End of slideshow, click to exit

“End of slideshow, click to exit”. Thanks Microsoft, profound. Weird that these words were the last I saw at the funeral. After I’d sat there, bawling my eyes out, remembering moments I’d forgotten with family until now, like getting all the kids, when they were kids, to stand on a 45 degree angle lean as i took a grandkid snap in mums backyard, seeing decades flash before my eyes, so many family moments, and this is all Microsoft can add to the occasion. Click to exit.

It struck me, as I sat there, that the six grand kids can’t ever be together in a room now. That there will never be a photo of all six. Just five, then a birth, then a tragic death, then five. Jensen arrived, and exactly 9 weeks later, Simon left.

Grief, (and I don’t pretend mine is on the same planet as that suffered by Simon’s immediate family ), is awful. If I haven’t had a dream/ nightmare about him, or the funeral, or some other mother -child anxiety, then each morning I wake up and remember again what has happened. It is like putting on a backpack full of bricks every day. It is resting beside the bed, sometimes I forget it is there, and each time I have to remember to wear it, it seems there’s another brick inside. The weight of it just that little bit more oppressive with each remembering. There is so much I would like to say about the tragic death of a young man, at 22 years old, by his own hand, a young man who’d had some health issues and was sick of being sick. .

Simon, as i said before, had a rough start as a premature baby. More bowel operations at about ten years old. Then 2-3 years ago, an assault on new years eve saw him lose nine teeth with a single punch. There’s been months of dental work and thousands of dollars. He just got the perfect smile in time to be a groomsman at his bro’s wedding.

Two years ago (?) simon got a blood disorder, called ITP. Low platelets, recurring bouts of illness, low energy, transfusions and steroids. The last (third?) bout hit on the Tuesday. He got a mate to drive him home and left bis car at work. And Thursday, he decided enough was enough.

The rest isn’t my story to tell, and the Internet isn’t the place for it. I thought the funeral last Monday would help make my nephew’s death real, help it sink in; in reality I just kept expecting him to show up. We saw him across the bar. We heard him, but it was one of his mates. It isn’t any more real to me than the day we first heard. Suicide is a stone dropped into the pond of our family’s lives, though it feels as thought the ripples will never cease. Perahps a tsunami in the family ocean would be a more apt descrption. Let’s hope everyone remembers to keep their heads above water, and just keep on breathing in and out.

It is such a hard thing, to sum up a life, to sum up a person, to remember them for who they were, which is so much more than the sum of what they did. Most importantly in Simon’s case, his life was so much more than how it ended.

The jman was an angel at the funeral. Just a few mad little peeps and squeaks during the slideshow with photos of his cousin’s life, his own exclamations on the sombre occasion. He snoozed through a lot of the wake, and dished out a few smiles and cuddles the rest of the time, mostly to those who really needed it. He helped some of the family look up, and look forward, even as we leave so much behind.

Since then we’ve kept kind of quiet, tried to absorb what went on, done a bit of cooking and meal distribution, done a bit of quiet reflection without much blogging or non family time.

From a slideshow in memory, to a slideshow in anticipation. In a way of looking forward, without much of a segue, just because I need to affirm life, here is a slideshow of the many moods of the Jman so far, in his little 11  12 week long life. We can’t really click to exit, microsoft, because these moments travel inside us, wherever we go and whoever we become. 

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Say a little prayer

a post from Thursday, Oct 4 at 10pm

Tuesday Jensen, the jman , was two months old. Can you believe it? This requires a celebratory post, with lots of pics.

But tonight, as I look down at our son in my arms, my mind is elsewhere. My mind is with my big brother, who once held his youngest son Simon like this, and paced the floor, and rocked him to sleep, and counted his lucky stars that his little boy had made it. (Just like we do, every single day).

Because Simon was born at 26 weeks, and after surgery and months in NICU, Simon survived, and was 22 years old last Sunday. Simon, my nephew, was the first miracle baby in our family. Simons’ example gave me hope at twenty something weeks pregnant, that this was possible, that our gumby might just make it, and with that hope helping us, the Jman became our second family miracle. Simon’s miraculous existence was one of the milestones that gave me a lot of inspiration to keep going this year.

Today, Simon took his own life.

We don’t know why. Just a week after being groomsman at his big brother’s wedding. And my heart goes out to my big bro, who is driving back, alone, from the wedding, several thousand kilometres to the far north, my bro who once reached a big hand into a humidicrib to comfort his barely formed son and to encourage him to hang on.

This time, no one got him to hang on. We didn’t even know he was struggling. He was a young man who was hard to know sometimes, and hard to get a word out of, but he was a nice kid. He was my youngest nephew. I wish we’d done more. I wish I’d done more.

Simon’s big bro, who is overseas on his honeymoon, was unaware of this horrible tragedy awaiting him.

So please say a little prayer for my brother and his two other twenty something kids, and for my mum, who will find out in the morning when we all descend on her in one big group hug to break this horrible news.

Pray the jman has his A game on and brings his big gummy smiles, to remind everyone that life does have a point to it. Because right now, it seems pretty bloody pointless.

If you do anything, do this:
1. Send a prayer to my bro and his kids
2. Do a bit of an audit of people you know. And turn the ‘I should call’ into an actual call or visit or invitation to catch up.. Reach out to those in your life who are a bit disconnected. Find them, and keep them close.

There’s very little I can say about this tragedy that would carry the gravitas it deserves, and at present it is just words on a page, it’s not even remotely real. I reckon we all have some hard days ahead of us, but at the moment it seems pretend, unreal, ridiculous even. I’ve had horrible depression years ago, so I understand how dark things can get, and how these dark ideas can take hold and seem right, but I can’t reconcile this with living, breathing, whole-life-ahead-of-him Simon. We were all here for you, but I guess you didn’t know it.

We wish you were still here, and I wish you hadn’t cancelled on your dad and had come to the hospital to meet the jman. He would’ve liked his cousin.

I hope you found peace, mate.