This blog post is in memory of my sister Angela Joy King, who died at age 39 after years of living voraciously with bipolar disorder/ manic-depression (and I think some schizophrenia mixed in there?). She would have been 48 years old today — her birthday.
How fitting that just now even though half the sky is still light, the wind just started howling and we’re getting the first real rain storm in over a month — huge downpour. Hi Angela! In fact, the sky just got brighter…and the rain harder…
When I wrote this poem several years ago, it was more about fear than about inspiration. For years I had watched Angela step in and out of her mind and it terrified me. But it also awed me with how courageously she lived, daily on the brink of (in)sanity:
speaks my soul I just know it
though understanding is a stretch
It’s more a sense a knowing
the intensity of intermingled passions
tumbling fumbling over each other
sometimes beautiful other times bordering on
too intense for sane but
I don’t care how it sounds or reads
just how it feels
The rare gift curse of unfiltered emotion
sometimes too bright too muddy
but to whom
to humans maybe but not Godde
this is the me I want to share but fear
me in my tracks whispering Angela
how close am I to that so far but
really how do I know
Always afraid the underside of intense is
on the bridge between silence and words tumbling
I falter and decide to just
Today, however, I gratefully realize that I no longer “just…wait” — somehow this year it’s more about the inspiration than the fear. More about the need to talk openly about the REAL topics, the ones we tend to whisper about in small groups in the dark.
Like what it means to be gay. Or marginalized in any of a variety of ways.
Or what it means to be spiritual but not religious.
Or today, for Angela, what it means to be depressed, or manic-depressive or any form of mentally ill.
And for the families and friends who try to figure out how to handle that part of their loved one amidst their own sometimes paralyzing fears.
Angela had no choice but to live to the highest highs and the lowest lows, and that she survived those those whiplash extremes as long as she did still baffles me.
So today, Angela, I thank you and love you for everything you were and are. And I celebrate you! A whole huge family size bag of Hershey’s kisses for you… but don’t eat them all at once, remember???!??
(and the rain just stopped and the sun is shining. I kid you not!)