now lustreless, some of his socks and t-shirts that she pretends to borrow from him, his fine black Sharpie pen in her bag along with a random Arabic worksheet of his from University, Milkshake fast asleep against his favourite rectangular blue floral cushion from Ikea. Maybe he can also hear the deep haunting silence.

Maybe he remembers what happened that day. Maybe he regrets it. Maybe he visits and revisits. Maybe he is right here, right now.

 

 

Day 841

His bathroom has 3 lights, one on top of the mirror and the other 2 on the ceiling. The switch for the mirror light is just underneath the mirror. The switch for the ceiling lights is outside the bathroom door. I sometimes found the mirror-light switched on, on the way to his room even when he wasn’t there. I would tell him off for repeatedly forgetting to turn the light off after use. Now, it is my bathroom. I still find the mirror light on sometimes when I go upstairs, even if I haven’t been there for hours.

It is so easy to forget to turn the mirror-light off. I know that now.

I would arrange mail-order deliveries for the times when he would be home. Sometimes he would be in his room on the second floor and fail to open the door for them, especially if they came very early in the morning. We would then have to go around chasing our parcels. Again, I would get a bit annoyed with him for missing out on the deliveries.

Now we sleep in his room. One morning last week, I almost didn’t hear the deliveryman’s knock on the door. I thought I heard something like a knock in my sleep but disregarded it, believing it to be a dream. An identical sound came again and nudged me out of my slumber. Had the man not had enough patience, he would have left us a note and gone to his next destination. But I did manage to bundle myself up and roll myself down the stairs in a semi-comatose panic to get to the door just in time.

It’s so easy to miss a delivery. I know that now.

 

Day 835

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The sensitive ones feel deeply, love deeply, hurt deeply. In this hard world, they are forced to grow an armour of steel but inside they are soft and bruise easily. They suffer not only their own angst but also the pain of everyone around them, especially those they love.

They make good mimics and actors because they can literally put themselves in someone else’s shoes. It is their keen observation and empathy that enables them to imitate others accents and actions to perfection.

They make good musicians because their ears and brains are superbly tuned to their heart-strings and they can truly feel the music.

They make good friends as they are loyal, honest and true. Simple things mean a lot to them. Their purity and simplicity make them adorable.

Their sensitivity is the source of their passion and compassion, creativity and a deep appreciation of the small things in life, keen awareness and a vivid inner life.

They suffer deeply when betrayed, rejected or devalued. They fret over misunderstandings and unresolved issues.

All they want is to love and be loved.

The world needs more sensitive people but sadly, hasn’t learnt to value them enough.

drumming

 

Day 834

Zombified, after 10 hours of intense work, I walk to the station. Someone stops me and tells me something about a special offer of a makeover, a photo shoot or something like that for any day within the next 6 months. I can’t fully comprehend it. It’s not the kind of thing I would normally sign up for but I am too tired to think and it sounds like fun.

A few days later I mention it to Si. He’s not at all sure about it. He wants to know more. I can’t give him any more details as I actually don’t know exactly what I have signed up to and partially paid for. We mark the date in our diaries, he much more reluctantly than me. Then a business trip comes up and it has to be postponed. The same thing happens again. Then I loose the vouchers. They say, that’s enough. It’s off. Thank God! A few days later, a call to say they have thought about it and they would like us to come for it anyway.

Today’s the day. Si and I find ourselves frantically sorting through clothes and shoes while gobbling down tea and toast this morning. We load up the car and rush into town only to find major road closures to make space for a Charity 10K run. A long diversion later we get there 40 minutes late but to our dismay they can slot us in an hour later. That hour is well spent in a cozy café nearby having jasmine tea and Halloumi salad, recovering from the long, slow drive through the narrow streets of London.

Warm welcome. Comfy furniture. Brightly lit. Spacious. Chilled out. Chatty, friendly people. Creative calm space. A few changes of clothes. A lot of laughs. Sharing travel stories. Smiles. Hugs. Cups of tea. Reflectors. Flashes. The shh-shh of the shutter. Strangely decorated rooms. Fancy backdrops. Luxurious sofas. Complements. Fun. Si loved it. Phew!

Trying out something new together. Highly recommended.