Last week it was the first time in thirty-three years that my brother Cam has not been on planet earth for his birthday. I knew it would be a hard day but I did not not know that every second of every minute of that entire day would burn my soul.
I was wild. I didn't want to be anywhere. Grief sends a person out of their mind.
The day before his birthday, I drove to the flat he killed himself in. I had to. Where else in the world could I possibly go to but Fitzgerald Street Newtown LITERALLY around the corner from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where he could have gone to save his life. Where else?
Before I left the mountains and out of utter rage and spite I reefed off a HUGE branch from one of the blossom trees in the middle of the main street of Leura. It hadn't blossomed yet. It was just about to, but now it never will. That blossom will never blossom. I look forward to those blossom trees SO MUCH every year up here because spring, you guys!
But how dare those blossoms blossom. How dare they.
My huge unblossomed branch sat in my car for an hour while I wailed to my therapist and then I stopped off at the shop to buy some ugly masking tape and drove to my brothers flat, the last place he drew his last breaths. Nitrogen breaths.
I was driving down to Sydney, suddenly sick with the realisation that I was going to have a drink and use drugs today because how could I not? Oh my god. It felt so awful. I wanted the pain to just stop and I wanted to use the very best way I knew to get the pain away so I said over and over out loud in my car to a god I don't even believe anymore,
"Thy will, not mine, be done."
Over and over I said it not even believing it but please don't make me go back to that dark that calls my name every FUCKING day. Still having made the decision to use drugs, I may as well go to Cams flat anyway, give him his bouquet I so respectfully wrenched the same way he was so respectfully wrenched from this world for all of the myriad of reasons.
An unblossomed blossom taped to a post with a wooden heart where I wrote in permanent marker how I loved him, happy birthday, I miss you. How ugly is it? PERFECT.
New people live in his flat, now. A family - with a baby. I saw the onesies drying on the clothes rack on the balcony next to the BBQ and pretty, pretty lights they'd strung up. All things Cam would never, will never do. How that man lived so long with such deep sad I will never know. He gave it a go, he gave it a go.
I lurked like the weirdo lurker I was, not sure if I will ever go back.
One night he walked into that flat and he never walked out of it again. He got wheeled out in a body bag and they would've had to put the wheels up and carry it down the stairs then put the wheels back and put him in an ambulance. I wonder who was looking - I wonder who was watching, freaking right out right then, watching my brothers last journey outta town? If they mindlessly texted their friends "DUDE A DEAD BODY IS BEING CARRIED OUT INTO THE STREET. RIGHT NOW." They knew before I did. But they didn't know how much he loved king prawns and corned beef and how creative he was and that his favourite shows were Black Books and Big Bang Theory (CAM YOU NERD LOL.)
I drove to the cop shop because I just wanted the original suicide letter addressed to me, it meant a lot. I stepped out of my car and looked down to this teeny piece of art, melded to the road.
"What we do now - echoes in Eternity." Yeah my Braveheart, I hear you I hear you a deaf man could hear you.
Walk into the police station and fair dinkum EVERY copper there has tatts and a beard. Every one I saw. The guy on duty on the desk - man he was nice. I asked if hopefully my brothers suicide note was there, it was addressed to me? Showed him my drivers license. Suddenly I realised how badly I wanted his letter - I have a copy, but I really wanted the real deal. After a long wait he came back and told me no, it wan't there. (It'd been sent on to my family, completely fine but I just get so confused about what went where at the time.)
I cried so hard. The poor copper.
"Fucking hell! I just really wanted it!"
He was so lovely. So caring. Policemen are beautiful.
I took myself to Marys and ate the best burger in Sydney, served by a snippy idiot who blanched at my tears. Does he even think for one second I give a fuck about crying in an ubercool trendy burger joint? No. No fucks. As I was eating my burger I pictured taking Cam out for his birthday except it was just the one of us eating. Maybe he was there. I don't know. All I knew was, instead of going to the bottle shop or buying drugs I had subconsciously decided to buy a burger instead. It felt like the first burger I had ever eaten in my life, so clear. All the parts in me that want to kill me are no match for the unknown.
I took a piss in the toilet and LAUGHED at the penis graffiti. I love a good jizz picture.
As I drove over the Anzac Bridge I briefly turned to look at those glorious white sails on the Opera House .. and I said again out loud in my car to nobody in particular, "You are mine."
Then later as I drove to the beach house I was in such a rush to get there in time to watch the Bachelor that I turned my car too quickly off the freeway and ended up with one wheel over the embankment. I had to call emergency roadside assistance who came really quickly and towed me out and no damage was done to my car but I really SHOULDN'T drive when I'm emotional and as I'm sitting there, crying, waiting for the tow truck? The only thought I had in my head was, you know Eden, you really should have used drugs today.
And I laughed a black black laugh and I missed the Bachelor and got to the beach house distraught but hey - I didn't drink a bottle of scotch and shoot meth into my eyeballs and that has GOT to count for something.
The next day was Cams actual birthday holy hell. My tattoo was booked at 10am - Cam hated my tattoos! He'd hold my wrist tattoo unto his face "Know Thyself. Got it. Right. Thanks Eed." And completely take the piss and I'd tell him to get fucked and you guys, I never wanted to get another tattoo I'm too old for this shit.
But every 19th of September I'm still alive for, I'm going to do something for me and Cam. So I got a sentence out of his suicide note tattooed on my arm. Just four words. I can hardly look at them.
By the GORGEOUS Eddy-Lou Told her I'm going to be in pain today anyway so it may as well be on my terms. She was so touched. She did a beautiful job, in his exact handwriting and everything.
My brother loved me. All of my adult life I've always used a little e, to start my name - eden. But he gave me a capital E like I was important or something. So from now on I'm going to write my name Eden. That big E? You know she's the type to sit up straight. She's got a strong backbone.
He loved me. He loved me. He loved me. He loved me.