You will have read of the abuse I suffered at his hands, and I still punish myself for not getting away from him sooner.
But, I had a very close relative die, and I really do think this was the beginning of the true disconnection between us.
I had been up to visit family, around 90 minutes from home. And I missed one member, and I’d had to leave to be home by my curfew (Imposed of course by him) time.
I had been with other family, so we had arrived to the motel and I had called my father to say we would stop in on our way past.
He asked me to come right away and wouldn’t say anymore, so I rushed over there. Wondering what was going on.
My Dad sat me down, told me my mother was on a plane to Auckland as we spoke, and that a very close family member had passed away that afternoon.
He knew (rightly) that I would be devastated.
I didn’t believe him at first, and I swung from disbelief to anger, to what am I going to do at 0-60.
Told my Dad I needed to go. I had to go up there and I had to go now, which he got. He hugged me while I cried and he told me to be careful.
I had to go home, so my Aunt took me home so I could pack.
And this is where Mr Serious comes in.
Because we had one car between us, and when I got the call to say they had passed away, I needed to drive 90 minutes to be with my family. I needed to. I couldn’t not go and be with them and see for myself that it was true. That our family had lost it’s backbone.
So as you would expect, I called him and asked him where he was, because they had died and I needed to go. I was packing a bag, I would be gone at least a few days. I needed him to come home and I needed the car.
In response, I got told he was at Burger King. He was busy. I got hung up on twice, and then he turned his phone off.
I packed, and paced, and cried. And kept trying to phone him, my family and him over and over.
Several hours later he finally came home and walked in the door like nothing was going on. By this time I was an absolute mess. So I couldn’t even talk to him. I loaded my things and took my key and I walked out. He was talking but I walked out on him.
I couldn’t even look at him. I was so angry and hurt and so I left.
I ran away.
It was Saturday.
On Monday, I farewelled another family member as they disconnected life support.
I thought that weekend was truly horrific. But it was going to get worse.
I stayed away until the Wednesday when I came home. I needed clean clothes, and a breather from the grieving relatives. The tears and the stories. Funeral arrangements had been made and I needed just to take a few minutes.
If only i had known…
He knew where I was, but I had been punished yet again. As I got home to emails from friends asking for urgent contact. And I hadn’t been home an hour when my home phone rung.
It was one of my radio friends, from before Mr Serious.
And in my devastated state, my entire world as I knew it crumbled from beneath my feet.
They (and others) had been trying to get hold of me from Sunday when it had been discovered that a close friend, and early boyfriend had been found Sunday, and he was gone. His death was ruled a suicide.
When confronted, he admitted people had called the house, he had told them simply that I wasn’t there and hung up on them. When they kept calling, he took the phone off the hook.
My friend had called me and kept calling and calling, because there was drama, between his adopted parents, and his birth mother and ex-wife.
His birth mother had gotten to his ex-wife T, and they had shut his adopted parents out of the funeral decisions and had stopped them from even seeing them.
So while trying to lock down my own broken heart, I spoke with his parents, gently. And I tried to advocate for them with T. But it was like talking to a brick wall.
I spent that evening sitting with M. As T (and I am ever so grateful for this) allowed me to come to her house, and sit with him, and say my goodbyes. I spent 6 hours sitting on the floor of her house, holding his hand and talking to him. Wishing I could see him smile one more time. Hear his nerdy laugh.
I had to be so guarded with my words though, as while I was wishing I could help his parents, who were the loveliest people around, and who he was an absolute testament to….. I was so painfully aware that saying the wrong thing, would mean I would have to leave.
And it hurt. It hurt so bad, knowing that he chose this way out, and that he didn’t talk to anyone. He chose to go out drinking, knowing his meds didn’t allow it. It felt like a kick in the teeth that here I was farewelling two people who didn’t choose to go, didn’t want to go. And here I was farewelling someone who did want to leave.
I spoke to him about his parents. And when I left, I called them and spoke to them again. And I told them where and when the funeral would be, and that as much as I wished I could be there, it was the same time as one of my family funerals and the two were 90 minutes apart.
I missed seeing him laid to rest.
Although I spoke to mutual friends that evening, and I know it was lovely. I also know that not being there that day left me broken inside. And not in a way that could be fixed.
I can also say, that arriving back at my house, after midnight. And walking into the most horrific atmosphere was almost unbearable.
I could feel the tension walking in. And I remember feeling almost suffocated by the accusing eyes that attacked me within seconds of walking in.
Demanding to know where I had been and what was I doing.
I can honestly say, in that moment, that was one of the first times, that I felt like I truly hated him.
Like my skin was crawling…. my face was prickling… and I wanted to hurt him. Hurt him in a way I had no idea how to even achieve.
Like I was hurting.
I packed my bags, I don’t remember doing it, but I remember kissing my daughter goodbye as I dropped her at her Grandmothers. Wishing I had the strength to take her with me, but as I told her Grandmother, I just needed help for a few days. To get through the funerals. And I would be back as soon as I could. I asked if they would bring her to the funeral, but if they couldn’t that was okay. And she knew I was struggling to hold it together. She hugged me, which was a rare thing. I remember that so clearly.
Such a stilted, awkward thing. I didn’t quite know what to do as this woman is relatively emotionless most of the time. Accepting and meek. Never affectionate except with her grandchildren. It really stuck in my mind…
I don’t recall at all leaving there.
My next clear memory is the next day, at the first funeral.
It won’t come as any surprise to anyone reading this who has also read other posts, that he didn’t appear at either funeral. A relief really.
But looking back, isn’t it funny that in the times when I needed him most, it was not him who was there. He was never there.
I managed to get through two funerals.
So many family members and so much love. We were surrounded by people who loved both and it was a completely hazy event in my mind.
I remember snippets.
And it’s interesting that speaking to family members, like distant aunts and cousins, they had odd snippets of memories that I cannot place.
Some things, I recalled after being reminded.
Like the tents on the lawn… and the food. Gosh the food was an amazing thing. Dozens of women from our familial cultural melting pot, appearing out of nowhere with army style tents for sleeping and food prep and eating… it was a crazy and incredible event. They came in and took control of everything. Ensured everyone from near and far had bedding, sleeping spaces, food in their bellies.
They blessed the house, provided mats for under the casket and song to welcome the casket in with. Things that I will ever be grateful for and feel blessed to have had.
But I cannot remember for the life of me where I slept. Four days.
And I don’t remember sleeping. Maybe I didn’t?
I remember hours sitting talking, sitting with, holding and talking to my loved one.
I remember the stories shared within the family.
I don’t remember sleeping. Or eating. But I remember watching people eat.
I remember the funeral. And the burial.
And I remember the numb feeling inside when they closed the casket for the final time…. as it really hit hard.
It was like someone took all the air out of the world and suddenly! I felt like I wanted to stop them and tell them they were making a mistake. But there wasn’t anything I could do.
I remember how hot and wet my cheeks felt, and my utter inability to blink.
And then it was over.
A slow movement of people back to the house. More stories…. and then quiet.
The next day, everything was quiet and subdued and everything was packed up, and disappeared as fast as it had arrived. Erased from the property as if it had never been there.
I remember looking at the stars that night, looking and wondering which ones were each of those fateful three.
We had a day of quiet, before the second funeral, which was so different to the first. Much ‘whiter’ and more sterile feeling. A church with traditional hymns.
A parade of a closed box.
Flowers everywhere and people in suits. Less tears. As even though we had been close as kids, I felt a little more disconnected here. Maybe because it felt so much less personal?
I don’t know. Maybe because they were 16. And I was an adult. At least I was pretending to be.
Afterwards, there was a very civil and low toned afternoon tea. And then it was all over.
It felt so different. I can’t explain why…. but maybe I’d run out of tears that week.
Maybe I was just so broken that there was no emotion left in me. Nothing to feel.
3 breaks in my heart.
3 special people gone from my life.
I don’t remember going home.
But I remember that the next few months were rocky. So rocky.
We’d hit a point where I was changing and fast. I kicked him out yet again.
And this time, I met someone new.
Accidentally….. And I’ll tell you more about that next time!
I know, I’m so mean! But it’s coming, I promise!