Thursday, 20 November 2014

Missing Things That Are Right In Front Of My Face.

Hi how you doing? I'm kind of semi-decent ok, a bit. Bought a HUGE breadstick, like, massive.


Slow cooked some chilli con carne all day with kidney AND butter beans, bought some imported American dogs.




Served it with a kale and chilli salad UGH I wanted to punch it it was so good.

In two sleeps I'll be casually jetting out of the country to fly to Uganda. I've half-packed. Most of the preparation for this trip has been mentally. I've been to Africa for World Vision before. But I've never been after three hospitalisations and a dead brother. My mental health has been incredibly fragile for a while now - thing is, I'd go on this trip even if I knew I shouldn't, because I have this ability to just really PUSH myself to do things. But, I'm good to go! I'm ok about it, even excited. It feels like I have a special mission. I kind of have - so while mainstream keeps us all abreast of Kim Karadshians Krispy Kreme behind, I'll be travelling to a country I've never been before to write the stories of people whose stories need to be told. I am so lucky, and humbled, and grateful.

You know what else I am? STRONG. I took the garbage outside to the bin yesterday and as I walked back to the house I walked toughly. "I'm strong," thought to myself. "I'M STRONG."

I miss my boys already and haven't even left yet. I'm going to miss them SO MUCH. I cuddle them so much and already miss them and their standing right in front of me! I'm a strong sentimental fool.


I took this photo after Dave bought me peonies and Rocco was banging on and on about Minecraft and I withered a bit inside. I've already BEEN through the litany of hearing all about Minecraft with Max, and now I have to do it again? But I stopped, knelt on the floor, and he told me about his tools and building his house and the creepers and I listened and listened and listened, to every beautiful little word coming out of his mouth.

My boys walk the earth not even doubting they are loved.

I'm going to miss watching Walking Dead with Max HOW GOOD IS THIS SEASON!!! Best ever. I didn't have the heart to correct his spelling.


I know the difference between strong grief and being completely unable to function because of dark depression so I thought, before I go to Africa, and for the good of me AND my family - get some help.



video

If you need help just get it, in any way, shape or form. There are so many places now, so much good stuff out there. I know life is hard LIFE IS RIDICULOUS AND STUPID but it doesn't go on forever! Phew!


I'm not into Christmas this year AT ALL. Mostly I walk the earth angrily, hate strangers, hate everything. Then I saw tree in the shop - a black Christmas tree. Think I'll buy it.

"I'm dreaming of a black, Christmaaaaaaas."

Ok there IS a winner in my lip-synch competition She is incredible. You will completely agree ... but I have no way of contacting her! Mel, (yes you!) you sent me through a You Tube video of somebody absolutely beautiful whose name begins with G - email me! edenriley@gmail.com

Anyway so that's where I'm at. Things are hard. I'm grateful. I'm doing a big thing I wasn't sure I could do but I'm doing it on behalf of me, my brother, and everybody who struggles. Because a person like me who has done the things I've done in life was never really meant to end up doing inspirational things that could possibly help anybody. I'm not even sure how it happened, it just did.

I've got so much to live for, Computer. For example, I need to learn every lyric of this song that Daniel Radcliffe rapped on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Harry Potter likes complicated lyrics? Isn't Harry Potter just supposed to be Harry Potter forever? No. People change. People can do anything? Yes.  Any goddamn thing. I have watched this SO many times, for some reason it's incredibly comforting.




Hope you're ok out there, fighting the good fight. Be gentle on yourself.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Requiem For A Brother.

Hey Cam so it's been a year now. I think it's time somebody wrote you a eulogy don't you think? And there's nobody more qualified than me to write it so step into this with me, brother.

I'm not writing about ABOUT you, I'm writing it TO you. I like being unconventional and there was nothing really "right" about your death anyway so let's just break some more rules.



Somebody told me the other day to "cherish the happy memories with you." But there wasn't really a whole lot I mean, let's be honest here my beautiful sweetheart man. You were pretty miserable. But it wasn't always that way.

You were born on a Friday. That's a cool day to be born, everybody loves Friday. You were born on the day of the Titan II Missile Explosion over in Arkansas, when somebody accidentally dropped a socket wrench onto a missile in a silo that sent it careening into the air landing next to a nearby road. Luckily, the nuclear weapon didn't go off. I bet you didn't know that happened, did you? I bet you didn't. And you always thought you knew EVERYTHING. So annoying, Cam. Nobody knows everything. Nobody!

So you developed this really bad case of jaundice after you were born and had to go under these special light things wearing SUNGLASSES. Three days old, chilling back without a care in the world like you were sunbathing on the goddamn beach pass me the suntan lotion, mofos!

I know you know how much I loved you. You were so eloquent in your final note. "I love you Eden and I love that your concern for me has been an ongoing endeavour for you since I was born."


Endeavour. I looked it up. It means "try hard to do or achieve something." Even your suicide note had care in it. You didn't just write "THANKS FOR NOTHING ARSEHOLES." You articulated everything you were feeling and going through.

You casually toss the word "endeavour" in there because that's the kind of guy you were. 

So many scumbags walk the earth and you're gone. It's not fair. I'm glad you know how much I love, will always love you. But it wasn't enough. What would have been enough, sweetheart? Therapy? Medication? Having a kid? Money? If you had a million dollars would you have stayed? You needed more love and I am so, so sorry the world was too hard for you. Sometimes I wish I could be angry at you but mostly I just cry. I just cry.

You were a DELIGHT as a child, though you chucked a pretty mean tantrum. Spoilt rotten, really. You were this blonde little guy, running around the house, unaware of the dramas and mechanisms and goings-on. I used to watch you and marvel at your magic at just being able to just be. I often felt unease, wondering what would happen when you grew up. I had bad nightmares back then - so did you. "Night terrors" they were called, and you would scream and cry and shake and still be asleep. It was awful, not being able to help you. Sometimes you'd just wake up like normal in the middle of the night and cry because you lost your dummy and I'd RUN in to get it for you, make sure you were ok and tucked in.

You called motorbikes "molorbikes." You never grew out of your lisp. You had a Greyskull Castle with a microphone that turned your voice into Skeletor, along with matching He-Man and She-ra figurines. I played with it so much you banned me. I used to push you up to Mt Riverview shops in the pram, fussed over you, got you anything you wanted. I just wanted you to be ok. It's all I ever wanted.

I taught you how to write your name. Just a simple "Cam." Years later, that's the only name I put for you on your memorial card. You were conflicted about your last name/s. Your dad killed himself when you were eight years old and we'd just moved back from England. You were in year three and we found out in the morning but you were already at school, so you stayed at school all day, not knowing. I felt sick because as soon as you arrived home your life was going to change forever. I sat behind you as you were told and your face fell, it fell. That night I gave you a bath and said, "Maybe, let's just pretend that dad went on a big business trip to heaven." And you just shook your head, no. You loved your dad. You were told he died in a car accident. Then about a year later you got told the truth.

You never got over it. Some things in life we can't get over. We learn to live with them or they kill us.

I moved out of home as soon as I could. You know why. You were diagnosed with depression at the age of eleven. I was working at Jetset Travel when I found out and asked the manager if I could possibly take you on a holiday, maybe to Queensland? She said no. I can't remember helping you out much. My biggest regret is not being "together" enough to be your refuge, a proper one, during such formative and hard years. You met a whole bunch of friends at school. You grew up. Every time I saw you you were bigger, always slightly more withdrawn but I could always draw you out, you fucking hermit crab.

You think you're the only one who suffered, who hates life? No. there's a whole host of us, hating it all but doing it anyway. I'm not angry at you - it would be easier if I was. But I love you unconditionally and your death doesn't change that.

You were SMART. And a science geek. And funny, oh your wit. It's funny how short your dad was and how tall you were -  you would have towered over him if he'd lived. Your dad wasn't even all that great. Bit of an arsehole, really. He'd berate waitresses. He was "new money" and had the Ferrari and racehorses to prove it. Wanker. He was half the man you were. I've had so many emails since you died from almost all of the main women in your life, being generous with me. Sharing what they could. They all tell me about your beautiful heart and compassion, but I already knew that.

Remember that time I made you watch Neverending Story and said you'd love it and then when the horse died in the mud you sobbed and sobbed and made me turn the video off? You were about six years old. Both of my sons since then have seen that film and I braced myself twice for that scene for them to have the same reaction as you. But they didn't.

You had an extraordinarily compassionate and sensitive heart. You should never have done menial labour or worked in the mines. Your unrealised potential and happiness slays me. Your sense of unworthiness, your deep sadness, the light that had gone out of your eyes for so many years. I saw how hard you fought, to stay, Cam. I saw you. And when we were together I could see that twinkle back in your eye, because being around you made me feel like I could just be me. So you being you and me being me? Just a brother and sister, loving each other, shooting the shit. A part of me has gone with you in your death. I can never be who I was with you to anybody else, nobody comes close to who you were to me. There are no other Cams. Thank you for confiding in me. Thank you for the three-hour long phonecalls. When I saw your name come up on my phone I had to quickly usher my boys to do something because I knew it usually meant I was in for a long one. You'd always apologise but it's ok, it's what older siblings are supposed to do.

Most of the time you called me when you were really down, lost, hurting. I'm so glad you had me and my love. I gave everything I could to you my brother - everything. You were never "happy" unless you were in the throes of the beginnings of a heady new relationship. You always thought having a woman could save you but guess what I've learnt in the most excruciating way possible? Nobody can save anybody.

I love that you came to me when you needed me, that you lived with me for those years. I'm grateful to Dave for sometimes helping you out financially, I told him that I needed him to treat you with the same love and care that I treat his children. He did. He tried, too.



I asked my very kind local GP if he thought there was some kind of "suicidal gene." He said there probably was something of that ilk. You and I both got it, Cam. I'm still here fighting for both of us. You didn't give up, it just got too much. I completely understand and I'm so grateful to you for letting me in but wow - I thought I knew pain before you died. I had no idea.

I see you constantly, I often slow down my car because is that you just right there walking on the street? And then I realise it's actually an Asian guy with a loping walk and moustache but if I squint hard for a second it COULD have been you. Cars often beep me. I'm all just wait I'm trying to ascertain if my brother faked his death and had a pretend spongey body in the morgue GOSH.

You had so much love in you - and creativity, and passion, and words, and a future. You just couldn't get it out. You got stuck, and now planet earth has lived one entire year without you. You had untapped beauty in you, amazing depth and intellect. YOU WERE GLORIOUS. I know you pushed me away on purpose that last weekend. I know why you wouldn't let me know your address.



About six months after you died I walked into the petrol station to pay for some fuel and With or Without You was playing loudly on the radio. I literally stopped in my tracks. Not dead in my tracks like you, but I stopped walking and just stood there with my face towards the corner wanting to crumple up like I so often do when I'm home alone and I think I felt you, a little bit. I wasn't sure. I stood there for the rest of the song and at one point asked aloud, "Cam?"

You never answer. Can you hear me all the times I yell at you, randomly?

"YOU THINK I WANT TO LIVE THIS LIFE CAM?" 
"YOU SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN HELP THE WHOLE WORLD IS ON ANTI-DEPRESSANTS IT'S NOT THAT HAAAAARD." 
"I DON'T WANT YOUR WHITE CHAIRS ANYMORE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SIT IN THEM? THEN NEITHER DO I."

Can you see my annihilation and does it make you feel bad? Where are you? Nobody knows. People got theories, but nobody really knows where our people go.

After I paid for the petrol that day I got back in the car and Max asked me what took me so long. I was about to lie but thought I may as well tell the truth.

"Well mate, a U2 song was playing on the radio and I couldn't be sure but it FELT like Uncle Cam was there. So I had to wait until the song finished, sorry."

Suddenly Mr Six-Year old Rocco pipes up from the back seat (oh these boys have seen their mother in a hard, hard place this year)

"Oh yeah it was totally Uncle Cam mum. He's actually sitting next to me right now. Do you want some of my Sprite, Uncle Cam?" And Rocco turned his straw to give his dead uncle a sip of his drink as I watched in horror and fascination in the rear-view mirror. Rocco then put his arm around Uncle Cam.

"It's good to see you again Uncle Cam. We've missed you."

For the entire two-hour trip, Rocco talked to Uncle Cam. Asked him about the cat Cam loved when he was a boy. He shared his chips with him, and told me that Uncle Cam sleeps on his top bunk every night.

"Does he, darling."

"Yeah! He really actually does. And you know what else mum?"

I asked what.

"Uncle Cam doesn't need to wear a seatbelt because he's already dead."

At that point, Max and I lost it. Laughing so, so hard. It was ... horrendously dark but man, these guys have seen so much of my pain even though I shield them from most of it.

Rocco still swears blind it was you in the car that day. He said you only sometimes sleep in his bunk, now. I have a feeling he's only just saying this to make me feel better. The other week he asked if Santa could make Uncle Cam back alive again, and when I said no he just shrugged and said ok he'd like a Playstation instead.



I grieved you even when you were alive, Cam. I grieved the innocent boy you were, the sad and lonely man you ended up being. God I love you with my entire everything. You have broken me. I'll never be the same again. I have to build myself all over again AGAIN. It always annoyed me that your Facebook profile pic was McNulty from the Wire. I wish you could have owned yourself more. Stood up and realised what was actually true and real in the world and what wasn't.

I walked past the birthday card aisle yesterday and it said BROTHER and I thought oh crap, I missed Cams birthday! But I didn't - you did. You know what comforts me? I didn't send you a birthday present for your birthday last year. If I knew that was going to be your last birthday - well, a huge part of me thinks that I would have MADE SURE it wouldn't have been your last birthday.

But it was your last birthday. I'll never buy a "brother" birthday card again. I bent over my trolley, in physical pain at the loss of you.

I witnessed the whole life of a man, for thirty-three years. I loved a man as much as I could - which was a LOT. I'm going to Africa again because of you. I'll try keep going because of you. I hug Rocco and close my eyes and pretend it's you and maybe it is, maybe for one split-second you can enter his body and feel the real physical love again. You were my very first, my very favourite guyo. You deserved more than you received.

The thought of you being at peace now is supposed to comfort me but it doesn't. I can't believe you're dead, like you are TOTALLY DEAD NOW. It's excruciating, unfathomable. You would have totally loved Matthew Mcconaughey's character in True Detective. LOVED. I watched it for the both of us. I do that a lot.


Hey guess what it's really, really hard to write a eulogy for somebody who takes their own life. You were born, you did some stuff, you died. Where'd you take your life, anyway? I know you would tell me if you could. Maybe you're not allowed. Maybe there's rules. Maybe there's nothing. There's no more you and no more us. Just a whole lot of pain and guilt and regret. Maybe that will fade. Lately it's getting worse. Are you a bird now? A stupid angel? Did you get born again with a father who will dote on you for your entire new life? Are you in the sky? Why do coal trains make me feel better? Do you know I would raise six million dollars on a kickstarter campaign to get you back? Give a kidney? Both my legs? You could wheel me around and we'd STILL argue about who had the best pants-shitting story. You died on a Tuesday. Now I know why I always hated Tuesdays. They're nothing days.

In a lot of ways, your death has set me free. I am so sorry about that. Thank you. Somebody sent me a teddy bear and I only just noticed on the back are the words "Cam is still teaching you."

You are the biggest teacher my life will ever know. I miss you so much I can't breathe. I don't want to do life without you but my choices are limited here and I got kids. I need you to know I will never let you go, you always belonged with me and that I hope I see you again. Jeez that'd be a good reunion. I'd like that.



I'm so sorry. I love you so much. A lot of people did. I'm proud of everything you achieved in your life despite the odds. You just had to realise you already had wings, to know that you could have flown. You could have. I know you could have. But I understand everything and I'm still here for you if you ever need me. I need you a lot - more than you'll ever know. I hope it was peaceful. I hope it was quick. I wish you didn't go. I'm all brokeded up Bam Bam and if there's any way you could help me through I'd really appreciate it.

Somebody told me that we are a love story.

And love stories never end.




This is a shit eulogy but that's ok. I'll be eulogising you for the rest of my life.


Friday, 14 November 2014

Tonight Show U2 Lip Sync (And She Danced)

So Jimmy Fallon is running a U2 lip-sync competition which would be sacrilegious for me not to enter. The band will be on the Tonight Show next week and the producers will pick some snippets of people doing lip-synch entries. You need to film yourself lip-synching to The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) - the first song from their new album WHICH THEY GAVE AWAY HOW DARE THEY

It would be fun to see myself in the final mash-up. I'm in with a chance. But I gotta say, even if I'm not picked?

I can still dance!




And I'll be listening to them in my earphones when I travel to Uganda next week for World Vision. Those four guys always know how to spur me on.


On Handing Over The Microphone.

So a few years ago Michael Buble's in the middle of a concert somewhere and this slightly tipsy woman kind of just stands there by the stage, trying to talk to him. She's telling him about her son Sam and what a good singer he is and he's only fifteen years old.

Michael Buble humours her, calls her crazy woman, sits down in front of her a tad frustrated.

I know I've shown this on my blog before but I keep a heap of stuff in my favourites tab and look at them every now and then. Stuff to make me smile, make me feel something other than what I'm feeling. I made Dave watch it the other night and he said "Haven't we already seen this hon?" and I'm all "YES but LOOK at how generous Michael is, sitting down, listening to the lady, and then getting her son Sam up to sing. It's just so cool!"

So Michael Buble - right in the middle of one of his concerts - gets some random kid up on stage and offers him the chance to sing. To a lot of people. What a gift! Thing is, Michael had NO idea what was going to come out of this guys mouth. He was probably already rehearsing things to say after the kid cracked out some warbly tune. I just love the exact moment he very tentatively and with GREAT trepidation hands the microphone over to Sam. Just that one moment of oh god holy crap how is this going to turn out? The not knowing, but doing it anyway.



And then this happens.



I love how Sam got dressed that night, lined up, walked into the theatre, sat down ready for the concert, not knowing what was about to happen to him. I love his mothers belief in him, and I love how Michael Buble was SO generous and took a risk.

We need to take more risks. Who tells their kids to "Take more risks today sweetheart?" as they walk out the front door? No. We tell them to be careful, to watch out, to play by the rules and not rock the boat.

Rock the boat. Do things, say things, rattle the cage and speak up. I want my kids to KNOW that they can change the world. (Just as soon as I can get them to make their beds in the morning.)

::

I have been overwhelmed with love and kindness shown to me in the past month, had to do therapy around not feeling like I deserve love and being very uncomfortable when it is given to me. The other night as I went off to sleep I had this random thought .... "imagine what it would feel like to love myself?" I bet life would be a whole lot easier. I'm trying. It's trying. Keep crying.

Thank you for your gifts and letters and emails, to get me through my brother Cams very first suicide deathaversary. Just when I think it's all going to be ok, it's not ok. And it all starts up again, but different. And when I realise I'll never be really ok again? Yeah. Gotta owie. Thank you Beth for organising such love.

So there are two days left to enter my Lip-Synch Awards. Just like when I sit down to open a hand-written letter or open a present - when I see somebody has bothered to do a lip-synch for me, for them, for Cam? All of the cries, all of them. Entries close midnight 15th November do you want a thousand dollars or not? My 12-year old son Max is judging. Winner announced next week. I've even had some 15-second entries on Instagram. So cool. I tried so hard, for so many years, to help Cam get out of the past he was stuck in, to be the person he was all along because being yourself is SO FREEING.

So. Be daring. Who really cares about what you do anyway - nobody. They're all too busy being self-obsessed and one day we'll all be dead and this will all fade away but in the meantime?

There's moments like this.


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Ahmed.

I went to Newtown the other day and pretty much hated it. I did three pieces, got cheers, a few walk-outs. Got supported and loved by Dave, but the real reason I trudged around Newtown and breathed in breath that my brother had expelled there over the years? Was to meet Hassan.

Dave was sitting on the grass with Opie right before I was about to hit the stage with Strong Bones, a HUGE piece about the suicide of my brother and I was freaking, looking around at the people sitting on the grass not knowing what they were about to hear on such a nice day. Stop talking and death and pain Eden, you're too grievey!

"Hon! I'm embarrassed! I'm about to talk about death and ash and desolation!"

Dave just says "Hon, you'll be fine. It'll be good for people to hear some real stuff."

So I walked over through the gate and this security guard with a bright yellow high-vis vest on clocks me and just starts dancing. It was impolite to not join in, so I walk straight up and start dancing back. He LAUGHS and then stops, grabbing his knee.

"What's wrong with your knee?"

He looks up at me.

"Age. Old. Too old to dance now."

And I tell him something that was pretty trite and as soon as I said it I thought, really Eden?

"Well, some people never make it to too old."

He looks at me. Grabs me, says I tell you something and man do I love it when people need to tell me something. He says to me,

"My son die last year. My life? IS FUCKING OVER."

And I look at him - in him.

"My brother - he die last year. MY LIFE? IS FUCKING OVER."

And when I was supposed to be spending the next twenty minutes practicing and gearing up to perform I talked the biggest talk with this guy, this dancing man called Hassan. His only son died in a motorbike accident last February. He showed me a photo - a beautiful 20-year old young man, gone.

"What's your sons name?"

"Ahmed."

"Is that A.H.M.E.D.?"

"Yes! You good fucking speller! My son - he good boy never trouble NO TROUBLE! He never even say fucking! My life - OVER."

I tell him about Cam, only a little bit because Hassan? All he wanted to talk about was his son so I listened, and listened. I'm a good listener. Shit at housework, patience, long queues. But I am one HELL of a listener.

He told me about the last time he said goodbye to his son but didn't know it would be the last time. That the cops knocked on the door at 2am but the accident happened at 8pm.

"Why? Why all that time it took to knock?"

Hassan stood on the grass and re-enacted his actions after the police left telling him his son was dead, how he walked into Ahmeds room not believing it and he just looks me straight into the eyes with the exact same pain I feel every moment.

"He not in his bed. He gone. He gone forever. My good boy. My life over."

So Hassan's there, in his high-vis vest, working a shift at a festival that's probably boring him shitless but somehow getting up in the morning. A new security guy came up and told Hassan he had to go to another stage now and I asked to take a photo together because I always want to remember him. I told him I wished he could hear my poem.



I love Hassan. I love how he started dancing so I danced back and this whole exchange happened and we got a snippet to share our pain.

Halfway through performing my piece I look down and there he was, staring up at me with emotion and I spoke straight to him. And I spoke straight to all the other people who had their hearts open enough to listen.

After I finished the lead singer of the band behind me just grabbed me and hugged me and told me "that was fucking awesome." Such a nice thing for him to do.

I walked down the stairs straight over to Hassan and hugged him tight and kissed him on the cheek. We were kind of both too choked up to talk but he told me he liked my poem. I told him I'm so glad to have met him.

I hate Newtown. I told Newtown I hated Newtown in my third piece which I'm SO embarrassed about now but it's done, never to be said again in that incarnation. I'll take a few sentences from it and drop it in other things but it was too long, I hadn't edited it properly because it hurt too much to go into google docs and look at the pain on the page. It was a rage against the town I was performing in. Dave filmed me and he said at one point he thought people might start heckling me but they didn't - I made sure to tell the people it wasn't THEM I hated, just the town. Newtown stole from me. I will never forgive it .

My friend Vee took this photo and didn't even realise it was Dave filming me until she recognised his tattoos! We both had husbands with cancer. Her husband died. Mine didn't. It was emotional to introduce them. Me and and Vee snuck into Nepean Hospital a few years ago like ninjas and put up her husbands artwork in the cancer ward. I read that blog post out at BlogHer in San Diego in 2011 - people still talk to me about it. According to recent reports, Alex's art is still there. I love you Vee. 

Dave almost dropped the camera when I read the line "Who am I going to talk about choads with?" We wondered if anybody listening knew what a choad was. I didn't, until Cam told me. Oh god that moment Cam told me the  word "choad" existed, after I told him a particularly unsavoury story? That was one funny, funny moment. Sometimes I'd just text him one word - "Choad." He'd text back - "Yep. Choad."

Those were good times, sharing things with him. I always told him to never kill himself because he'd miss the ending, now look what he's gone and done.

He's missed the fucking ending to his own life.

About an hour ago my friend Megan sent me through a link to THE BEST THING I have ever read in my life. I remember skimming it months ago but today? It got me. I got it. My goodness. The most powerful, liberating, extraordinary piece of writing.

"If everyone felt, honoured, respected and trusted their true feelings, this world would be a different place. Instead of reacting, we would respond. Instead of judging, we would see ourselves in everyone. Instead of consuming, we would notice that we cannot fill the gaping wounds inside of us with trinkets. If instead of pretending we are okay, we would take the time to wail, to weep, to scream, to wander the woods day after day holding hands with our sadness, loving it into remission so it doesn’t turn cold inside of us, gripping us intermittently in the icy fingers of depression. That’s not what grief is meant to do."

And this next bit? Reading this only days after I stood in front of a bunch of confused people in public spilling my words like the crazy woman I am, clutching a folder with "A Fairy Tale" written ironically on it because my brothers death is so, so not a fairy tale?

"You are a character in a story that is over, and since this never happens in the fairy tales you were fed in your most formative years, you are lost. You no longer fit in the world, and there is no star that can grant your truest wish."

So. I am actually going to Africa for World Vision soon. In honour of my brothers life but also my life. I'd go even if I wasn't up to it but I really actually am up to it, mentally preparing myself every day. I need to keep going and do things the best I can. Cams story on earth is over for him, but mine is not. I will take him with me, grieve him over there. Cry Ugandan tears from the Ugandan water I drink.

And I'll meet a lot of people in a lot of difficult situations and I'll think of how me and Hassan and millions of people all over the world bear the unbearable but keep going. Every day.


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Performing At The Newtown Festival. And Just A Pack Of Wankers In The Living Room.

So today was moderate. Mostly difficult. If only there was a grief weather forecast at the end of the news every night so I knew what would be coming the next day.

"Eden tomorrow there's a high chance of crying in the morning followed by some BEAUTIFUL patches of respite so make sure you go outside and enjoy the sunshine with a cup of tea. Mid-afternoon you'll be howling like a dog but you KNOW you'll get yourself together by the time your family get home because, well, you have to. You won't feel Cam around you. Again. You'll end the day watching Glenn Close in Damages, wondering what it would be like to be a high flying lawyer. Pack an umbrella, a teapot, poncho, and writing pad."

Hey so remember that cake that Reannon got delivered to me?


I been wondering a lot about the guy that iced it. So I went in to Schwarzes today, knocked on the Staff Only door but nobody heard so I just walked straight on in.

"Hi!"

"Hi!" He says.

"Look, a few weeks ago you got a request to ice some rather unusual words on a cake?"

He twigged STRAIGHT away.

"Yes! Now, I've been asked to do some crazy shit over the years but that cake? I thought about it and thought well, it can either go one of two ways. So I did it and if turned out bad I was gonna fly to Perth and just, like, I dunno ..."

Man we LAUGHED. His name is Nick, we're standing there in the middle of his busy kitchen on a busy weekend and he has so much stuff to do and staff is swirling around and I just say, "Well, my brother DID actually kill himself. It IT bullshit. And that was the best cake I've ever had in my life and I must say, I've had some cake in my time. Thank you."



I told Nick that over a hundred and fifty thousand people saw the picture of his cake on Facebook. He thought it is was hilarious. I snapped a selfie, thanked him again, and left.

If you're ever in Wentworth Falls, Schwarzes do THE BEST white chocolate mud cake bars. Also bread pretzels (or "printzels" as we call them ever since Rocco did.) And at Christmas time, my god the gingerbread. So, THANK YOU MICK! AND REANNON!

Today I saw another cake, at Roccos friends Lochies birthday party. His mum Naomi made it, she has her own local cake-making business called Dough Re Mi. (It's no coincidence that I'm friends with people who make good cake.)


As I was posing this photo , moving it round willy nilly, the guy fell off the horse and then the horse and the guy both fell of the entire cake and Naomi came up and I was all IT'S FIXABLE but she's so cool she didn't care. I really like her, and not just because she's minding my children tomorrow while I perform some spoken word at Newtown Festival LET'S GIVE IT UP FOR NEWTOWN PEOPLE. I got three slots, on three different stages at three different times. Two pieces I know off by heart. I'm still in the middle of writing the other one. It's a big one. You know that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when they open the Ark at then end and and Indy is all SHUT YOUR EYES KEEP YOUR EYES SHUT but all the baddies don't shut their eyes get their faces melted off like wax until you see their skulls and they turn to dust? That's what it's going to be like listening to this piece I'm writing right now.

So come along, get your face melted off! Because none of the people in the crowd will know the words about to spill out of my mouth, they won't know that my brother took his own life literally up the road around the corner and MAN do I hate Newtown. I'm enraged. Also I feel sick about going. Dave is going to meet me there and film it. I told him I'm NOT hanging around, I'm not carousing and schmoozing around the shops, he knows Newtown slays me. We think Marys burgers may have some kind of stall which is incredibly exciting. I'll cry. But I'll be hungry. Thank god we'll have our own cars because as soon as I'm done I'm outta there.

Newtown Festival deets HERE ... I don't want to go! But I want to get up onstage and people will be like who is this older kind of woman with forearm tattoos and what does she have to say?

I got a lot to say. There's different stages. I'll be on the Essential Stage at 10.20, the Federation Stage at 11.35, and then 12.35 on the Essential again. I'll be doing The Prophet, Strong Bones (the poem that got me to the State Finals for the Australian Poetry Slam Championships) and then the face-melting one. I might save that til last. So if you want to come get ripped open, come find me at midday. I'll be tweeting when I'll be going on, too.

Did I mention Newtown can go to hell and gives me a physical, visceral reaction and the one person I want to perform to will not be there? But. I KNOW that some other people who felt like he did will be there. That's a fact. And sometimes you hear the right thing just when you need to hear it.

Here's a snippet of me and my boys with our failed attempt at the lip-synch competition, like, an hour ago. We couldn't help singing the words. I love them hard. We were idiots for hours tonight. Pure, unadulterated idiocy.

There's more to life than grief. So much more. Just gotta find it.


Friday, 7 November 2014

Revolver.


This photo was taken two weeks before my brother Cam killed himself. He's the cool one, sitting in the centre with sunnies on his head with his stupid beautiful smile wearing that stupid awesome t-shirt that I now have in my bedside table because he didn't wash it before he died. I don't know who these people are in this photo. It was obviously somebodies 28th birthday, maybe the guy with the beard and cap? Happy birthday guy. Hope your life is going well, with your red toaster. When my brother turned 28 I told him "CAM! WELCOME TO YOUR SATURN RETURN! It's full of big things and goes for a few years. It's gonna be AWESOME." He laughed at me, like he always did, said well Eed it's about fucking time.

Nobody in this picture knew that Cam was going back to his flat containing a full-face gas mask and nitrogen tank. Just waiting there, objects in his space. I imagine him walking around them as he made some kind of shit to eat. Watched TV. Played his x-box. Drove to work. Got home. Felt horrendous. Thinking, wondering, deciding. I mean, he LOOKS happy and normal enough in that picture, don't you think? He's beautiful.

This morning I got Rocco to kiss me on my cheek. "Right there." I pointed. He got out of the car and I sat there watching him walk happily into school. Stricken, I was literally stricken with grief. That's why they call it grief-stricken. Suddenly remembering all the times I'd get Cam to kiss my cheek. First he'd smooth the soil, kiss the seed in, then motion a huge flower growing out of my cheek. We called it "planting kisses."

Life is unbearable, really. Every morning I wake up and have to go about my day killing all the things in me that want to kill me until it's like, 11.54pm and I got it sorted! But then I have to go to bed and have nightmares and wake up and go about my day killing all the things in me that want to kill me.


It's like one day the sun saw the truth and said "Fuck this shit." And just fell from the place it was supposed to be, straight out of the sky. But you're always supposed to be there, SUN. And I'm the moon. Stranded cold and tired, I'm the fucking moon with a whole lot less love. But Cam wasn't the sun he wasn't even my son and who the hell was supposed to revolve around who anyway? And the more life goes on without him? The more confusing and dark it feels. My brain goes into overdrive. Nothing and nobody can hurt me, anymore, ever again. You wanna set me on fire? I'm already burning, bitch. Fuck you.

The letters that people have written to me in the past month have been incredibly touching, and personal. Telling me about you - thank you. One simply said:

"Dear Eden, I am so sorry that your Cam lost hope."

The truth. Goddamit.

So. Life will be over in a blink of an eye. I am not the only one going through hard things, even though it feels like it. I lost my friend, my most dearest, special friend in the whole world. Who can I laugh about choads with? Who can I compare pants-shitting stories with? Our hours-long conversations? OUR LOVE. Who's going to come good eventually and overcome his problems and heartsad and be all triumphant in the end? Not Cam, that's fucking who.

I'm so tired and lonely. A day last week was the most traumatic and awful day in the whole of the fallout of my brothers death and I can't even bear writing it out.

So I talk to him. Smash his cups. "THEY WERE UGLY CUPS CAM YOU CHOSE UGLY CUPS." Give his Ikea plates to Vinnies. I hide. Weep from the depths. Know I'll never be over it. Know he never knew for one second the pain this would cause. Every single thing I do, every second of the day, I'm in pain.

Sometimes I start google chats with him and it rings but doesn't pick up and a message comes up:

"Cameron is offline right now. When he is back online, he will get this message."

It's so reassuring.

I wait. I will wait for him until the numbers fall off all the clocks and the world freezes over and I turn into bones I will wait.


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