Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Pearnguin.

All my life I've wanted to meet a pearnguin but I wasn't even sure they existed. Like, a mermaid. Or a wolfman.

One day last week I went shopping and there he was. Just like that, I find a pearnguin.

Hands shaking, I gently lifted him up and paid the fifty cents. (I don't know how I knew he was a he, I just did.) And rushed home.


"The fuck's a pearnguin?"

I showed him, and he smiled. The pearnguin needed some time to be coaxed out. I let him sit for a few days, until I bought the right size black marker for Dave to coax him out.

Pardon? You've never seen a pearnguin either? Here he is.

See him in there? Did you know there's always things in things?

His eyebrows could now raise. He was smiling. His wings were long and thick. The boys loved him so much, I had to save Mr Pearnguin twice from being eaten.

I knew he couldn't stay forever. Nothing can. And I could tell straight away he was as melancholic, as deep-thinking as me. That's going to get him into some trouble.

It was time. We didn't say goodbye, and I just watched as he jumped down from the table, rolled down the back garden stairs, and waddled off without looking back. Searching for his kind.

We all gotta search for something.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Day He Went Away.

                           On our way to get a late note

Rocco came bursting into our bedroom this morning. BURSTING.

"Where is my folder with all my cards in it?"

Fuming before six am, I told him to turn around, shut the door, and go back to bed IMMEDIATELY.
Soon I heard him out in the living room 'playing' with the dog.

"Up! Up Opie! GET OFF ME OPIE. Up! Up Opie! GET OFF ME OPIE."

Rocco has been the most challenging, defiant, naughty, full-on child since day one. He was born screaming - I think he was pissed about the c-section because he wasn't ready to come out yet. Before I even held him in my arms, the thought crossed my mind of how incredibly annoying his cry was. He cried for a year. I'm still recovering.

He's also one of the most inquisitive, intelligent, funny, thoughtful, heart-melting, CRAZY kids I've ever known. I had to stop showering with him over a year ago because he was head-height to my nether regions and just would not stop laughing at me in the shower. During dinner one night he turns to Dave:

"Hey dad, have you ever seen mums vagina? IT'S HILARIOUS!"


It was just me and Rocco home, the day I found out my brother Cam had died. The 15th of October, 2013. A Tuesday. Nothing ever happens on a Tuesday. Tuesdays are boring days. Rocco asked if we could do Bug Club on my computer - it's a really cool reading program for kids his age. We sat up on my bed. He held the computer, I was just supervising. We'd just gotten started when my phone rang. It was one of Cams very best mates who I'd spoken to on Sunday about how worried I was about Cam, that he might do something stupid. Awesome I thought. He's ringing to tell me an update.

I had to run outside because there was still no phone reception here. Told Rocco to keep going with Bug Club.

It was about 3.30pm. I ran outside and could finally hear him and as soon as I heard the way he said "Eden" ..... I knew. I think he said Eden about five times. I was in a swirl on the back deck. He kept asking me if I was sitting down which is such a beautifully old-fashioned thing to do. He must have practiced what he was going to say before he called. What a shitty, shitty, fucked up phone call to make.

All in those ten seconds I realised that Cam had done what he'd been saying he may do. I totally accepted it in that moment.

"Eden. Cameron's committed suicide."

"Ok. Has he? Ok. Ok. How?"

He told me by breathing in gas. (His father did it by breathing in carbon monoxide. Apple doesn't fall far from the tree.)

"Where is he?"

Glebe Morgue.

My brother is dead lying in a morgue. Ok.

Cams friend kept saying sorry, over and over. I kept saying it wasn't his fault. He said that Cam had done it that morning, that because I'd moved house recently Katoomba Police couldn't find me. So pretty much all of Cams mates knew, but none of his family. (Slowclap, Katoomba Police.)

It was when I was walking in circles and pacing all around the grassy backyard that I just lost it. I totally unaccepted it in that moment. The new reality of no Cam ever again crashed through my consciousness and I collapsed gracefully onto the lawn, wailing to his friend on the phone.

"He was ... my ... brother!!!"

And I sobbed. Actually it wasn't a sob. It was something I'd never heard before and it was coming from me. We spoke a bit longer and then hung up. I was crying so loud and so hard. There was a tradesman in the yard next door who was hearing everything. 

Things you love can get ripped away from you in a second. I was wailing and saying random words to nobody, pressing the grass down with my hands.

Things will happen to you, during the course of your life. Beautiful or terrible things. You will remember every detail, every word, every moment.

Suddenly I felt this little hand on my back.

"Mum, what HAPPENED?!"

I turned around to my five year old guy. "Um, Uncle Cam died."


I told Rocco that Uncle Cam had died in a car accident. He just looked at me for a while.

"Can we go back and play Bug Club now?"

I told him that I needed him to do something very important to me - walk up the street by himself and get Max from his friends house. He ran off.

Max only recently told me what happened when Rocco came to get him - Rocco knocked on the door and asked to speak to Max. Max came to the door.

"Uncle Cam is dead. Come home."

Then they had a fight about it because Max didn't believe him. (Rocco does have a certain dryness to him.)


Max came running to me and I was just beyond. He told me to sit down and he got me a drink of water. I'd rang Dave from my patch of grass outside. As soon as I got the words out he was walking out the door of his office. We packed our bags and drove down the mountain, to tell my family, to start the worst week of my life.


Today is a Tuesday. I don't count the weeks anymore, I count the months. I never want to count the years. Years is too long without somebody you love. But that's life - in all it's gloriousness, confusion, darkness. That's motherfucking stupid life. I hate it too, Cam. I told you that. I told you to find something to live for. I told you you were amazing. You never believed a word I said. You had no faith or love for yourself and that's the saddest thing I've ever known in my life.

Rocco and I played around so much this morning that he was late for school. Did not care. You need to get your happiness where you can. I put his new runners on but because they had laces, he thought they looked wrong. So I did them up about ten times. Eventually I said, mate, this is just how laces go. Now when I clap my hands, you have to run around the house as fast as you can GO!

And he ran. So many times. We were laughing so hard. I'm always sad about Cam - every hour, every day. But I'm learning you can compartmentalise things, like an Ikea shelf for the heart. I watch the boys on the trampoline, keenly aware that I'm standing right on my patch of sorrow grass. My sorrow is as heavy as the love I feel for my boys. They say women make great multitaskers - absolutely. Watch me grieve *and* cheer my sons at soccer! I've stopped at least ten times to cry while writing this post. Doesn't mean I won't make a green chicken curry for dinner. 

If I grow into a wrinkled old woman I'll still be pining the loss of one of my best friends.

Hey Cam I'll try to grow old - wouldn't that be hilarious? I'll grow old and incontinent and have grand babies. My vagina will probably be quite funny when I'm 95. And I'll live this life for the both of us. I'll try feel the joy for the both of us. 


To get people to throw a few bucks to the Black Dog Institute, one of Cams best mates Dave is running the City to Surf in Cams honour. Donate here. THANK YOU so, so much to the people who have already donated. You've helped raise money for research and treatment into mood disorders like depression and bipolar - you've helped other families not go through what we are going through.

I told my husband Dave that Cams friend was doing this and after a thoughtful silence he says,

"But what's guide dogs got to do with Cam?"

(Hon, shhhh .... it's just an experiment to see how often you read my blog.)

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Day I Married Jesus.

Doing your first Holy Communion is so exciting. And a BIG deal. I remember trying my dress and veil on so many times beforehand. That veil.

In my family, when one of us had a first Holy Communion there'd be a big celebration afterwards. You were like, the holiest person there.

I'm pretty sure the Virgin Mary behind me knew EXACTLY that I was going to grow into a raucous, wild, out-of-control angry young woman who always ended up at 10am in Oxford Street after getting kicked out of nightclubs for vomiting on people. Or shitting my pants. Or threatening to glass someone. Mary is either ushering me off with her hands, or she's about to shrug.

"Not much we can do about this one, Heavenly Father."

Did you make your first Holy Communion? Did you know you can excommunicate yourself from the Catholic Church?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Heroes And Trains.

Hey. How's it hangin'? I'm doing ok. I gave my brothers ashes to my mother. She came up last week with my sister to go to the solicitors about Cams estate. Before we left I put Cams ashes on the kitchen bench and said ok, I need to tell you something.

I told her that the ashes are ... getting too heavy for me now. She needs to have them. When I was organising Cams service last week at the lake, I had all these things in mind. But then I read his suicide note - only for the third time because it's incredibly heartbreaking and traumatic. Cam explicitly asks me to fight anyone who tries to organise a service, and here I am organising a service! I told mum that she gave birth to him and this is the last thing she can ever do for him. And I told her that I tried to do all of the things he asked me to do and I've been able to do most of them but I think it's taking a toll now that he wouldn't want for me because he loved me. Very much. I knew it and and he wrote it in his note, he thanked me for loving him so since he was born. I used to tell Dave that Cam was like a son to me, and the same courtesy and understanding and love I showed to Daves beautiful older kids, I asked him to show it to Cam. Which he did - he bailed him out a few times in his twenties when he was stuck in a fix.

When I was in the loony bin - shit that's disrespectful sorry. When I was in the nuthouse, I spent hours one afternoon just sobbing and sobbing. Pulled myself together to go watch Deal or No Deal, there was a group of us who all sat in the same spot and watched that show religiously every day. Shouting out DEAL! NO DEAL! So I came out, sat down, and one of the inmates came up to me and said,

"Are you Cameron Morrisseys sister?"

I looked at him, recognised him as one of Cams friends from the wake, and started crying again. Because seriously, how can that happen? We talked about Cam so much. John just called him 'Morrissey' which I found gorgeous. They started the same school in year six together. I was able to ask John what Cam was like at lunchtime, was he sad during high school, did he see this coming. John pointed to the phone and told me the last time he was in here, Cam rang him on that phone to see how he was. The phone suddenly became magic.

John wrote about Cam HERE

There's certain rules in the media about talking about suicide, I forget what they're for. Maybe to stop people copycatting? Thing is, once somebody mentions suicide, it's likely that a lot of people have lost a loved one to it, knows someone who has lost a loved one, or are suicidal themselves. All of these people all around the world, wanting to die. And succeeding. I thought about doing some "suicide awareness" but what the hell is that? Walking around with a bell wearing a placard - "Hear ye, hear ye. Suicide! SUICIDE!" More people die from suicide in Australia than from skin cancer. For every one suicide, 30 people attempt. Men are four times as likely to die from suicide than women. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 44, for women under 34.

It's funny because the more I think about it, I realise that Cam perhaps wouldn't have wanted a service because he pictured what people would say about him and he couldn't think of anything. Because he had filthy low self esteem. Because his deep, awful, disgusting depression wouldn't let him see himself as he truly was - a beautiful, caring, charismatic, clever, AMAZING person. Depression lies. I would have done anything for him. I did everything I could, but still this dreadful sense of thinking I could have done more. Saved him.

It's going to take me some time to digest the fact that I couldn't save him. My therapist gave me some books on grieving after suicide. I think grieving a suicide death is a bit different to grieving a "normal" death. Not harder, not pain Olympics, just different. The person you love has taken themselves away.

So I'm doing a lot of handwringing, questioning, working things out. I may be some time. People have already gently told me I need to start getting over this and just, no. No I do not, thank you.

One of Cams best mates is called Dave. He's running the City to Surf in August to raise money for the Black Dog Institute in Cams honour. Dave tried to save Cam, too. Did his HARDEST but Cam had it already planned down to the finest detail. You can't rip somebody from an out-of-control locomotive train. (Another of Cams friends told me that.) The link is is HERE to donate to Daves mission. We'd be really grateful. Helps us to give some meaning to something so terribly horrific.

I nicked this pic off Facebook. I don't who the dog is or whose house it was but I'd recognise that beautiful face anywhere.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Greetings Dear Mother!

Thank you for all of the beautiful birthday messages! It was a good day. The chilli con carne is a family favourite .... and Dave came home with a very luscious, very glutony, baked cheesecake. Everybody thought it was too rich except me.

So I was looking through the photos and came to this one:

Let's just zoom in on a certain 12-year old, shall we?

It cracks me up SO bad. He gets it from Tim. I kept ribbing Max about how sad I was that he didn't make me a birthday card, so in about five minutes before his shower he came out with a hastily scrawled one. I love homemade cards the best. On the outside of this one was written: "To Dear MothTurd!"

"Having a me and you day." MELT.

In therapy I talk a lot about the transformative, powerful love Max brought to me the moment he was born. Changed my life. He and I are the most alike, the other boys are mini-Daves. My love for my boys - all of them - is shepherding me through life lately. I'm sure that's ok.

When Rocco woke up this morning he came to me. "Mum, are you just so sad it's not your birthday anymore?" I laughed and said no. But maybe I am, just a tiny bit. Just for that sliver of magic.


This is so incredibly gorgeous and awkward and human-y. Twenty strangers kiss each other for the first time. It's surprisingly touching.


Friday, 7 March 2014

A Sort Of Homecoming.

Last night I dreamt that I was on the NYC subway completely naked. At rush hour. When I got off the train I ran through the streets trying to find some clothes. The perfect analogy of this blog.

I left the nuthouse with constipation, a urinary tract infection, hairy armpits, and the huge sense of impending doom that I've had my whole life. Dave brought me home and he'd taken the rest of the afternoon off. I love him. Opie ran round and around .... puppies! Everybody in the world needs puppies. Ukraine and Russia need puppies. Every person who get discharged from mental health should be issued a puppy. It is impossible to be sad while you're holding one. I picked him up and went up to meet Max at the bus stop. He got off and didn't see me at first. When he looked up he smiled, then looked down again. When he came up he just said:

"You out for good mum?"

I told him yes.

Rocco got home and played around the house like a tornado before noticing me.


And bolted off to turn the trampoline on its side.

I was exhausted. And felt absolutely completely shit. Still do.The only reason I'm posting is my therapist just rang me up out of concern and after some big conversations he told me I must write a blog post before bed. But who wants to hear about how bad I feel? Not me. I'm completely over myself. So here's a photo of Opie when he fell asleep in my car the other day.

                                                          I KNOW

And, I baked a banana cake from scratch. The recipe called for one banana but I used three. Dave was BESIDE himself.

It feels odd to be in the world again, drive around, buy groceries, and be all normal. When I feel so Abbie Normal. I used the gum ball machine for Rocco and got him four gumballs.

                    Aaaaand I ate them all at once, waiting for the bell to ring at school.

My mum has been on a huge workshop all week that I think may have changed her life. She's 67 years old. She's one tough motherfucker and I'm so proud of her.

Rocco cut some pictures out for homework and when I saw this I said, WHAT THE HELL?

And he said well, it's immunisation, mum.

I had to buy a whole lot of things for my bladder and my bowels and anything else gross.

I studied the dates. It reminded me of the time Cam lived with me a few years back, I was on a health kick and eating dates at the speed of light. We were chatting, chatting away on the front deck. About anything. And I go,

"I wonder why they call them dates?"

At that moment, we both look down at the date in my hand.

We fucking pissed ourselves laughing, and laughing, and laughing. Sticky, brown, puckered up arseholes. That's why they call them dates.

The first thing I did when I got home was smell Cams T-shirt. It smells so good. He's right there, his sweat and aftershave and B.O. I don't care if it takes me twenty years - if I need to small that shirt every day I will. I'm learning a bit about grief - how it never ends, it just changes shape like a shapeshifter.

It's hard to stop judging my insides by other peoples outsides. You know that feeling where everyone, EVERYONE around you has it all together but you? I hate feeling desolate. I hate being on meds. I hate how I feel every day. I hate that I can't call him, hear his voice. I hate feeling like a freak. I hate the uncertainty of how I will get through this. I'm entering a writing competition for people living with a mental illness. I want to win.

I love all my boys and the puppy and cake and gumballs. And I'd never thought I'd say it - but I'm happy it's autumn. The summer was too hot, was all wrong. I want to be cold and wear boots to feel tough and lose weight.

And grieve less. At the moment I can't see how that's possible.

When we were little, Cam and I always had a bath together and when he got out he'd turn around for me to tie his towel like a cape.


He'd go bolting down the stairs and run around the house naked except for his cape. Every night we did that. Every night. Mum always had his pjs waiting in the family room.

I fell over when he died. It will take some time to get back up again.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Third Time Lucky. Maybe. Hopefully. Shit.

Look. Tomorrow will be one month since I've been back in the mental health ward. Is there a Hallmark card for that? Probably. I didn't want to tell you because it got quite serious this time but I've been doing some stuff, reducing some meds, and coming to the conclusion that if I don't stand up out of my filthy sinkhole of violent depression I will go under. And I have beautiful boys ... LOTS of beautiful boys. All my life I've wondered and been sad about the men I never had, and suddenly I look up to the see the men in my life who I *do* have. And they're beyond beautiful. And I just had to stop then and take my glasses off so I could cry really hard. You know what that means? That means it's impossible to blog and cry at the same time. People ask me why I blog and I cannot answer, there are too many reasons. One of them is to know I'm not alone.

The first few nights here were spent in emergency (I'm totally fine now) and I woke up with a giant adult diaper on. And I needed to go to the loo and the nurse said, "Just use your diaper." And I thought, there is NO way this one diaper can contain my man wee but I had no other fucking option. I text my sister later that I was fine, and I pissed in a diaper. And it felt kind of good.

So over to the mental unit I came. My mum drove up and missed work all week to look after my boys and cook and be with me. After everything she'd been through, I hated myself for making her, making everyone worry. I can't keep ending up in here. This time has been so intense, like I knew, I finally realised how not well I was.

I dreamt about Cam last night. I was in the back seat of a car and he climbed in and my heart it just ballooned and then I realised that he was eight years old, but I was my current age. And I had to let him go through his whole life and not change a thing. It was really hard. It felt so good to feel his leg against my leg.

Dave is completely amazing. Usually at the end of my time here I sense a bit of antsy, like, he's running a business and cooking meals and looking after the boys all by himself. But he's done all that and still doing it and we're still saying we love each other and I can't wait to get out and breathe his breath. Opie has been fantastic timing for the boys. I can't wait to get out. I'm nervous about doing things differently but I'll just do them a day at a time.

I need to convince myself that getting back up and living my life isn't leaving Cam behind. Which will be one of the hardest things I've ever done.

Sucks having mental health problems. I really do have bipolar. It's taken me a year to accept it. When I'm not on medication I feel very weird and manic but then go mostly down, down, down.

Mental health nurses are a special breed and I'm grateful to all of them. They've seen it all and don't bat an eyelid. Some of them are arseholes. But that's ok - I'm a bit of an arsehole.

There's been a lot of lying on my bed. The days go pretty slowly around here, and if I don't find things to do I feel yuck. I'm doing a workbook on practical things I can think about or do when I'm feeling down. My therapist has come in every Thursday for counselling. He asked me what I would have done if he'd given me a workbook on the first day of seeing him and I told him I never would have seen him again and we both laughed. Then I cried about something and there were no tissues so he gave me his hankie which made me cry a bit more. I'll buy him some new ones because I'm never giving this one back. It's been a long time since a man gave me a hankie. He'd even ironed it.

I wish I was in here with Cameron Morrissey. I wish I was in here with Charlotte Dawson. I wish I was in here with the seven people who are going to kill themselves in Australia tomorrow. It's weird talking about suicide, like you're not supposed to? But so many of us think about it a lot.

So what would I do with all my suicidal people tomorrow? I'd run a group. But a really fucken kick-arse group that wasn't boring and I'd ask everyone what their favourite movies were and why and I'd cook popcorn properly on the stovetop and chuck beanbags all over the floor and put Pulp Fiction on. And we'd all laugh and say the dialogue and spill the popcorn and all of us would feel connected to humanity. And that would make them not do it for that one day.


Lastly, I'd like to thank my door.

He's really helped me through - smiled at me, laughed, told me I could do this.

"Eden, you can do this."

Ok door. Let's do it.

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