One of my favourite authors is Eva Ibbotson and of her books, Madensky Square is probably my favourite. Always has been. I’ve been avoiding it the last couple of years, unconsciously, but i read it this week. There are 3 or 4 paragraphs that say so clearly how i have felt for the last 2 1/2 years that i thought i would put them here. I’ve been meaning to do it for a couple of days and i’ve got 5 minutes as the girls are trying to avoid bedtime.
The book is one about a woman who gives up a baby born at the wrong time, even though she knew it was the wrong thing to do; she is ill and afraid and everything happens so fast that she seems to have no control over it. The book is set many years after the event and deals with how she has lived her life since. She goes on to have a good life, a successful life, with many friends, a good business she builds herself and people who love her. But the legacy of that moment is threaded through the book and everything that happens to her has the tiniest flicker of a thread back to the child she doesn’t have. It is a very positive story, full of light and blessings, but you’d not have to know me very well to know how strongly the quote below speak out to me.
After this, the waters closed over my head. I don’t know the name for these attacks: depression, despair, panic… I only know there is nothing to be done; they just have to be lived through. I used to curl up under my quilt, trying not to exist, but now i walk. I walk all day through the city and out of it and by the evening the worst of it is over.
‘You should get help,’ Alice said to me when she found me once curled up in a ball in a darkened room. There are so many doctors who understand these things’ […] That’s true but I don’t want any help. My attacks are not mysterious or causeless afflictions like Job’s boils. I deserve them. They are entirely just.
So I resumed my life. The anguish went on, growling away, sometimes surpressed, sometimes getting me by the throat, but as the months passed I could attend to my work and even my pleasures, except on those black days which even now I have not outgrown.
“[The pain] becomes part of you and if someone offered to take it away… you wouldn’t want them to because the pain is the link with the person you’ve lost…”
And this is why I sometimes walk like a madwoman out of the city. Why too I don’t seek out kind doctors who might help me. I gave away my daughter. Let them cure me of that!
I haven’t lived for you – wasn’t able to – but I’ve lived at you – and for the last time, my darling, I’m sorry, so very sorry, that I wasn’t brave enough.