Memoriam

I don’t know how to start, in a way that would adequately convey the emotions and feelings I’ve felt in the last 18 or so hours.

For reasons of personal privacy, there are specifics and details that are best left out of the public sphere.

But the events, and the inescapable questioning of ones self that arise, does give one pause.

It gives the opportunity to breathe, or at the very least try to. To reflect. To review. And most importantly, to grieve.

Ten years ago – 2004 – my year, an unenviable one involving too much shuffling off the mortal coil, could have been best described as an annus horribilis.

In that same year, where a work colleague, in tragic circumstances, committed suicide, I also lost my mother.

I’ve never discussed publicly, until now, some of the circumstances and events that year.

Regarding my mother, not even the family from which I’ve long disassociated, has a clue to how the lead up to, and eventual passing of my mother, made me feel.

And save for my then manager, nobody else knows the circumstances in which I found myself on the day after a colleague committed suicide.

A callous notification, the calls I had to make, the two staff whom I had to ensure kept quiet until news could be called, and having to break the news of his passing to a colleague in another department – his very recently separated, but long time de facto partner – whom my deceased colleagues family didn’t even extend her the professional courtesy of informing of his passing.

After all, I did promise to let her know anything I found out, after reasonably approaching her to try and confirm or deny what had been claimed, in the softest and most gentle way so as not to scare or frighten.

Standing alone, in the middle of campus, propped up against a pine tree, reconciling all of what had happened that day – before walking back to my office, feeling cold, alone, and unable to tell anybody why until we had the support infrastructure ready to help everyone when the news was shared.

I’ve lost count of the number of times where I’ve been the one, standing there to help others in their hours of need. From spending countless hours consoling someone, to just holding their hand, or giving them a hug to say it’s ok and whatever has you feeling down is only temporary, and things someday, if not soon, will get better.

Nobody was, or has been there for me. Except mum.

She was the only person caring enough to be standing right beside me when things went wrong. To protect me from an emotionally and physically abusive father. To shield me from the horrors of the school yard, and the bullies who picked on me because I didn’t want to be like them, or all the other kids. To help me try and feel ok, on the darkest hour, of the darkest day, where you feel that life isn’t worth living any longer.

Yet, she’s not here any more.

Her influence may have rubbed off on me. The strong morals she instilled, the behaviours she encouraged and nurtured, are what has helped me, for better or worse, become the man I am today.

Am I perfect, no. Am I strong, I can be in both emotion and will but not physically. Am I respectful, absolutely.

But, I am alone. Which brings me to today.

For those who know me, or remember the Mallory post, there is someone who has been in my life for a little while – albeit not even close to how I might like them to be, but you take what you can get knowing what’s off the table.

There was some information which came into my possession last night about that individual which gives me serious cause for pause.

It left me speechless.

So much so, it took a 25mg tab of Doxylamine succinate [1] last night to achieve restful sleep – because there was so much running around in my head, so late at night, which it just couldn’t deal with.

As I said earlier, I won’t disclose what the news is, nor will I even hint at it. I’m still processing it, and I’ve not even had a decent and considered conversation with the individual after the shock of the news being confirmed.

Being and feeling alone, there’s really nobody you can lean on for an emotional crutch. There’s a couple of trusted friendship can talk to, strangely one of them has been through a similar situation (twice no less), but that discussion only leaves you with more questions than answers.

With no idea what else I could do to address the talk, and get my brain to quiet down on the news of the previous night – out of the blue, it came to me when out of my first of many walks that day, to go and visit mum’s gravesite.

I’d not been there in nearly ten years, since the very day we carried her coffin out of the funeral car, and lowered her casket into the ground at this her final resting place.

Before she passed, she made it plain she didn’t want us visiting there. Being of a religious background, which I’ve long since disassociated myself from for numerous reasons, her spiritual form isn’t there – just a box of decomposing skin, bone, and also a photographic blanket she was buried with covered in 47 years of pictures and memories representing her life.

Many of those photos were shown on a small screen at her funeral service, and after pressing play on this then vacating the stand to sit in the pews, it was the last time I actually cried.

Until today.

I wish I had some flowers, from a now departed roadside flower stall in North Beach, one my mother would visit frequently when we lived in Gwellup. Something to at least add some colour and life to what was a line of rarely visited graves.

Even whilst typing this, I have tears on the screen of my iPad and inside my glasses. Tears of pain. Tears of frustration. Tears for reasons which I don’t know or haven’t figured out why yet.

I was there for what seemed like forever, but at most was twenty minutes. Even before sitting down, I was already shedding a tear, remembering, passing silent words, thoughts, and rattling through my brain the things I’d want to say and talk about with her, and particually the events of the preceeding 18 hours, in the hope of a sign or at very least some inspiration might come from this rare moment of contemplation and reflection.

As I left, I realised who was buried in the adjacent plot. The plaque of someone whom I also knew through religious circles, an inscription on the plaque quoting part of a hymn [2], that stayed with as I left the memorial park.

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet,
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

 

It stuck with me, also whilst reflecting on my departed colleague, whom despite him being cremated in this place, there’s not even a plaque or small memorial anywhere to stop at and pay my respects to him.

But, at least visiting this place put me, and my mind, at peace. for now.

Even now, some hours later, the talk has stopped. The questions have subsided. And, mercifully, some calm has returned that I may focus my energies and neurones on something else.

I may have only delayed the necessary conversation, but at least I’ll be in a better frame of mind and calm when I do talk about what needs to be discussed and understood.

And of course remembered that I have my mother to thank for the man that I am today.

[1] Restavit, common over-the-counter tablet to aide with insomnia and re-establishing regular sleep patterns.
[2] Yes, I’m a long-lapsed Mormon. My stance of spirtuality and religion isn’t something I openly discuss, apart from the point that there’s likely something, or someone out there – but who or what form they take, or if they have a specific faith beyond the core principals of kindness, love, and respect, remains open for debate.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s