Warm Night

12.19am 23 January, 2017

It is a warm night.
I have been asleep but
it is the sort of sleep that
gives no rest.
I have tossed and turned
enough to free myself
from my dream.

My first thought as always is
‘where is Jen?’
Someone answers.
They tell me
‘Jennifer has schizophrenia..
She is in the mental ward of
the Dandenong Hospital’.

I am saying these words.
If I don’t move,
if I don’t make a noise
I think I will be ok.
It is like being near the
centre of an earthquake.
If I don’t move, I won’t get hurt.

I reach out for a sip of water
and turn the pillow to find a cool spot.

It is a warm night.

My Jen

I am Jennifer’s mother
although she doesn’t see me as such.
She calls me Wendy or Rigby
and she is the boss.
The boss of the park where we work.
I just want her to call me Mum.
I don’t think that is asking too much.

Shizophrenia is something I am
just learning about.
It is voices imagined in the head
which cause such a distraction that
the person who has it is lost.
They can’t communicate anymore.
They have an invisible injury barrier so
it looks like they are ok.
But they are not.

I just want my Jen back.


It is all too hard.
I can’t help Jen.
It feels like she is lost in a crowd
with many people between her and me.
She is trying to find me but I am so far away
and there are so many voices she can’t.
I am not able to help her and that really hurts.
I have to stand in one place and hope
she will find me one day.

I hope it is not going to take too long.
I love her but I can’t do anything.
I can only hope. And wait.

Aways loving her.

Home is Where the Heart Is

I enter the Psych Ward.
But unfortunately it is not as easy as that.
There are 3 layers of door between the
ward and the outside world where people don’t fit anymore.
These people are pieces of puzzle that don’t go anywhere
so they are set aside.

Each layer of door I press a button and wait.
As I go through each door I hope she will be good.
I don’t know what I am walking into but
right at the core of this place is home.

I give my bags to the nurses to check for drugs
or something possibly harmful to the patients.
Jen raises her hand and waves and smiles.

I am home.

She Feels Bad

i say something.
She does not agree.
She slowly comes over
and slaps me.
It is like there is no middle place.
There is no room for discussion.
A no is a slap on my face.

I hear her and remember
to gently move ahead.
She feels bad and rocks
herself on the bed.

I love her and feel so sad
because she is fighting herself.
She hit me and she feels bad.

It is Not Your Birthday

She says it’s her birthday
She decides she will
change it from
the third to the first.
She claps her hands and
so it is done.

She looks for presents
and doesn’t see one.
She asks me why I don’t care.
‘Nobody has wished me happy birthday.
It’s not fair.

But I don’t wish her happy birthday
because she has chosen the wrong day.
I have to hold on to the facts for her
so she can return to reality one day.

Ducks Float. So do I.

Ducks float
Their legs are moving at 100 kilometres
an hour underneath the water.
A duck somehow knows if they keep on
moving their legs and body
will definitely not sink.

Singers float too.
Singers keep their voice moving
and body held in just the right way
for the breath to rotate through.
Stopping to think for one minute
will leave ducks and singers
up the creek without a paddle
so they need to keep on singing.

Keep on singing. Keep on singing
just like Dory out of Finding Nemo.
Ducks and singers will never stop
because they know.
They just know
how to do it.

I am not a duck but I do like to sing.
Maybe that is why I am happy at work.
If I sit still and think about what happened
I will be up a creek without a paddle.
I will sink under the facts that
I have lost my daughter to the madness
in her head and she will never come back to me.
So I keep on working.
I have to.
I will sink if I don’t.