Category Archives: Deaths

“I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.” ~ Jimi Hendrix

7

“All 7 & we’ll watch them fall
They stand in the way of love
& we will smoke them all
With an intellect & a savoir-faire
No one in the whole universe
Will ever compare
I am yours now & u are mine
& together we’ll love through
All space & time, so don’t cry
One day all 7 will die”
– Prince

2016 04 Apr 23.04.16 11.21PM Snapchat-4492316920341982313_a

© Violet Ashes 2016

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A Spoonful of Sugar…

I was born on Good Friday. So I kind of consider today my lunar birthday. My planet, Mars, is high in the sky near the moon which is full & bright, much like life should be. We had a Blood Moon Eclipse on Wednesday. I should have seen the warning.

A phone call in the early hours of this morning has left me in mourning & it has poured with rain ever since.

I have thought a lot of my uncle who died last night. He was quite young & though not always healthy this was unexpected. My father, near inconsolable, told me through tears & husky throated words. Slipping between shock & understanding as I lamented the loss & offered support. I moved swiftly into protective mode as I always do when either of my parents are upset.

There is nothing I can do. I cannot fight death & tell him to stay away. I cannot promise things will be alright. Of course they will be alright but where Geoffrey should be there will always be a blank space. He is the first of a family of 5 brothers & sisters to die, & suddenly, it is a shock to us all.

I remember Geoffrey most in his early twenties. Sitting me down as a little girl, pointing to himself in his High School pictures & saying;

“This is me, this is when I got sick” & me asking in my 8-year-old way
“what kind of sick? What happened?”
He replied; “I took things & my head got sick”
“Oh,” I said, in almost a whisper
“But I’m okay, I’m happy” he said.

Geoffrey developed early onset, severe & chronic Schizophrenia. There were a lot of tough times after that conversation. Geoffrey lived with us for quite a while; my parents took care of him until his illness became unmanageable. I remember him being there & the care they showed him even when things were tough. I do not remember the stress my parents must have been under with 2 young children of their own & a sick (yet medicated) young adult all living together in a small cottage. I only remember the impression that family takes care of each other & love is important, it makes people happy even when things seem bad. It makes life bearable.

In the decades that followed, medication for Schizophrenia improved. At times Geoffrey made more sense in conversation than the rest of my ‘sane’ family put together. He certainly made more noise. I always knew when he was visiting my other uncle because they lived one street over from us & the noise from his drum-kit would fill the street. That used to make me laugh. Now the thought that I won’t hear it makes me melancholy.

So we are one less but I did learn something. The love of family that takes care of you when you need it most; the ones that feel it when you’re gone, are the ones to keep the closest, if only in your heart.

Blood Moon Eclipse 2014

Blood Moon Eclipse 2014

I Hope Not.

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I hope that I am wrong about God
I hope that there is magic in this world
That when I die I awaken to a splendour
That takes my breath again

I hope that being an atheist
Does not upset God or the Fairies
I hope that they forgive me
When I finally meet my end

I hope that the Circle of Oaks
The chanting & the sacrifice
The stone temples & the statues
Were not bred & built in vain

I hope that underneath the ground
There is a heaven to be found
Where I can see those ones again
Whose hearts refused to beat

I hope the feathers I have collected
Reveal messages & dreams
Of untold stories & romance
From a friend I have never known

I hope through all these faithless years
I have missed out on something special
& when I die I will kick myself
For not knowing life is precious

Written by Violet Ashes 8th April 2014
Image taken in ‘The Forest’, 14th September 2013
© Violet Ashes 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Image via andsoitbeginsfilms.com

I do understand suicide. I understand the need to kill pain; to end suffering. I believe we are masters of our own bodies & that life is not just a right but a choice.

Having stated my beliefs I find myself in opposition to them. True suicide, still shocks me even though I have had my own brush with it. When I hear of someone who has committed suicide I am just as shocked & saddened as anyone else. However, I also feel intrigue; a need to know every detail. I am sure I am not alone. The search for answers is almost always fruitless when it comes to suicide, but I undergo the search anyway.

While I am conducting these searches I typically end up getting quite jaded about the whole thing.

This week the world heard about the suicide/death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. The details have since revealed themselves as heroin related. I am not sure how anyone ever knows a heroin overdose is suicide or just an accident. Unless of course there is a note. In any case, P.S.H was a successful, talented & no doubt wealthy man. A man with flaws & a man with an addiction. I wonder what it is that made him make those choices? Were they choices at all? Did it all just get out of his control? I wonder, if you slowly kill your body with addiction to drugs can it be classified as suicide when those drugs finally take over?

I will never know, but what I think he has accomplished, suicide or not, is the definitive end of his life. Unfortunately for those he leaves behind they are the ones that have to suffer for his art, they are the ones with few words to explain.

Words I do have: waste, addiction, shame. Words I do not have: tragic, sad, understand. Rest Philip Seymour Hoffman, if you can.

Poppa

Poppa's OrnamentThis ornament hangs on our tree every year in memory of my Poppa, Maurice John McInnis. I miss him every day, but at Xmas most of all.
 
When I think of Poppa I think of golf, whiskers & trousers. I think about the way he always kept his glasses in his top pocket in a soft leather holder I used to stroke when he’d cuddle me. I think about the way he would tease me as a little girl, carrying a handbag – how he joked that he wished he had a handbag too.
 
I remember his laugh, how it would crack, half pitched & high in the middle. How his eyes would water when the laughter really took him – the same way my Mum’s eyes do when she laughs.
 
I think about Poppa’s finely manicured lawn that he tended daily & trimmed with scissors if ever there was a blade out-of-place. The feel of that lawn under my bare feet when we would visit in the summer – no matter where he & Gran lived a beautiful lush, green lawn adorned each home.
 
I think about the way Gran called him ‘Johnny’ & he called her ‘Love’. How they had matching recliners with lace doilies Gran hand-made for each one. I remember him in that recliner watching Port Adelaide Football club play on TV – a-top the TV was a model ship – filled with his gold coin change that he put there to save for something he might put in his shed.
 
In Poppa’s shed was homemade Draught beer with a light box he built himself to keep the temperature steady as it brewed. That shed, always neat & tidy & filled with gardening tools. Poppa’s tomatoes were the pride of the family – sweet, juicy, ripe & red. Every year we were treated to fresh ham & tomato sandwiches, homemade sauce & Gran’s tomato relish. I think about how much I miss those tomatoes & watching him in his hat tending to the plants.
 
Poppa loved to fish. He loved to laugh. He loved to garden & he loved his family. He was a proud man – he was gentle & he was the kind of man you met & his soft voice lingered. I think people liked Poppa – he was a gentleman & a hero to my brother. He had a temper – but it was rare & purposeful. I never saw it.
 
I don’t think Poppa ever knew how much we all loved him & how much his impression would linger. But it has & it does.
 
That ornament was given to me by Gran the year Poppa died. Every year I put that ornament on my tree & I think of him. I miss him & I smile – I hear his laughter in the house & I think, I hope, that maybe he knows how much he is missed, how much he is loved, so many years later. My Poppa.

Violet Dirge

 

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Not long ago I was asked which songs I want played at my funeral. I have always thought this a private request & although it is written in my will & there are a few close to me that know what needs to be played, I began to think more about this & about why I feel so protective about these songs.
 
Had I chosen the songs for me? For my family? For my husband? Would there be any mourners to hear the songs? Would they cry…? Do I want them to cry…?
 
I started to look across the web at other blogs & found that a lot of people are talking about this subject. I started to ask my friends & family about this. Almost all of them had a clear idea of what they wanted to be played at their funeral. Even though they will not be there to hear the songs or see the reaction it seemed intensely important to them.
 
Music has been a huge part of my life so I found it a difficult decision to pick just one song, so I settled on three & the version of the song is just as important as the song itself. It was a private experience, I am protective of these songs, they have been on every compilation I have ever made – they have been everywhere with me. These songs are like children to me. I will love them forever & I never grow tired of them. The lyrics speak to me, they remind me of events & emotions. I think about them constantly. They have been constant companions throughout every stage of my life.
 
To settle the question, yes, they were chosen for me. Not my family, my husband, or anyone else. And come the day that they are played the mourners may all look around the room & wonder why they are being subjected to these songs but (I hope) there will be a few in the room who will hear me in the songs & know why I chose them. If not, then they will be left with the puzzle to ponder – perhaps they can listen to them on a journey somewhere & think of me in a new light.
 
In The Air Tonight (Live Version) Phil Collins
 
A Forest (Acoustic Version)The Cure
 
Precious Things (Album Version) Tori Amos
 
There is one more song which I keep just for Corsmor, my Husband, it is not to be played at my funeral unless he chooses. It says so much about us & how we love each other – something I’ve described in the past as “nice weird”.
 
Deep In The Woods (Album Version) The Birthday Party (Nick Cave/Mick Harvey)

I have uploaded them to my YouTube video channel, you can view them by clicking on the name of the songs above.