Separation, Exile and the Dance Macabre.

Napoleon_sainthelene
Napoléon à Sainte-Hélène, by Francois-Joseph Sandmann.

I was cast out in July of 2014. Ripped apart from my boys and exiled … to the Island of Lost Souls.

While Reading Lolita in Recovery, I picked up my battered copy of Camus’ La Pest (The Plague). Last time I read it was in university, I found it fascinating then, but now I was living it. Nearing the end of the plague’s visit to Oran, Camus’ narrator comments that despite all the ravages of the plague, “the greatest suffering of the time, the most widespread and the deepest, was separation …”. There’s a stage when those who are separated and exiled surrender their will.There’s a moment when those in it begin to lose the sharp definition of their loved ones, they become shadows.
I’ve gone through many such moments on the Island of Lost Souls. But, I’m an adoptee. I was well-versed in how to fight against loss. I’ve lived a life of separation and exile. I knew how to fight against the legion of ghosts and shadows that litter my mind and heart, but this one was so much different, so much more painful — I had lost my boys. I could, and still do, see their faces, hear their voices, their laughter, their breathing as they slept, their sweet voices asking me to read to them, to sing to them before bed … everywhere, in everything, every waking and sleeping moment of every day.

As an adoptee, I’d built up a lifelong immunity to feeling. I’d built up a fortress that repelled enemies, friends and lovers alike when they got too close.

My boys were the only human beings I let seep through the one crack in my fortress.

I’ve never given up trying to get them back in my life, but time is the enemy. My oldest just turned 19 and is off on his own to start becoming a man. She had her time; it’s my time now. He will come to me for advice. Sadly, by text for the time being. My youngest is 16 and still trapped with her. He is the hardest to reach now though just 2 1/2 years earlier, he and I were inseparable — the common foe, her. She has no idea what he’d been through — her and my oldest at loggerheads, filling the home with stomach-churning tension, thoughtlessly, ignorantly twisting his stomach into paralyzing knots. I’d been through that already as a teen. I knew that knot, the one that never really goes away, just hibernates until the shouting starts all over again, no matter what age. After casting me out, she decided to sacrifice him to a psychiatrist and lamely acquiesced to his advice to put him on antidepressants. I am shut out of decisions, pathetically advised of them after the fact. I have no voice. My only recourse — this blog.

Featured image: Dante in Exile, Domenico Peterlini (o Petarlini o Peterlin) (1822 – 1891, attribuito)

¹ Exile. (/ˈɛɡzaɪl; ˈɛksaɪl/)
noun:
1. a prolonged, usually enforced absence from one’s home or country; banishment; 2.the expulsion of a person from his native land by official decree; 3. a person banished or living away from his home or country; expatriate.¹

Synonyms: evict, drive out, cast out, eject, deport.

Etymology: The word originated between 1250-1300; Middle English exil (meaning banishment) from the Latin ex(s)ilium (banished person).

Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” Nice platitude … empty words.

The term is applied to individual situations, but also to groups (especially ethnic or national groups). Terms such as diaspora and refugee describe group exile, both voluntary and forced, sentenced to relocate. Funny that I should latch onto the Serbian diaspora and cast myself into self-imposed exile. See my post: Self-imposed Exile aka. Marrying a Serb.

 

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