Friday, 16 May 2014

Dealing With What He Did There.

I've been carrying the seven-page official police statement on my brothers suicide around in my handbag, waiting for the right time to read it. I knew I needed to read it but I kept putting it off until it was all I could think about. So this morning after school drop off I parked in a carpark and read all the in-depth details. I knew I would cry. I also knew that it would not break my heart because a broken heart cannot break again.

It's written by a 24-year old Constable from Newtown police station. I can't go to Newtown anymore, just cannot walk the streets in the place where my brother spent most of his adult life. It's one of the most vibrant places in Sydney and I can't go. I think the only reason I'd visit is to be stealth weirdo and see who lives in Cams flat now. He took his own life in a flat in Newtown and other people live there now probably making eggs for dinner sometimes and laughing at the tv where just months before my bro laid down and took his last breaths into, according to the police report, a "full-face gas mask covering his face connected to a gas bottle labelled nitrogen."

My very thoughtful brother Cam wrote a note to the police and fire brigade.

"First responders, I am so sorry you have to deal with what I've done here. I thank you for your compassion. Cameron."

I didn't start crying until I got to page five.

".. observed the deceased to be wearing a red jumper and black shorts. The tarp he was laying on was approximately two metres by two metres. I conducted a search of the premises and it appeared as though the deceased was in the process of either packing or unpacking his belongings as most things were in boxes."

Coming or going, Cam .. what's it gonna be? In or out?

I never lost hope that he could have come good, in the end. But he didn't, and every time I read an inspirational life quote now I want to punch something. My brother tried really hard to live, to stay, to make something of himself. What happens when you can't keep trying and keep fighting? Was he just a weak fuck who failed, not like all you strong ones who know all the goddamn miraculous answers?

I finally made it to the end of the official police report, stuffed it back in its envelope, and cried some more. Then stopped, cried, stopped, etc. I'm used to this, now. I believe people when they tell me it gets easier because it really does. Grief gets easier not because it's any less painful, but because we get used to feeling such shocking, extraordinary pain.

There's a lot of different reasons why people end their lives, big and small. My brother Cambo was not where he wanted to be in his life. His self-esteem was shot. He compared himself to others. Every breakup with a girl he would hit this biggest wall. I've talked him through a few breakups. Why couldn't he just have knocked a chick up? Why can life not be that fucking easy?

After I read the report this morning, I drove to the lake, put my hood on, and went for a huge walk. There was nobody around so I cried out loud and punched the branches as I walked past. Random, vicious mutterings to my dead brother. A few days before he died I emailed him a Mountain Goats song that Black Hockey Jesus once emailed to me when things were dire. It helped me out. It didn't help Cam out. I knew he was in deep shit when he wrote back, "Thank you for the song, Eden." 

He never called me Eden. When he was little he couldn't even say Eden so he called me Dee Dee. I rang the 24-year old constable at Newtown police station today to ask him a question but he wasn't there so I left a message. Now I'm waiting on him to call me. He'll probably ring at a really inappropriate moment - while I'm grocery shopping with the boys, or at school-pickup when I'm trying so hard to stay incognito.

I just need to know, which way did Cams head fall when he died? Surely that's not too much to ask. Obviously I'll want to spill details out to the young Constable as well, like how Cam loved eating all the prawns in the fried rice first, how he was born with a teeny hole above his eye and he told his kindergarten class that's where he got bit by a huge shark. How he could have been the entrepreneur he always wanted to be if only he believed in himself a bit more. I could ask the Constable, if Cam had read more inspirational quotes, would he still be alive?

But the Constable won't have the answers to lives unanswerable questions even though he's an officer of the law. So I just want to know, did Cams head fall to his left, his right, or was it just straight-up staring at the ceiling? Because I'll be picturing it in my mind for the rest of my life and I want to get it right.

At the end of my walk around the lake the tears eventually dried on my face and for a split-second, all the trees around me felt like they were leaning in, telling me how sorry they were.

Tonight I'm making spaghetti bolognaise for dinner and on the weekend both boys have soccer and we might go see Godzilla and I think I'm going to start planning a holiday and life goes on, it goes on.

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