Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Each Suicide A Suicide Bomber.

There are people all around the world, every day, quietly taking their own lives. It's their final option, the forever decision. Whether they do it because of pain, anger, futility, depression, financial troubles, relationship issues .... they do it. They do it every day. Count up the number of suicides in one day and multiply that number by a thousand. I reckon one suicide would deeply affect about a thousand people. I've a firm belief that the people ending their own lives do not, can not know how deeply and awfully their final action will resonate, hurt, annihilate the people who love them. They are all suicide bombers, strapping on invisible backpacks of nails and bullets and shrapnel and when they jump off that cliff or breathe in that gas or tie that noose .... the backpack explodes, showering the people who love them with a pain etched forever into their hearts. Our hearts. My heart.

My brothers suicide has left me disfigured forever. I am currently experiencing the worst, most awful feelings of a deep loss and pain so profoundly impacting I do not even have the words to describe. Every day since October 15 2013, I have woken up in the morning, bleary eyed "No not another day something bad has happened BAM. Your brother is dead." And then my psyche barks, "SCALPEL."

And I perform Camerons autopsy to find the cause of death, over and over and over again. And over. And over. I don't even get paid for this shit. Grieving is all-encompassing. It is exhausting. And I am tired. So are my sons and husband. We are tired from this. My brain will not stop its futile search and rescue operation.

"He should have gotten help he never got help why didn't he get help? The help probably wouldn't have done much anyway why couldn't he just have kept going? I kept going? Why do I keep going? There is no point in keeping going. Life is meaningless. He should have kept living anyway nothing means anything Cam where are you?"

And my Cam is nowhere to be found. My Cam is gone. I was standing very close to him when he departed so I've been hit pretty badly. I was complicit in his death, see. He begged me on the phone, a few weeks before he died. I have talked him away from death so many times in our lives, so many times. I would tell him how suicidal I was too. And I was, am. I'm all suicidy and I can't wash it off. He made me promise that if he did it, I was to fight anyone who tried to hold a funeral for him. And he did it so I made sure there was no funeral. But now, I need your funeral, brother. And it's too late. And I wished I had done more, told you I needed you more, fixed you more.

It's really, really hard to fix somebody when you're a bit too broken yourself.

I feel like I aided and abetted his suicide, because I understood so well why he would want to go. He struggled with this whole "life" business, so hard. It's a hard life, I look at my children and I just think oh you guys, I'm so sorry I brought you into such a crappy world. They have no idea how hideous and intense and awful the world can make a person feel. No idea.

I have a feeling of a tidal wave forming, of a richer and more substantial dialogue on suicide. Which is great! But too late, for my brother. I see a video of beautifully groomed celebrities talking about how we must just hold on I want to reach through my screen and muss up their hair, swear at them a bit. Unless you have personal experience of suicide, you do not get to speak for me. I've been called "the suicide expert" by somebody online being nasty, who didn't mean it in a nice way. I happen to agree with you, motherfucker. I AM a suicide expert!

Last week I told my therapist that the only, ONLY times I have felt any semblance of feeling ok about my brother not being in the world anymore is when I'm driving in my car next to some railway tracks and there's a coal train travelling in the same direction as me. When it happened, man. I just exhaled for the first time since that awful Tuesday last year and for 0.04 of a second I was ok with my brothers death. It's happened a few times since, and I've felt that same teeny, tiny smidge of peace.

Once it happened with Max next to me in the car so I asked him to take a photo and he didn't even ask why. We are kindreds. 

There are trees that exist in the Scottish highlands that are balanced precariously on the edges of cliffs and all they need is a few drops, a few centimetres of water each year to survive. Gimme a smidgen of hope and I can make it last for weeks, months, years. I read recently that "strong storms make oak trees dig their roots in further."

The thing that confuses me the most is that I am alive and my brother is dead and we were both so similar. He wrote in his suicide note to me: "Eden, you're the strongest one out of all of us!"

I highly disagree, it's just - maybe I dug my roots in further? Cam told me in the last year of his life that he'd like to build his own house one day and now I think what an utter tragedy it is that he can never build his own house. He didn't know how to lay the foundations. He tried. But nobody taught him properly, he couldn't teach himself he was so arrogant, stubborn and now dead. Will never realise his potential.

My therapist and I could not quite work out why I feel a sliver of peace when I drive in the same direction as a coal train. Maybe it's because I used to read a big purple hardcover book by Richard Scarry called "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go" to my brother so often when he was little that the cover almost wore off. Everybody was always so BUSY, in that book. They had places to go, people to see. They had PURPOSE. And Goldbug would be hiding on every page and before I even turned the page my little brother, my little blonde-haired delightful guy who I now see in my children .... he'd sit there waiting with his finger pointed, ready to find Goldbug before I did.

I always let him find Goldbug first. I always gave him the prawns from my fried rice. I always listened to him, always tried to make him feel worthwhile and valued and important and beautiful and clever because it was all true. It was all true.

Buddy Wakefield says that the moon does not have to be full for us to love it. Cam, you did not have to be whole for us to love you. You didn't have to be anything other than who you were. You didn't like who you were. I wish you knew you were enough. I wish you kept going - for YOU, not for me or for anybody else. I wish you weren't in so much pain. I wish I wasn't in so much pain. I understand why you left. I hope that when you spoke to me on those last phone calls, my understanding and empathy of where you were and how you felt - bro I hope it gave you comfort. But god help me I wish you knew how much I didn't want you to go. I'm so sorry my Bam-Bam. I fucked up. I would've done it all differently I DEMAND a do-over you would still be alive and be able to grow and evolve and know that you are enough and worth enough, to stay.

So, to all of the suicidal people who are reading this right now, I'm sorry but I cannot save you. My success rate in saving people is pretty bad. If it's any consolation I have felt suicidal on and off for my entire life and I still stay, still stay. And I know how hard it is and I'm with you in spirit.

I'm going to wash my face and walk outside and read a piece out that I wrote just last week, when the grief became so much I couldn't get out of bed. I read it out to my therapist that same day, and for once, he couldn't look at me and he couldn't speak and it's usually the other way around. This goes out to all of my grievers today on this World Suicide Prevention Day. What is suicide, what is suicide prevention? I think it all boils down to how hard it is to be a human in the world, and how much better we feel when we can connect with something, somebody - anything. This searingly honest piece on the suicide of Robin Williams is just extraordinary. THIS is what we need to hear, to read.

So here is my thing that I'll read out exactly how I wrote it, didn't even edit one word, the ink just streamed from my pen and the words fell just so and this is not for any poetry competition. (Stop being so fucking competitive WORLD.) I didn't even use ink! I used my computer but that's magic for you, magic that my brother never believed in and now I'm not so sure myself anymore but I'm still here and that's just gotta mean something.

This is for you, whoever you are, and whoever might need to see it. Please excuse me reading it out from the page - I don't have the energy to memorise it right now. I'm sitting in the exact same place my brother sat for four hours on fathers day last year and we talked and talked and talked and he left and the next time I saw him was in the morgue, all spongey. I miss my confidante. I can't be who I was with him to anybody else in the whole world. I miss how he made me feel. I miss who he could have been. Most of all I just miss who he was.


PS A beautiful woman called Joy (what a name!) emailed me last week about THIS - a gathering at the Sydney Opera House tomorrow for all those who have been touched and bereaved by suicide. And it's held out in the open - with people walking past! OUT IN THE OPEN NOT HIDDEN. I can't go. It'll take me two hours to drive down, seventy bucks to park my car, the grieve grieve cry and you know what's on tomorrow night? A school disco for my six-year old son. He's never been to a school disco yet, missed it last year because I was too broken to take him because grief steals so much! So I won't be there tomorrow, I'll be watching my son go nuts at the school disco instead. Tomorrow is too close to home to honour my brother in public. Maybe next year I'll go.


PPPS In summation, it's hard and selfish to want people to stay in the world "for us" when they are in so much pain and death is often the most obvious choice but suicide should not be the only option. We need grassroots shit to happen. We need community. We need entire shifts in how we view "mental health." New words. New beginnings, to make up for the awful endings. We need kid-friendly music festivals and cupcakes and real. The world news more real and I will kick more real into it if it's the last thing I ever do.

PPPPS Kicking more real into the world will, indeed, be the last thing I ever do.

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