Friday, 3 October 2014

He Just Liked Plain Things.

It's hard to know where to start and where to end this post. I'll make it as succinct as I can.

When my brother Cameron was a little boy, all he ever wanted to eat was lettuce sandwiches with no butter. Even in the big fancy restaurants we used to go to where I learnt all my manners that confused the hell out of people later in life, Cam would eat nothing but a lettuce sandwich, served on a plate, with no butter.

I teased him mercilessly and he'd get cranky, always with the same response.

"I JUST LIKE PLAIN THINGS!" His little arms extended in frustration like, fuck off you guys can't a guy just eat his butterless lettuce sandwich in peace? When he was an adult I'd hold out my hands and randomly say "I JUST LIKE PLAIN THINGS" and he'd be all "EXACTLY!"

In our cabin on a ship cruising around the Hawaiian Islands in 1985. I made him jump like a kangaroo so he did ... looking at himself in the mirror of course. I was so bossy!

After Cam killed himself on October 15 last year - well - annihilation. Utter. The thing is, I feel it worse now, that's the wicked thing about grief. People expect you to move on and stop dwelling but it gets much worse before it can ever hope to get better and can grief even hope? I need support and help and understanding now more than I ever did a year ago. It is at its worse. Grief is pushed away in our culture, ugh, death get it ORF me.

At that time last year, Dave just wanted to help me so much. So one day he came home and I watched as he built me a veggie patch. All clear, ready for planting new things. The symbolism was, is, beautiful.

 Ok who here thinks this kinda looks like graves with headstones? (Raises hand.)

It was a beautiful gesture by a husband who knew, knew how completely torn apart his wife was after her precious brother left. I'll never forget ringing Dave from a patch of grass not far from that veggie garden, and he answered all cheery.

"Hey bub!" And I wailed and wailed and wailed. "Cam ... Cam ... killed himself!! He killed himself!"

"OH FUCK. I'LL BE RIGHT THERE. WHERE ARE YOU. SHIT. OH MY GOD. I'M COMING. I'M OUT THE DOOR NOW." And Rocco came up to me, just five years old, little hand on my back, what HAPPENED mum? So I sent him up the street to bring his brother back home and Rocco said to Max UNCLE CAM IS DEAD and Max told me much, much later that they had a fight about it because he thought Rocco was making it up.

So last year I went to the hardware store and I DID buy lots of things to plant in that garden. Rosemary, coriander, flowers, tomatoes, a STINKY curry plant, corn (of which one, teeny lame cob ever grew) and lettuce. I bought a few lettuces to plant because we planted them in our old garden in our old house and it felt so cool to just walk outside, pick some lettuce, and then make your salad straight from the garden!

(Pic taken almost a year ago.)

I can't remember if the lettuces took. I can't remember eating them joyously, satisfied and smug from existing on our own veggie garden. I can hardly remember the past year - all I remember is pain, really. Searing. I don't know how we get through hard things, I do not know. I have been a shit wife, a shit mum, a shit cleaner, a shit friend. I have been suffering and in intense pain and sometimes even the tiniest little moment can brighten my day.

One day last year not long after I planted all of my new plants, I literally bumped into my beautiful friend Carole. She walks around town with one of those trolleys you pull behind you - everybody should do that instead of using plastic bags. God I love Carole. And her trolley. She asked me how I was and she MEANT it. I told her of the garden - the tomatoes, the corn, the lettuce. She said what a beautiful thing for Dave to do and I agreed.

I've seen Carole here and there since. It's always so, so beautiful to see her. She wears her soul inside-out, like she feels EVERYTHING. She's one of the most beautiful, kind, gorgeous women. I love women like her. She talks her truth and feels her shit. Amen. (Or, Awoman.)

Anyway so COMPLETELY out of the blue, a few weeks ago, Carole sent me a series of texts detailing a very vivid dream she had of me and of Cam, and she hoped I didn't mind but she wanted to tell me. She not only told me but she wrote the text to me in the form of a poem, my god she can WRITE.

What I need to tell you is - Carole is clairvoyant. I've always known this. I have purposely shunned all thoughts of seeing a medium or "contacting" Cam - dunno why. I ask him to visit me in my dreams and then I have a nightmare of his burning leg in a fire. I had completely, utterly lost my faith in this past year and it's terrifying because nothing means anything, we're all just meat, trying to make sense of the senseless in an awful world.

Until Carole quite innocently tells me her dream. All she ever knew of Cam is that he was my brother, he killed himself, and last year I planted a veggie patch to keep busy. That's all she knew.

This is her text to me, verbatim:

I dreamt of Lettuces after your brother left the earth
on his last tank of gas.
He didn't have far to go
not even down the road.
Let go the load brother
let go the load

Sometimes all we have are the little things - the hand of a child, a lettuce, a smile
when the world is empty and big
You used to be smaller than me
I dreamt of a temple of lettuces and candle flames that burn.

We yearn, but there's only a lettuce
Sometimes all we have are the little things
And you used to be smaller than me
Which way did the wind blow after you left?
I want to follow you.
Show me where you are.
Give me a moment of light that will last forever so that I don't have to be alone

Show me where you are near far somewhere in between
I want to make you a summer sandwich with my lettuce
'Give me two slices of bread' I said
"One for me 'n one for you
And pass the salt and pepper too'



I know.

Can you even?

I couldn't even REPLY. I have told nobody about this, until now. It's so exquisite I've only read it a handful of times. I saw Carole after her text and we sat down and I told her about Cams lettuce sandwiches with no butter and her shock! And my tears and I asked her to recite me the poem again because it was so beautiful and she did, she knew it off by heart! I was WEEPING into my crying scarf. Sobbing. His last tank. Oh my goodness.

Then Carole, my beautiful friend - "Oh Eden, he worked through me to get to you! I had no idea, I thought it was just a nice dream to share with you! Oh!"

She gave me her blessing to share this here but she was so humble, said it wasn't her. (It so was.)

Maybe the afterlife I've believed so firmly in for my ENTIRE LIFE until Cam died - maybe it does exist after all. Another friend told me that people who kill themselves often go away, right away after they do it because they are SO tired. They need a big rest. A few people have told me that it has distressed Cam to see me so distressed and maybe I'm a bit glad, because he knows, hopefully he can see how much I loved him with my whole heart, unconditionally, I ache for him like - man I can't even describe. I wish he still liked plain things, as an adult. I wish he didn't want money and success so much. He told me he wanted to build his own house one day. He told me everything. I told him everything.

I miss him. I selfishly miss him but he is not feeling all that pain, anymore, you know? These last few laps around the stadium before the marathon of this year - almost finished. We're nearly there. And when I can't sleep and it's 4am and I'm terrified and back there with him as he goes through the motions to end his life? I rock myself like a baby, and I tell myself that it has already happened so why live it twice? It's already happened, Eed. I'm already gone - and so is my pain.

I took a look at my veggie garden today - it has gone to SHIT. I'd decided to leave it until after October 15 and THEN I would clean it all up, cleanse it out. But I just got filled with rage looking at it today - it's Megans fault because I had to take my phone outside for better reception to text her a stupid video I did after she inspired me to take my first shower in four days. (Megan and I would never have met, if we didn't both have dead brothers.)

So that's what it got to - unkempt, uncared for, forlorn, let go. Just like me.

I would keep glazing my eyes over when I looked at it like, yeah yeah I'll fix it one day FUCK that veggie garden. But man, right then, an hour ago? Frenzy. How DARE those weeds grow there. How DARE it get so overgrown. How DARE my brother remain untreated until his death, all of his weeds and roots twisting, pulling him down into the darkness.

I pulled most of it all out, especially that stupid curry plant that I always hated and it was dead anyway. I completely wrecked my beautiful manicure, clawing at the earth like the crazed woman I was, weeping so loudly, snot streaming, sometimes so overcome I fell forward into the weeds and sobbed and sobbed because my brother, he is gone. And the acceptance of that will have to start coming. And I will have to get used to him being a dead person like, oh yeah he's dead. And the further I live, the further away he gets from me. I wish I could save him. I can't believe my guy is gone! I would sit there in primary school and watch the clock tick until it hit 3pm and I'd jump on my orange bike (NEVER a helmet) and ride home as quick as I could to see him and I couldn't wait to see him, slid the latch on the brown gate, always said the same thing when I saw his drooling, chubby, gorgeous little face.

"Howsa mah boy?"

So I ripped the weeds and the unwanted plants out with my bare hands. People should do more with their bare hands. Until I met my match with that oregano like, I like it and all but it wouldn't BUDGE until I stabbed it with the garden spade I should have used from the beginning and it felt so, so good to murder that oregano.

So that's how it looks now. I'll leave the ash from our fireplace there, spread it around because the very first slam poem I wrote is about ash and before I even wrote it I had a tiny glimpse of the whole poem in its entirety BAM like magic and I knew it would be a fucking awesome poem. Because it's about a fucking awesome guy and Cam, I TOLD you that magic exists. I told you. Why couldn't you have just believed me, sweetheart? I always told you the truth. Even when I shouldn't have.

I love you. Every day. Every second.

                                      My wedding day, 2005. 

Me: a light pink dusty Lisa Ho with thin straps and questionable diamantes. Him: A beautiful smile, a beautiful heart, and a stain on his white shirt. Probably from the chicken. Actually, probably the salmon. Always with the stylish choices.

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