On our way to get a late note
"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?"
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."
"WHAT! HOW! HOW DID HE DIE? HOOWWWWWW?"
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.)
"COME HOME UNCLE CAM HAS DIED FROM A CRASH AND MUM IS SAD AND I CAN'T PLAY BUGCLUB!"
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.)