Jane with Butterflies and Doves


I tried to make him understand. Tried so hard to give him the images and emotions of my experience.

 His subconcious is so powerful. It resisted, turned it into a dream about being in a jeep chased by a dinosaur through a jungle. A nightmare, for sure, but not the nightmare I’d lived out, not the image I’d tried to give him.

We’d been together for a year, but I just couldn’t make it real for him. The images I gave him did bubble up through his subconscious one day, but they became play, a game to be played with a girlfriend. I look back now and see that there’s no way to make my story as real for anyone as it was for me on the day I died. How can anyone who hasn’t experienced such a thing grasp the horror of it?

Another realisation came later, much later.… That’s the day he began to break, the day he began to go dark. It was too much. I’d been with him a year, but he hadn’t seen me since the first day. Just a little, but enough. A fissure that was already there opened that day, then grew and grew, and may never heal. He has tried so hard to close it, to shut out that darkness.  And I . . .

Peter, I’m so sorry.

On the day you found me, you were a bright light. Brighter than all the others. Brighter almost than the light that came to me the day I died. I couldn’t go into that light, not with the darkness I had become. The pain, the shock, the horror, the rage. Attached to me. Those just would not stay behind in that bleak cellar.

I hadn’t aged a day in 32 years, had learned nothing, had only festered in my dank, dark misery yearning for life the way it had been in the few short years I’d lived it. The other light promised me the compassion I needed, the love that is the essence of being. But going into that light meant carrying the circumstances of my death with me for eternity. I wanted those memories erased, eradicated. I wanted them brutalised into submission the way I had been, and then made to die, like I had died. My resistance to the beckoning light only strengthened over the years.

Listen to me talking with your voice, our voice. Back then, on the day I died, I had no voice. I did in the moments before I died, but what good had that done me? No, once my last sigh played out, all I had was pain and rage and no ability to consider anything else.

Then you came from next door with some friends to the vacant house with the creepy cellar door out back. That day you shone so brightly, Peter. Compassion shone nearly as brightly in you as it did in that other light. And you were a being, like I had been. More than that, you had something I wanted back. Then I was still too young to name it, but in your light was the essence of something I had lost. Going to you, joining with you, I could reclaim it, I could be in a place that existed before death, before evil, before . . .

I know now there is no way to reclaim innocence. That’s lost to me here on earth forever. The greatest regret, though, and what weighs more heavily than my own loss, is how that day I began taking yours from you.

Joining with you that day dimmed your light, put a fissure in your being. A year later that fissure cracked open as you played out images of my death with another innocent.

That crack. Only the moments before my own death terrified me more than seeing that crack opening, that unstoppable crack. You’d found the images, I’d given you. It had been a game until the mother called. And then something tweaked. A realisation. You knew something was wrong – the game was more than a game. The image worked its way into that small crack and, like water turning to ice, prised it to an opening into which darkness seeped. My darkness.

It frightened me. I ran and ran. Until there was only that other light, I ran. Confronted with its brilliance, I knew it could see me, see right through me. I saw myself, saw what I had become, saw my own darkness, the one seeping into you, the miserable truth of malevolence no child – no human being – should ever learn first hand. I had become death.

For the first time in 32 years I learned something new. I saw myself and wept. Go into the light? No. Not possible. I left the compassionate light that is all love, all forgiveness, the light that was forgiving me, loving me, even as it illuminated my own darkness for me to see. I could not bear its forgiveness when I could not forgive myself. In this litany of apologies I add another. Maybe going back to the cellar would have been best, certainly best for you, Instead, I returned to you with the misguided promise that I would close up that fissure I’d opened. I would purge you of that malevolence I’d let seep into you. I would make you right.

When I came back to you that night, you slept. Your light shone with compassion again, a greater depth of it than you can imagine. Without your compassion, you would not have survived the fissure, the wound, and you would not have survived the returning refugee of murder.

And when I entered you, I saw it, clearly. There it was. The fissure. Still, dark, somber. Something seeped from it. Something ugly, hateful. A memory of something evil that sparked the Tyrannosaur dream, with its razor teeth and great powerful strides. You clung to the jeep as it rollicked through the jungle barely a step ahead of snapping jaws. I went to you then, tried to still your thoughts, tried to wrestle you from your dream, but the Tyrannosaur only closed the distance. It had never gotten so close before. When you awoke, it was with the sensation of crunching bone. How well I knew that sensation. It was the last thing I ever felt.

I told myself it was my presence in you, my first effort of giving since I died, that calmed you. But, no, it was your own doing. Then and now, you’ve been stronger than I. Your resilient love brought us to this point of healing.

You learned to run by my example. You learned to disconnect from life, to dissociate, to draw within and protect yourself from the darkness I’d brought to you. By the time I understood how awry my intentions had gone we were inextricably tied together. I no longer knew how to leave you. It was sticky. We were stuck. And you kept us alive.

Marilyne is right to say that without your remarkable compassion you’d have died or gone insane. Listen to her. She’s wise, and sensitive. Listen to her as she tells you to seek that inner voice. She knows something unusual is here, trying to tell you something that’s so important. I’m saying it again and again. Please, hear me.

I wish you could hear me.

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