I’ve been thinking of the novel, “The Exorcist”, quite a lot in the past week. It is a superb book made into a superb movie. I don’t think William Peter Blatty, who wrote the book, ever surpassed it – before or after. And yes, I am a fan of the horror genre. But this book transcends the genre. It has what literary people call an “arc” that is nigh on perfect.
And why has it come back to me after around forty years? Well, there is a priest in it, Father Merrin,* who in his past has done battle with the Devil in his many demon forms. He lives with the knowledge that another – or more – encounter looms. And when he receives the summons to the possession that is the story, of a young girl, he just goes. He’s known it is coming, has expected it and now faces up to the battle. (The picture here is from
So, my TN came back a few days ago.
I never did publish the draft post that I wrote in August. In it I said: ” I seem to be in a remission phase. I don’t know for how long it will last. A few days, weeks, months… years? …“
I was being hopeful with the last. But not so-deep down, I was scared to voice the thought, to put into words that I was in remission. Because one of my frequently-voiced beliefs is that every time in my life I have said something categorically dogmatic, Fate has tapped me on my shoulder and said “Hey, mate, remember what you said? Err… can we discuss this?… because I have bad news for you … “
You know how that goes, right?
TN pain? Nothing. No pain. Zero.
For many weeks. Long enough for me to forget about being tentative with movement, with laughter, with sneezing. The shower was different. It was where I first encountered the Beast so I still found myself unable to raise my face to the stream from the shower.
And it did not show up at all during that time. Spike on Holiday. Other than, a faint deep rumbling of pain about twice.
I’ll say this though: Maybe strong emotion does impact.
Through all those weeks…
– I fell seriously ill with the flu, wound up in hospital; emergency. Nothing.
– My Uber income had dropped to a trickle, I was running scared and hitting the road as much as I could, driving through the night. Fatigued. Still nothing.
And then, in one of those malevolent turns that Life can take, in the space of six weeks, we lost both our beloved cats. Kiara, our three year old, who was supposed to be the bridge across the River of Sorrow when we lost Smokey, our nineteen year old? Well, out of the blue, Kiara, my younger feline daughter fell ill, her kidneys completely shut down and end-to-end, we had to euthanize her within four weeks. And two weeks later Smokey lost control of her hind right leg. At 19, we could not put her through the indignity of not being able to stand to go to the loo. So we lost her too, my daughter Anaeka and I, numb and in complete shock.
They were two different losses, both equally devastating. Smokey was a senior family member. When we got her, Anaeka was 7. She’s 26 now. They were inseparable.. I’ll add some photos below.
And Kiara. Our little independent girl. Sure cats are independent creatures. But if ever a cat heard Thoreau’s different drummer, it was Kiara. Self-contained, a squeaky little mew and a giant personality. What happened to her was just wrong. For me, it was losing a daughter in the week before her 21st birthday.
I am a cryer anyway. But in many years, I have not cried as much and as often as I did those six weeks. It still takes very little to get me going with that pain. Unashamed, I wind up in tears driving home at 3am from a night of Uber. I miss that little cat something fucking awful.
And one night, torturing myself with going through some of the many photos I have taken of Kiara, I was sobbing… and bang. I had a bolt of TN lightning.
It did not shake me that much, I was – and had been – in an extreme emotional space and wrote it off as such.
And then, last Friday:
On Fridays I do a crazy fun thing at 11am ( and have for about two years now).
As part of a volunteer program, I run a “crossword” quiz for a group of wonderful people who are vision-impaired, elderly like me – and spread across Australia. Over the phone as a teleconference. We have much fun in the one-hour session and there’s very little I do that gives me greater fulfillment.
And last Friday, laughing at one point in our session, I experienced a TN stab of level 6-7 intensity, pretty much the same way it felt when it re-surfaced in my life, June.
So now it’s here. Back
Not frequent yet. Yesterday it happened at work, about 3 times. Today just once.
But the Beast feels like it is circling, ready to pounce. And it is scaring, worrying and depressing me no end.
Oh well. We are TN warriors, we face the Beast.
On the up side: Out of the blue, early October I got a call to do some IT work for Volunteering Victoria, probably the loveliest group of people I have had the good fortune to work with. In a 40 year IT career.
But it is almost a kind of mystical relationship. I seem to wind up there when my soul needs it the most, needs warm and kind people around me. And this work-time, winding down now, has done wonders for some of my cobwebby grey cells and battered heart-cells.
And to end this post….
I have been so very remiss in not replying to the kind words of those who have visited here and left messages. My excuse is that I was in the thrall of superstitious escapism.
But like my TN, I’m back. And will reply to you.