Thursday, 7 August 2014

Missing You Mad Dog.

A few years ago my brother Cam came to live with us. He broke down one night, I hardly ever saw him cry as an adult but he was very distressed, told me he came back from overseas just to throw himself off a cliff. There's a lot of cliffs up here in the mountains.

Both Cam and I have felt suicidal a lot in our lives. We related to each other. We sat up in his bedroom for a lot of nights, talking. I loved on him, propped him back up, made him laugh. He stayed for ... almost two years? I can't remember. Eventually we got the studio finished above the garage so he had his own proper place. My god he was a slob. I was with him when he realised the banks had wiped all of his previous debts because he'd been overseas for a while, he was ELATED. He worried a lot about money, about "making it," about being successful.

He got a job. He got a shitty little white Mazda with no heating. He started up a T-shirt company and really gave it a GO, you know? My brother was creative - we're all creative. Creativity is human and we all have it. He researched the fuck out of the T-shirt world, we'd spend hours talking about marketing and strategy and selling them. They were really cool T-shirts. I'd like it known to the world that my brother could have built a T-shirt empire if he really wanted to. But he got disheartened, the right doors couldn't or wouldn't open. He named his business "Straight Racer" which is a fucking cool name because he was a fucking cool guy.

I don't know where his fancy shirt printer is now. He ditched it, quit his job, and moved across the country to go make a bundle working in the mines.

Back then he'd sometimes mooch across from his flat and want to talk but sometimes I was busy, you know? With kid stuff and house things and being married and all that shit. Sometimes I didn't drop everything just to see him. Sometimes I got tired of seeing the tiredness in his eyes. I was tired too.

Someday I hope to get to a point where this doesn't burn. Fathers Day is approaching and that's the last day I saw him, on Fathers Day last year. I never liked Fathers Day and now I loathe it with a passion and every ad I see stabs me straight in the heart, straight in the racer.

Last year Cam told me on the phone about how low he was, like REALLY low. He told me he was done, he didn't want to keep on living, asked me to respect his wishes and not hold a funeral service if he killed himself. I was silent on the phone because I knew he kind of meant it, you know? Do you know what it feels like to continually talk your brother out of wanting to die? He was pretty much obsessed with suicide for most of his adult life. He was depressed since he was a little kid, his world turned upside-down when he was eight years old and his own father killed himself and broke our family for good.

After I was silent on the phone - I don't know if he could hear me silent cry - he begged me to please try understand. Of COURSE I understand, I said! I loved my brother so much I would do anything to make him feel better, even collude with him about his own death. Hi my name is Eden but you can call me Philip Nitschke.

Thing is, I still had hope. I never gave up hope that he would one day be ok. I sent a text to him on the day he died not knowing he was already dead. "Hey bro, just checking on. How are you doing today?"

I spoke with my psychiatrist at the time, my case worker, my therapist, Dave - everybody close to me. They told me what to say to Cam. I was desperate with worry but kept thinking that if he's talking so much about doing it, then he wouldn't actually do it.

Back when he lived with us I was making dinner in the kitchen one night and he was there watching, asking if he could help. I said yes, he needed to tell me something funny. (He was so funny. Nobody made me laugh the way he could.) So he tells me about the time he's staying at a YHA over in London.

"Eed, there was a snorer situation."

He said there was this guy three doors down snoring SO LOUDLY that even when he was repeatedly woken up by people to shut the hell up, he just kept snoring. Nobody could get any sleep.

Cam always had sleep issues .. sometimes he'd call me after not sleeping for three days straight, his mind would be racing with anxiety and shit and muck and he'd apologise but told me he needed to talk to me. I'd stop whatever I was doing and talk to him, usually for over an hour, sometimes two. My god he was hurting. It's so clear to me now that because I was so used to living with my own fuckedness, I just got used to living with his, too.

I really tried. I really really really tried.

ANYWAY so Cam's telling me about this snoring situation in the YHA and how he devised a plan.

"I attached two pillow to my ears."

I was like, what? How?

"I pulled the belt out of my jeans, wrapped it around my head, attaching a pillow to each ear."

I fucking lost it, stopped chopping, and was just crunched over with laughter.

"I could still hear the prick snoring! Nothing could stop that noise!"

                        Cam, you will always be my Diana.

I have wished for many things during these past nine months. I've wished so hard that Cam was my big brother, so I didn't feel so responsible. I've wished that he felt like he had to protect and take care of ME. Mostly I wish he received proper care and treatment years ago, before this all got so big he just couldn't live with it anymore.

Most of the photos I have of us, I'm holding him. I would give anything just to hold him one more time. I don't know if he's around and I have no interest in seeing a medium. His death has left me desolate. Sometimes I imagine him just following me around in the day, watching me crumple, screaming in my ear "Eed I'm right here!" But I can't hear him and he can't hear me. I wonder if we're both just as frustrated as the other, not being able to communicate anymore.

But mostly I think dead is dead is dead. We're just animals, he's gone, and nothing makes sense except the curl of my sons shaggy sideburns and the way Dave says hello to me in the morning like it's a good thing that we get another day.

It's hard.

There's been times I've really missed not having a funeral for him, I wish I could have heard some stories from all of his friends and all of his family, so many people so deeply affected by his death he could not have possibly imagined the carnage.

He didn't know how loved he was. THAT is a tragedy.

                         I have NO IDEA why I never had a boyfriend in high school.

We're now headed into the final months of the first year without him and I gotta say, I gotta owie.

"If onlys" are useless and instead of telling him over and over how sorry I am, now I just tell him I love him, over and over and over out loud when I just cry and cry and cry. So annoying the body doesn't run out of tears. I been listening to Eminems "You're Never Over" in a  different light. It's helping. I been working on my words - fiery words. It's helping. I even read some literature on grief last night and thought, shit, I should read more literature on grief!

I friended a lot of Cams friends on Facebook after he died but I've had to gradually unfriend them: seeing them achieve things in their lives is too painful. I almost sent them an email saying something like "Sorry for the unfriend but your happiness makes me sad! Have a great life though and thank you for being my brothers friend you are awesome!" But I didn't. Grieving a person who suicided is a minefield.

One of Cams best mates Dave B. is running in the City to Surf this Sunday. He's raising money and awareness for the Black Dog Institute. I worry about how Cams death affected his mates that day, because the previous few nights they'd talked and talked with him so much, just as desperate for him to get help as we all were. Dave B. was going to pick Cam up on Tuesday morning and take him to a facility to get some help, but Cam killed himself instead. That's a pretty heavy thing to live with. That's a pretty heavy way to die. Cam said he didn't want the stigma of getting help, didn't want to be "that guy."

Dave B.'s City to Surf fundraising page is HERE if you want to have a look, maybe throw in some coins. It would be very appreciated. Thank you to people who have already donated,  for Cam, for me and my family. I saw "Anonymous" donated $105 the other other and just wrote "Missing you Mad Dog." Brought me undone so much right there in bed and I wept but kept telling my Dave I'm ok it's just grief, it's just grief hon I won't always be like this. (Lie.)

Part of me thinks fuck the Black Dog Institute, it didn't help my brother. To read anything on suicide prevention at this point claws at my heart in an awful way. Dave B. is a beautiful man for running on Sunday but I wish Dave B. wasn't running on Sunday. I wish he was getting together with Cam for lunch and a few beers and they were talking about how close Cam came last year.

I wish Cam was still alive but I wouldn't go all Pet Cemetery on his arse. I wouldn't bring him back, not the way he was. He was fucking miserable. Every day was a battle. He rebuilt himself so many times that in the end he just got too tired. I understand.

One day we were sitting on my front verandah and he was down, down low and I just could not think of a single thing to say to make him feel better. I told him everything I did, every trick I used to stay alive, until I was out of ideas.

"Cam, magic exists in the world. I KNOW it doesn't feel like it right now but I swear if you just keep going, things will shift and happen and change and you will feel a bit of magic. I swear it's true!"

He just laughed at me the shithead. I don't even know if I believe it much myself anyway, anymore.

He told me in his suicide note that *I* was strong. I would give anything for him to believe how strong he was.

I'm working real hard to channel my feelings into some shit. I got some stuff in place to look forward to. I'm still a crazed motherfucker except now I'm a grieving one too and I like to imagine I've taken Cams strength and love and pain and anger to use in my own creativity so whatever I do now I do it for the both of us. On behalf of him. I'm half of him.

"For you, I wanna write the sickest rhyme of my life 
So sick it'll blow up the mic,
it'll put the dyna in mite 
Yeah, it'll make the dopest MC wanna jump off a bridge and shit hisself 
Tap dancin' all over the beat, it'll jump off the page and spit itself 
Guess that's the best thing I can do right now Doody for you is to rep 
So im gonna fuck till I die, yeah I'ma do it to death 

And instead of mournin' your death, 
I'd rather celebrate your life 
Elevate to new heights, step on the gas and accelerate, 
I'ma need two mic's 
 'Cause the way I'm feelin' tonight, everything I can just do right 
There's nothin' that I could do wrong, I'm too strong and im just too hype 
Just finish the rhyme and bust it 

Excuse the corny metaphor but they'll never ketchup to all this energy that I've mustard 
So God just help me out while I fight through this grievin' process 
Tryin' to process this loss is makin' me nauseous 
But this depression ain't takin' me hostage I've been patiently watchin' this game 
Pacin' these hallways, you had faith in me always."

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Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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