Friday, 24 October 2014

Eden Riley Performing "The Prophet."

I've had a splinter in the rude finger of my left hand for three days now. I got half of it out, but the more I dug to get the other bit out, the more I pushed it down. Each morning I wake up after nightmares and the shock of my brothers death, more, worse than ever before. And now I wake up with this teeny splinter in my rude finger, giving me throbbing grief on top of grief.

I told my counsellor yesterday about my splinter and showed it to him. He offered to help get it out. That's the kind of guy he is.

"No way!"

I snatched my hand away, and thanked him because he really meant it. He helps me when he can. I told him I need to buy some drawing ointment from the chemist, to draw it out. I told him I wished there was drawing ointment for "grief" just to get it all out in one fell swoop because MAN. This is actually awful. I'm so tired of being like this. My dreams are all the same - I'm desperately looking for Cam, can never find him, can never get to him in time. I dream of a huge hotel with all his friends and families with their own rooms and own hotels keys and I KNOW that Cam is about to kill himself in one of the rooms and I'm running around frantically, shouting in the fancy foyer, begging the concierge to get another key for my me to open my brothers room but he doesn't, says it's against the rules. And I have to keep stopping because I'm bleeding everywhere, all over the floor, I have to stop looking for my brother while I bleed and find ways to mop up my blood.

It's always too late. I ALWAYS wake up with a start. Another day. Make some coffee, brekkies, kiss boys, go through the motions.

I need some drawing ointment for the soul is what I need. Get all the gunk out. I'm terrified that this will never end, is this how I will feel for the rest of my life? I don't want to be stuck. I don't want this. I never knew pain like this.

::

This is probably the most favourite photo of me in the world.


Angry and fierce and using my words. I love words. This pic was taken at the state finals for the Word Travels Australian Poetry Slam the other week. I wasn't sure which slam to say because I got a few up my sleeve but I kind of had to do Strong Bones. It's the one I wrote for my brother, about my brother. Hopefully there will be video of it coming soon.

On Sunday morning I woke up feeling crap (SURPRISE!) so I asked Dave for a leave pass from domesticity. Word Travels were holding a bi-lingual poetry slam down at Parramatta "Parramasala" and I just wanted to go in it. Not to win - just go in it, be part of words, be heard. I drove down with a heavy heart. Parked in the shade, and signed up. There were eight poets, and half did their slams in different languages which was AMAZING. A woman did a poem in Hindi about the rapes over in India. I didn't understand her words but I heard her passion and melodic fury underneath them.

It's nerve-wracking, before you go onstage at a slam!


I feel jacked up and excited and so, so in the moment that everything else falls away. Because WORDS. I love them. I love them. It was a knockout slam so the eight went to four went to two. I got all the way to be in the last two, I performed three poems all up in the heat. Sometimes I took the mic out of its holder and strutted that stage like Slim and sometimes I stood there with the wild arm gestures. It depends on the poem and how you feel.


Halfway through the bout I looked down and there was an errant feather from a belly dancer and even though I'm not much for signs anymore, I still took it as a good one.



I hung backstage in the outdoor sauna green room with Omar Musa, a top Australian performer, musician, writer, poet.



As I gradually got through my poems he kind of looked at me differently.

"You're good."

"Thank you. You're fucking amazing."

And I won! The five judges chosen randomly from the crowd all put their scores together and my words got the most numbers. Even though I feel conflicted about poetry being a competition, it did feel good. A beautiful lady presented me with a red sash around my neck and told the crowd that in India, the poets receive a red sash after they perform. I was honoured. And beaming.

Raj Rajpal, Eden Riley, Omar Musa, Rekha Rajvanshi.

Huge props to Miles Merrill from Word Travels for putting gigs on like this. Most people in the audience had never seen a slam before. I think I might be doing a spot for the Word Travels poetry event at the upcoming Newtown Festival in a few weeks. Let's give it up for Newtown!

Afterwards I had to find some shade next to a big tree, digest it. It always comes back - the grief, the pain, the regrets. They keep coming back. Maybe one day they won't? But man.


Every word I speak I speak for my brother all the things he couldn't utter. I've written my whole life but I've decided to become a spoken-word artist because he killed himself. I'll only ever read his suicide note a handful of times because he wrote it when he was in such distress, he wrote it in a moment of time which has now passed, and I will not pore over every word, analyse every little thing. The one thing that kills me the most about what he said is that he has so much love and creativity inside of him but he doesn't know how to get it out.

That's the biggest tragedy I've ever known in my life.

So I want to help him get it out, even though he's dead. I want to honour him by speaking words he couldn't say, do the thinks he didn't think, experiences he'll never have. I ask him to step into this with me, every time. I beg him to help me with this pain.


Way back at the Katoomba heats for the slam in June, I walked into the library that night and for the first time since he died I felt him. I didn't know if it was actually my brain constructing my own incarnation of him in pure desperate hope or if it really was him. It did feel like him, like he was around. OF COURSE the first time he shows up it's at a poetry slam in a library. A classy dude even in death. And since the poem was all about him, for him ... I think he helped me say it. Maybe he's helping me in ways I don't even know yet. Maybe I won't always feel this way. Maybe you get used to your heart being ripped out .... I had to stop looking for you, Cam. I had blood and I had kids and only you had the key. But everything I do from now on, I do it for you.

Last night I went to ANOTHER slam and I thought jeez I have GOT to show my Computer what I've been up to. So I asked a guy to film it for you and he did - it's a bit blurry and shaky but that's ok, so am I. It gets clearer at the end. Doesn't everything? Words are my balm, my drawing ointment, my salve. My grandmother always told me I would be a writer it's true. So here's me last night, performing The Prophet at Caravan Slam, a monthly slam created four years ago by a beautiful woman named Jade. Bad idea on the unattractive lime green t-shirt. But who cares about looks and shaky and sad and whelm. Close your eyes. I wrote it for you.

 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Butterfly Cakes, Painful Books, Hilarious Poo.

You know when you have more than one kid and you notice that one of them needs extra loving, an extra something? Rocco was not himself, down in the dumps, tired and a bit ... over it all.

I walked past a bakery the other day and thought to myself, "Oh my god I don't believe Rocco has ever eaten a butterfly cake!" I bought three - one each and one for spare because you just never know.

When he came home from school I told him I had a surprise for him, something he's NEVER had before and to wait inside while I set it up. He was SO excited.

I set up a picnic in the neighbours backyard because our yard was full of weeds and dog poo and the neighbours are never home. It's their holiday house, every week religiously a maintenance crew come and mow and weed and do all the stuff.


He wanted to eat one STRAIGHT away but I had to tell him a story first. Hearing his silent groan, I pressed on regardless.

"WELL sweetheart, one day I had 10c for the cake stall at school. I think I was in year one too, just like you. At lunchtime we walked round the hall and could buy whatever cake we liked. I already knew I was going to get two toffees for 5c each but I walked up to a table and Rocco - on that table were the most amazing little cakes. I'd NEVER seen one in my life, they were cupcakes but had cream in them with these two bits of cake sticking out, see? The lady told me they were butterfly cakes. BUTTERFLY CAKES. IN THE SHAPE OF A BUTTERFLY. I bought just one, because they were 10c. It was one of the best things that had ever happened to me in my life."

So me and Rocco sat there on the blanket, eating butterfly cakes together. Later he told me he thought "the surprise" was a new video game or Lego or something. Our cakes were chocolate with real cream. They were beautiful. Butterfly cakes will always be magical to me.


Last night he was really tired and had to go to bed early. So I told him to pick a book. He went to the shelf and randomly picked When The Wind Changed.


I told him I didn't feel like reading that book can he please pick another book?

"But why can't we read this, mum?"

I told him I just didn't feel like it. The real answer is, I stole this book from my brothers bookshelf when he was about 14, growing up and growing out of all of his toys, losing his sense of wonder and joy in the world. Losing his little boyness. All kids go through it. But I pinched this book from him, to always remind me of the times I'd read it to him in bed and we'd laugh so, so hard, pulling the worst faces we could possibly pull.

And now on an even deeper level, I believe my brother thought he was stuck and the wind changed and that he would never get back to being "himself" again, or feeling joy, love. So he left.

I didn't explain that to my six-year old. I just chose another book - one from the entire collection of Mr Men books that Max proudly owns.


Yeah. I should have twigged from the title that this wasn't going to be such a great read. It wasn't.





I read the entire book to Rocco, grabbing tight the frame of his bunk and then my trick of digging my nails into the palm of my hand so hard it hurt so bad but it still didn't hurt more than reading that book. I read that book in an even voice, with all the right inflections.

When The Wind Changed would have been an easier read. Of course I knew some magic crap would happen to make Mr Nobody better OF COURSE.


The Wizard! Of course the Wizard had some special potion but I still don't understand his logic. By the end of the book, Mr Nobody chose a colour to be (yellow) and turned into a somebody. Of course. Like it's that easy.


I kissed Rocco goodnight VERY quickly. He had utterly no idea. "NITE MUM LOVE YOU."

Came straight out to throw Mr Nobody in the fire. It lit up so quick, even crackled and popped, gone within seconds. Quite the show, for a nobody.



Sometimes no matter how hard they try and fight, not everybody ends up to be a somebody. Life is unfair like that.

So now Max has the whole Mr Men collection minus one.

This morning, Rocco and I made poo from play dough. The beautiful @deenapoteet sent me an ENTIRE box of goodies all the way from the dirty south - Texas.



Complete with CORN KERNEL MOLDS to make your poo look even more realistic. Rocco laughed, hard. Mushed the corn in and VOILA!


I PROMISED to leave it there all day, to trick Max and Dave when they get home.

Poo. Poo is the way to a boys heart. Rocco most likely won't remember the time I told him about the day I discovered butterfly cakes but he sure will remember gleefully making that poo this morning.



Monday, 20 October 2014

"Your Brother Killed Himself. That Is So Bullshit."

I'm not the only person in the world who has lost somebody very close to them . I am not the only person in the world who has been touched, deeply, awfully by suicide. I'm not the only one to think:

"How can I possibly get through this day? What does anything MEAN?"

There are a lot of hurting people out there and just because I write about my hurt does not make me any more special or unique than anyone else. The sad thing I know for a fact - because it's already started happening - is that people in profound, shocking grief are googling certain phrases and ending up on my blog and emailing me. Because a person close to them has died - from different deaths, not always suicide.

"Grief" is quite an unobtrusive word, really. I was having a bit of an argument with my husband last week and I told him that he is LUCKY to not know such a grief that threatens to destroy him. My family has taken a huge hit, my boys affected very much, my marriage has suffered greatly because to be honest I wasn't going all that well even BEFORE my brother took his own life.

Cam took himself far far away from here. Further than the eye can see, further than the heart can stand. (The heart can't stand.)

So it's the month of his death - October. Or as Beth from BabyMac so succinctly renamed it: "#fucktober." Which sounds suspiciously similar to "fucked over" which is exactly how I feel. Some people have been sending me gifts and I feel so deeply embarrassed about it because everybody should receive such kindness. Gosh I'm thankful. I have put every gift back into its parcel cover and started to write out thank-yous to everybody who has left their return address. It's like grief wedding presents. Somebody on my Facebook yesterday saw my comment about feeling overwhelmed about it and she told me to show what I have been given, to show other people that true kindness really does exist.

It really does.

On the weekend I received a gift so incredibly astoundingly shocking and awesome, I had to show you.

It's just a cake. Given to me by Reannon from She Who Rambles. 



So, to the people before me in this horrible journey I thank you for lighting my way. I'm looking straight at you, fiend Megan. I can see you guys getting through, up there in the distance. And to the people behind me god I am so sorry. Use my words like breadcrumbs. I don't know how you're going to get through because I don't know how I'm going to get through but at least we can all not know together.

Thank you. So, so much.

Eden with a big E xx

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The First Annual International Lip Synch Awards. It's Like Air Guitar, But With Your Mouth.

At 2.16pm a year ago I text my brother Cameron saying "Hey Cam, how are you going today? Xx"

I didn't know he'd spent the whole weekend packing up all of his belongings, sorting, giving stuff to Vinnies, destroying his laptop, deactivating his Facebook account, getting a tarp ready in case he shit himself when he killed himself. That still makes me annoyed - just die on your bed, Cam. Shit your bed - it's your bed. You paid for it. I didn't know that by the time I sent my text he had been dead all day long and was already in a bodybag in the fridge in the morgue.

"How are you going today? Xx"

Cam had a really good bed, he got it specially made and it cost a bomb. One of my sons sleeps on Cams bed now. My husband Dave wanted to take the bed to the beach house for us to sleep in, not quite understanding that I didn't really want to sleep on the bed my brother lay awake making all his suicide plans in. Fucked his last girlfriend in. Hated the world in. Felt like he failed in.

I can't sleep in my brothers bed. Later today I'll probably go somewhere and smash all his white Ikea plates I ended up with because fuck those beautiful whites plates straight to hell. Aren't objects weird? I went to Newtown police station recently to get Cams suicide note addressed to me. It's mine. But it wasn't there. That's ok. I have the main part of it tattooed on my arm now in his exact handwriting. I stood and gulped air and seriously, almost collapsed like you see in the movies and I said real slow to this hot copper with tattoos:

"Can I just ask you a question? I just need to know just one thing."

But I couldn't get the question out and damn if I am not one of the strongest motherfuckers you would ever meet in life but I could NOT form the question with my mouth! And this cop, god he was kind. He was one of the kindest people I have ever met in my life and finally, finally I talked.

"I just need to know ... when you guys got the call-out, when the fireys went and the ambo and everybody ... did you all have your sirens on?"

And he didn't even stand there and bullshit me. He went and checked and it took AGES to check, like almost ten minutes. He was REALLY CHECKING so that when he came back I knew he was telling me the truth, clinically compassionate.

"According to all the reports - yes. All of the sirens were on, driving to your brothers flat."

And I cried a different cry (there are so, so many kinds of cries) and we looked at each other and I didn't even say a thing, just turned and walked away.

::

So my brother died and it still shocks me. I still don't know how I'm going to make it through. According to unwritten social codes I am "allowed" to cry and grieve today because it is an anniversary, but today is no different to any other day. Except I have learned you can feel annihilated after annihilation, again and again and again. "Grief" is the most strict, the most mean, the most unforgiving teacher in town.

Cameron took his own life. He tried to prepare me but nothing prepared me for this. Nothing I've ever been through even comes close. He had so much to give and offer the world, he would see Henry Rollins EVERY time he was in Australia on tour so he must have felt inspired by that? I know that frustrated feeling inside you, when everything is all balled up and you want to do something but you don't know what and the world is so fucked anyway so why even try?

Cams last name was changed after his dad killed himself and he had a new stepfather and it really confused him, made him question his identity. He told me a few years ago he wanted to change it back to the original but why have the last name of somebody who left you? I get that. I was "supposed" to be a boy to carry on the family name and my real dad was a cock so it was with great glee that I changed my name when I got married, purposely putting my maiden name nowhere near my sons names.

My brother Cameron would fall really, really hard for women. SO HARD. The biggest relationship of his life was with a beautiful woman named Shae. They tried to make it work for so many years. I've been in close contact with a lot of Cams people, lately. The ones he truly loved, the ones who TRULY loved him back. It's hard to love a broken man. There are so many photos of Cam overseas with Shae, she took one of my all-time favourite photos of him. I thanked her, for making Cam SO happy because in this pic I can see the gorgeous, twinkly-eyed little boy I knew years ago. When he was happy. Before the world got him.


The bond I had with my brother is broken because that's what death does. But I'll always love him. I'll wonder what could have been. I'll always cry. I'll always be kind of amazed I can still go on.

He told me once that one day, he wanted to meet a girl who would agree to choose a new last name with him after they got married, start anew. Isn't that beautiful?

He was living with me when he told me this news about wanting to change his name and my god how he wished he never told me. EVERY time I saw him for months afterwards I would literally run over to him before he scampered up to his flat (because he never wanted to bother us much, next door in our big house with our messy family. He always preferred to lock himself away.) I would irritate the UTTER SHIT out of him.

"CAM! I got it - ready? Gunn. CAMERON GUNN. With TWO fucking N's! IT'S PERFECT."

Or I'd tell him Cameron Carvello. Cameron Stone. Cameron Steele. He'd BEG me to shut the fuck up, he hadn't even decided if he'd do it yet. Sometimes I'd drive past and he'd be standing somewhere and I'd yell out my car window:

"CAMERON WONG" and all he did was shake his head and smile that smile, the smile that breaks me when I think of it now. I just wanted to help reinvent himself because lord knows I've reinvented myself over a hundred times by now. Jeez I thought he'd pull through. Huh. He wanted to build his own house. My god he would have made THE MOST beautiful father. He was a caring, kind, smart, hurt, passionate, arrogant, fuckhead, conflicted, sad, overwhelmed, beautiful man.

I take back my permission and understanding, Cam. Come back. This is awful. You have no idea how many people loved you.

If somebody is a well-adjusted member of society then they are sick because society is sick. The whole world is actually sick, but we take it personally and think there's something wrong with US.

THERE ISN'T.

All this talk of suicide prevention and awareness and government funding complete with hashtags for what exactly? How are our views, our help, our understanding of suicide changing? (Look, I'm sure good stuff is coming. I hope so. I'm just a little bitter right now.)

So here's an ode to my brother. To you. Here's to being stupid idiots and not caring. I have been lip-synching songs since I first bought a pink cassette tape called Women of Rock in 1980. Music is integral for us humans. Music and shelter and food and play and connection. Love. That's all it ever was, all it will ever be.

So .... introducing the worlds first International Lip Synch Awards. The judge is my 12 year old son Max. You can enter as many times as you like and here's my entry which basically means nobody else has entered yet SO I'VE ALREADY WON. My six year old said "Oh my gord mum, you are SO going to win this. Good LUCK!!"

And I said thank you my sweetheart. And if Max deems me the best then I WILL win and no correspondence will be entered into. The prize is one thousand dollars cash, coming straight from Cams death insurance money. I don't want my brothers money. I want my brother back. I also want you to enter - you KNOW you want to. On Vimeo, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook ... enter as many times as you like and be as wild and free as you possibly can. Hashtag it #edenland so I can find it. You have exactly one month - that's a lot of time you guys, come on. Hit me with your best shot. My video actually took 42 years to make.

Even just film it for yourself and don't enter because it is quite fun. I'll be showing the entries wherever I can, as they trickle through. If they trickle through, because who can even be bothered, right? What does anything mean? NOTHING. But just know - if you enter, and people see your entry? You will make them smile maybe laugh and they may be feeling suicidal or bereaved by suicide so you're actually helping.

(I'm desperately hoping the roaming robots at YouTube don't take my video down for infringing copyright, but if they do hopefully somebody can help me put it back up in a different format? This means so much to me! I can pay you in death money - I'm serious.)

To repeat - there is only one winner. One thousand dollars. Not every child wins a prize ... I'll never forget the look on the faces of the kids at one of my kids birthday parties when I wrapped just ONE present in the pass-the-parcel. Exactly how it used to be when I was a kid.

Every one of those shocked kids kept looking for their lollipop or small toy. I had to stop the music to explain and my exact words?

"There's only once prize you guys. Life is hard. Sometimes we don't all win."

I don't know what Cam would have made about all the things I've written about him on my blog since his death - it was hard enough writing about him when he was alive. "This is my brother you guys! He has a beautiful heart and he is REALLY suicidal isn't he gorgeous!"

I have only ever tried to honour him, talk about who he was and what a waste it was and to show the unbearable pain left behind in his wake. Wake - ha. That's why they must call it that, after a funeral.

Cam I want you to know you were worth sirens. That ambulances and cop cars and a huge fire truck went racing through the streets of Newtown on this day a year ago, desperate to save you. You didn't believe it my beautiful man but you were worth saving. You were worth EVERYTHING. I miss you so much that I can't breathe. Please let there be an afterlife. Please let me see you again.

I did my video over a period of days back in September, around Cams birthday, before and after I got my tattoo. SO MUCH good stuff is left on the cutting room floor so I'll be entering this competition again oh yes I will. The world NEEDS to see my take-off of Get in the Ring just like the world needs to see you let go. Not care. Be an idiot. And if you don't win the 1k? Does not mean you are not still good at it. Hell I just lost one of the biggest competitions I ever wanted to win! I'll try again next year. Then the year after that. After that. After fucking that so that when I eventually win? I'll grab that microphone with gnarled seventy-year old arthritic hands and literally piss my pants from excitement at being named Australias Slam Poet Champion.

In the meantime I did this BECAUSE YES, I ACTUALLY AM STUPID.



If you look close you can see the EXACT moment in Matt Corby's song "Brother" where the shock of Cams death overwhelmed me. My awesome piano in Lose Yourself. The distress and then rage during Shake It Out. The way I'm trying so hard to let Cam go by nodding during The Parting Glass. I have to let him go, everyday I have to let him go.

If I were to teach anyone anything, it would probably be resilience. So step into this with me, bro.

Let us all be barnacles, motherfuckers.

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Monday, 13 October 2014

She Went To The Poetry Slam Because She Decided To Live Her Life Deliberately.

The most beautiful thing in the past few days was witnessing a huge gust of wind reefing off a veil straight from a brides head during wedding photos on a Sydney pier. For about fifteen seconds that long, white veil flew through the sky just like that plastic bag scene in American Beauty. The bride and bridesmaids were SHRIEKING until it finally landed so gracefully, right in the middle of Sydney Harbour.


Before I got to that point, I had to get the train down to Sydney, change trains, walk amongst throngs of busy people in the middle of the city and NONE of them were my brother. I looked. I look for him everywhere. Just ended up sitting in a cafe having a complete meltdown, listening to Guts Over Fear over and over while I drank a chai and wrote out my poems from scratch on a pad of white unlined paper with a black pen to reassure myself I knew my poems off by heart.

I knew my poems off by heart because they were born in my heart, but one can never be too careful. At this point I didn't care if I won the NSW Final of the Word Travels Poetry Slam - I really did not care. I just want my brother back. It's hard wanting things you can never have. Meeting all of the other poets and organisers on Friday night was truly a privilege. To just even sit in the green room and be all nervous, be part of something, to not know if I was reciting the "right" poem but dammit it was right for me so just do it Eden you've come too far to falter now.

It was a steep learning curve, the ins and outs of "the scene" and the subjective nature of the voting, even though I do love that the five voters are chosen randomly on the night, giving the poetry back to the people so to speak. The utter wankerdom of a specific individual - wow. Purposely psyching people out, except me - I had my foxforce five forcefield up and would not engage. We engaged later and my truth about how much I saw shocked this person, taken aback for only a split second, only as aback as a person loaded with that much arrogance can be taken aback. I had a sore back. If that is how to "win" at things then I will never win. It was a hard wait - twenty poets, all taking turns, all speaking their words. I LOVE WORDS.


I text random photos like this to Dave all night, who was in the audience with some beautiful friends - and it seems, beautiful strangers. "Hon! I'm practicing my poem one more time in the dunny and this is how I feel - as overwhelmed and as full as this garbage can."

And then my name was called, out of the magic hat. Who pulled my name out of the magic hat? My Steve Murphy, one of the most beautiful humans I know who booked his ticket even before I did!

Phenomenally stylish photobomb in the background by the beautiful Styling You ... and thank you Woogsworld for coming too! 

Smiling after I even lost, with Christina from Hair Romance you utter spunk I love you but am actual jealous of all the burgers you and Jim will soon be eating in 'Merica.

And Caroline! And Brooke from Slow Your Home I am SO SORRY for crying on you!

So up I got, on the small stage, the lights were bright which was good because I don't like to look into peoples eyes when I talk about such big things. I did my poem - every single word just so, like I wrote it. I actually can't even remember writing it, all those months ago. But I did it, and I felt people feeling it the same way I wanted them to feel it when I wrote it.


I sat back down to hear my scores - mostly 8's - and I knew I hadn't won. Bitter, bitter tears falling down onto my cowboy boots you stupid idiot don't WANT things and you won't be disappointed! It's just ... all of my energies lately have been focussed on the slam and now? Now I was just unceremoniously dumped straight back into Griefworld.

And Griefworld isn't like Seaworld or Dreamworld. Nobody EVER buys a ticket to Griefworld. There's lots of roller coasters in Griefworld. It has big gates you can't escape, it's not fun, there's a sad gallery of old sepia fading photographs of the people we love, in Griefworld. We have to camp out and live there. You wave at your family, from a distance. Sometimes you can get a leave pass for a day here or there for no reason at all because grief has no logic but mostly, when the people we love the fiercest die? We live in Griefworld for a very, very long time.

An organiser from Alice Springs sat down beside me and I didn't even remember her name at that point but I will never forget her kindness. Laurie May. She rubbed my back! And told me some secrets about slam that made me laugh - she teaches it to kids, she encourages them to write their words, use their voices, that it was more important to be heard than to win. I told her I wasn't crying because I didn't win I just ... really wanted to make the grand final to make my family PROUD and that I missed my BROTHER and this whole past year my family has missed their MOTHER and Laurie May? Well she just kept rubbing my back as my tears dried and told me how incredibly touched she was at my piece and that the whole room felt it and that was enough. And she was right. She told me all the things I tell other bloggers when they get disheartened. She told me things that judges on reality TV shows tell the "losing" contestants.

Competitions are weird.

When it was all over, a woman came up to me and grabbed my hands and thanked me said that she was bereaved from suicide too, her husband took himself away and they had three children and her son was sitting next to her in the audience, tears streaming down his face as he listened to my words so yeah, nah, I didn't "win." But I did something else, whatever that was.

I spoke to a lot of people. Two of my best friends from YEARS ago came to see me but that deserves a post of its own. In the end I just wanted to get out of there so I did, congratulating the winners and scampered off with Dave but we couldn't find the right carpark so we split up to look separately and then I got hit on by two drunk guys - separately - and I felt scared, pissed off that I was scared, sad that I didn't win, and MY CAM IS GONE.

ALL my brain is doing right now is this time last year this time last year so I had to stop looking for the car, sit down under a brightly lit-lampost so my imminent abduction would at least be captured by street cameras, and hope that Dave found the car before the carpark was locked up otherwise we would have had to catch the train home and that really, REALLY would have sucked.

"Have you ever heard the sound of disappointment? It tangles your head like a winter rose. Comes up eager and shining And it likes to leave a scar before it goes." - Eurythmics 

Dave found the car! We drove to Harrys for a dirty street pie because I actually won the bachelor YEARS ago!



The next day was a bit of a nothing day. I wanted nothing. I wanted to want nothing. I hated the whole weekend. I hate this month. I hate some stuff that must be hated. But a beautiful woman sent me a flower garland headpiece which I wore for most of the day for no reason at all and I cut up watermelon and we ate organic blue corn chips in the backyard where the boys set up their own wet'n'wild because the weather is getting warmer, even though a part of me is winter forever.


I am so lucky. I am so lucky. Then Dave explained it beautifully, chomping away.

"Hon." (Chomp) "It's like, you decided to start playing soccer one year and ALL you wanted to do was get to the end to go up against David Beckham and now you're shattered that didn't happen?"

We laughed so, so hard. Because that's just fucking ridiculous. He is so right. There'll be a video of my performance soon which I can put up on my blog, Wordtravels are working as fast as they can to make it all happen.

All that kept popping into my mind - where was Robin Williams Oscar statuette right now? It isn't the hunk of gold that made him amazing - it was how he made me feel, stirred something inside me when I watched Dead Poets Society right after the suicide of my brothers father.

And you know what we did the next day? We took ALL of our beautiful kids down to the Opera House anyway and we watched the grand slam grand final and man, I was so glad to just sit in the audience and not have all that pent-up energy inside me. It's actually quite important for me right now to deal with the hard things that are already in there, needing to come out. I imagined every poet being Cam, telling me all different things, telling the world the words that were inside him that he could never get out and I don't care how delusional that sounds, it was comforting. And if we really ARE all one then it WAS him.

I have something big planned for this blog on Wednesday are you ready you guys? I hope so. And I have something even BIGGER coming up in November so Eden? Settle the fuck down. You can't do all the things.

Max, Me, Tim, Dave, Phoebe-Rose, and soldier Rocco in the front.

I loved how much Phoebe-Rose loved it. I love her. ALL the kids loved it - words. It was all just words. Blown away. The power of our words in a world where so many of us feel so powerless.



I was so proud of them all for coming. In the end, all of the sixteen people up there on stage were good enough to "win."

We ate a seafood dinner and went to the Guylian cafe after for hot chocolate and we laughed and mucked around and it was so late, on a Sunday night.



The saddest thing by far out of everything that happened? A kind person dived in to Sydney Harbour to rescue that brides beautiful long white veil. He swam back with it clenched between his teeth and he was the hero of the whole wedding party and I could not believe how impacted I was. I was so sad! It's not fair that some people get back the things they want. I know that veil probably would have cost 1k in some fancy shop but if I were the bride? I would let it sink and in years to come I would tell bedtime stories to my children about the day daddy and I got married and how the wind blew the veil off and now it sits at the bottom of the ocean and all the fishies swim through it and do pretend weddings and sometimes, on special days? Even the mermaids do too.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Training On A Pale Blue Dot.

Last night Rocco almost broke his nose, whacking it so hard against the back of a wooden chair after Dave called him over to talk to him about drawing on the TV remote control.

Max missed the bus this morning and I didn't handle it very well I CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS TODAY so Dave dealt with it, drove him off. But came back into the house and found me crying in the kitchen I try really hard to let none of them see me cry lately but I was so busted.

"Hon! What happened?!"

"I just can't believe he is dead. I can't breathe - hon, I can't breathe I keep forgetting to draw a breath and when I do it's all panicky. I think it's because Cam took his own breath away."

I didn't tell him the rest - the fucking cicadas are mocking me, all chirping the same thing. About wanting to sneak into Leura main street at midnight wearing a balaclava and chopping every single blossom tree down but that would cause a public outcry and in ten, fifteen years time I'd most likely look at all the stumps and think, wow Eden you should NOT have done that. Maybe I can just shake their beautiful pink blossoms off as quick as I can because how DARE such beauty still come into the world.

I also want to stab flowers.

I killed a bird yesterday. I didn't mean to, for some reason it was under my car and I reversed and felt a bump and later I came home and it was dead, like, I'm a fucking bird murderer now. IT'S NOT MY FAULT DON'T BE UNDER MY CAR I DIDN'T MEAN TO I'M SORRY. It was laying RIGHT at my door, almost stepped on it when I got out of the car. I bolted inside, no way am I dealing with a dead bird. But I kept thinking about him, you know? The blood was so fresh and his claws all scrunched up and his beak open as if saying WHYYYYY and I know exactly what that feels like guyo I really do, I'm so sorry.

So as I keep going directly to the source of pain lately thought I may as well go outside, bend down real close to take a photo.

                         I started to use a filter on the photo but I don't filter death. Or life.

The Eminem/Sia song, coupled with just a few sentences from "The Drama of Being a Child" book my therapist lent me - bang. Just BANG all in one go.

I now know. The biggest source of a lot of my stuff is that for the the first four years of my life, I actually thought I was going to die. My father was a violent alcoholic ... I rattle this of my tongue like do we need milk today?

But to get to the root of the root, to understand how and why I have completely collapsed and been utterly annihilated about my brothers death has meant looking further and into the abyss more than ever before if there is to be any hope for me.

"There is shit that happened that I will never, ever get over. Stuff that cannot be healed."

My therapist leant forward in his chair we were both drinking Mexican cokes from bottles I bought us one each because he'd never had one before ... he leant forward like he does when we nail something, get something right, understand it together.

"No, Eden. Some things can't be healed. They're called scars."

And we just looked at each other. Bang.

"Afraid to make a single sound 
Afraid I would never find a way out, out, out 
Afraid I'd never be found I don't wanna go another round 
An angry man's power will shut you up 
Trip wires fill this house with tiptoed love 
Run out of excuses for everyone 
So here I am and I will not run 
Guts over fear, the time is near 
Guts over fear, I shed a tear 
For all the times I let you push me round 
And let you keep me down, now I've got 
Guts over fear
Guts over fear"

Everything, every little single thing is culminating, circling, maybe there is hope.

Oh man those cicadas are getting louder right now and ALL they are telling me is "your brother's about to die your brother's about to die" and I want to chirp the fuck back YOU'RE ALL ABOUT TO DIE. IN FOUR WEEKS.

Holy shit I just googled "how long does a cicada live" but I accidentally wrote "how long does a cicada love" so now I'm crying I'm so sorry you revolting little cicadas! I'm sorry it's just a hard time for me right now I'm projecting and looking for meaning and sometimes there is none. Just because I killed a bird doesn't mean something bad's going to happen. (My brain just said - yes it does. And my lungs are like - whut is goin' on up there?! And my heart - she is mostly silent, listening.)

Cicadas live underground for SEVENTEEN YEARS AS NYMPHS AND THEN THEY COME UP AND LIVE FOR JUST FOUR WEEKS ABOVE THE GROUND.

Those mothefuckers are onto something.

Anyway, gotta go, almost at the bridge.

I'm catching a train today with my bare hands! I can't wait. I just want to be a train person. Just sit. On a train. Nobody knowing nothing about why I'm on a train or who or what. Just blend in. It'll be cool.

I'll just be on a train. That's enough.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Happy in Spite. Despite.

Hello I have just gone through five long dark nights of the souls away from my family which means I've made emergency icing at midnight when needed.


At first I missed my guys, then I became used to them not being around. Then I got lonely. Then I got LOUD and felt free because when it's 3am and you have severe sleep issues you can just blast music in the middle of the night.

I arranged my poems for this weekends poetry slam. It's funny how at first I so badly wanted to win. Then I just wanted to make it to the grand final for my family to see me on stage at the Opera House in my cowboy boots with my words - Dave and I have bought tickets for everyone even Rocco without knowing if I'll get through yet. My family have seen me at my worst and if there's anything I can teach ALL my kids is that we can get through hard things. (I think I want to show myself that too.) And you! And Cam, even though he's not here anymore it's a bit too late but maybe I can still keep teaching him stuff as much as he's still teaching me stuff. I want to speak the words in his heart he couldn't get them out himself because he didn't stick around to learn the language.

Oh!

It's weird, to admit you want something so bad. Before I did IVF for Rocco I didn't tell a soul, I didn't want anyone to know how badly I wanted another baby. I used to be so private? WHAT HAPPENED?

So anyway my family were away so I could finish my poems and it was something like 4am in the morning as I put the LAST word in place on my third one and I'd done it. They were all arranged just so. So I DID get through. It felt like I'd already won. Now even the chance to talk at the finals this Friday is a huge honour. Whatever happens will happen, whichever way the wind blows on the night.

(But I still want to win.)


When Cam lived with me he started up his own t-shirt company - man I wish I could show you some they were so cool! Anyway so for some dumb reason, every time I was at the shops (in Penrith) I KEPT BUYING HIM A NEW T-SHIRT and he's all, really Eed? And I said I KNOW - I just keep seeing tees that would suit you even though you make your own I'm so sorry?!

And he liked them, and he was fussy! And he wore them, laughing, agreeing that yes, they were actually pretty cool.

I bought him this Apache one and he's looking in the mirror like, fine, I like it. (My goodness I bought him so many tees it was ridiculous. I would buy him anything in the whole world, to make him stay, change, learn, grow.)

Enter angry gardening.


The green bracelet I'm wearing, I bought two - one for me and one for Megan. I call them our "Band of Brothers" bracelets and as I gravely handed hers over, I said "Megan, this cost me TWO DOLLARS. DO NOT LOSE IT." I think of her and her families loss, when I look at it. All they went through, are still going through. We are never alone, even if we might feel it. You don't have to be alone.

Ever gardened so hard your manicure comes off and your fingers bleed, even though you were wearing gloves? Ever been so SO ANGRY at the weeds that were in the veggie patch slowly strangling all the veggies to death right under your nose, you grab at the earth and it's 8pm and you're crying, ripping out ALL of the twisted, knotted root system growing and festering so hard underneath it was all hidden and caused a man to take his life away because the poison roots damaged everything they stole everything good?

(UGH I try and write a light post and this is what happens. I can't help it. I'm dealing as big as I can.)

Anyway so the the morning comes like it always does (NOT always a mourning) and you walk out and feel satisfied and I hope the lettuce takes, I really do.


My friend Beth has created a thing called #fucktober which makes me overwhelmed, grateful, embarrassed. So many people are going through hard things not just me. She wrote a post asking for people to send me something nice or thoughtful or uplifting in the moment of October because I just want to cancel October off the calendar forever but I can't. First anniversaries of the loss of our loved people are so hard, aren't they? Especially the build-up to a suicide. I've already received things in the mail from people that have just made me sit down and weep from the kindness. The gifts, the handwritten notes. They keep coming - to Daves PO Box addressed with hashtag #fucktober so Dave had to explain to his awesome office assistant Elisa about certain weird mail that may be coming through and it's for me and she didn't bat an eyelid. (OMG LOOK AT THE LAST MEMBER OF DAVES TEAM ON HIS WEBSITE!)


I told BabyMac the other day that she should change her profile pic to this because it's so her, cheeky and in her kitchen with her colourful things behind. SO SHE DID. Straight away. She has a huge heart. Thank you so much to the people who have posted me things to brighten my day and thank you, Beth. If only everybody could have parcels in their letterbox, every day! How cool would that be, little pick-me-ups when we need them the most. Thank you, so much.

I've printed off dozens of copies of my favourite photo of Cam and me together as thank you cards. At first I thought. "Don't do that. Who wants a pic of a dead guy?" And then I thought, it's a beautiful photo. And the thank you is from me AND Cam, I think, hope he can see what's going on and he's grateful to you.  Two people have told me in the past week "Eden, it's hard for Cam to see you so distressed."

I love when people just tell me shit like that. Of course my first thought was ugly "Oh, it's hard for CAM? Orly tell me more about THINGS BEING HARD." Then I thought I'm glad he knows how distressed I am because oh god I am. And so he might know just how much I did not want him to go. How much I love him. I was driving yesterday eating hot spicy peas like a motherfucker without a care in the world but I couldn't swallow them because I realised again, for the 24679th time ... my BROTHER IS DEAD? How can I eat? I almost had to pull the car over. It took me while, to swallow those peas down. I feel bad for getting on with my life but I have to. He wants me to. When he was born I swore I'd protect him and I used to sit outside his bedroom door when he was a baby because we lived in a fancy house and I thought he'd get kidnapped for ransom and the thought of him being kidnapped, taken away from me, was terrifying.

But Cam was not "mine" to be taken away from. Nobody belongs to anybody, not really.

My family eventually came back and the plate scrubber I bought while they were away?


MY BOYS ARE FIGHTING OVER WHO GETS TO DO THE DISHES WHY DID I NOT THINK OF THIS BEFORE. It's fancy because you put the detergent IN the thingo. Best four bucks spent EVER.

Rocco is back at school. I got him there late this morning, seriously. First day back.

Max is banned from everything until he has finished his book report he's had all holidays to do. He goes back tomorrow.


Sometimes I RUN into his room and scare the crap out of him just so he knows I am ALWAYS onto him.



I used to do the same to Tim. Something tells me when I do it to Rocco - well, it's just going to be interesting. So I run in, scare the hell out of Max and looked at the computer screen of the GUNS HE WAS GOOGLING.

"DUDE!"

"No - mum - it's for my report! This book is one in a series called the Henderson's Boys and it's about these kids who become spies and the book is set in the war so I want a gun on either side of the title, see?"

I saw. Impressive.

"Fine. I'll let you get away with it this time ALWAYS WATCHING WAZOWSKI." And backed out of the room.

He leaves things to the last minute, just like me. I feel his frustration because it's a really nice day. I told him I'd help him - "It's English! My thing! Not like maths or science. Help me, help you!"

He asks what a conjunction is. I google. "In grammar, a conjunction is a part of speech that connects words, sentences, phrases or clauses. A discourse connective is a conjunction joining sentences. In general, a conjunction is an invariable grammatical particle, and it may or may not stand between the items it conjoins."

I have no idea what that means.

"Um, ok dude so good luck. Let me know if you want me to make you smoothie? I love you."

PS I accidentally wrote "moment" of October instead of "month" of October. I like it. I'm keeping it in. FUCK OCTOBER. It's just a moment. Soon it'll be December again and everyone will have lame tinsel up. #fucktober

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