I’m sorry if this one comes out a bit strange. Certain things about myself are easier to talk about than others, and I can never tell this part of the story properly.
The last blog I kept regularly and for a decent length of time was one I deleted in 2007. It wasn’t very good. It was stories and this kind of stream of consciousness stuff and some prose and pictures and a whole load of content that wasn’t exciting to anyone but me. It started as a humour site but then my nan died and I lost what little sense of humour I still had and the whole thing just became a bit fucking tragic.
2006 started off a bit weird. I’d been messing around with someone who belonged to somebody else and I think she might have suspected something because the first text message I received that year was one calling me a cunt and threatening to kill me. This felt like a bit of a bad omen, so I thought maybe I should go to my room for a little while and think about what I’d done. And I did. I stopped drinking, I stopped going out, I stopped talking to my friends. I just stayed in my room, writing and hitting F5 on other people’s journals.
In the room along from mine, my grandad was ruminating over the death of my nan and wishing he could have done something to save her. I was too selfish to notice. I looked after him because he couldn’t see too well, but I’m emotionally stunted and I failed to see how much the loss was hurting him.
After a couple of months, something strange happened. I have always had problems sleeping, but at this point I was doing so little I only managed to get three or four hours a night. I barely ate. I made myself exercise. And for some really stupid reason I started doing Jungian-based visualisation meditation. The hypomania from the lack of food and rest combined with my mind-jabbering with archetypes meant I lost the plot a bit. I wasn’t psychotic or anything like that, but it kicked off a period of magical thinking that made everything go a bit weird.
I was getting skinny and my grandad was getting skinny and we were kind of trapped together because we’d both lost the will to live. But he was waiting to die, and I was waiting for something to happen.
I did some odd stuff during this time. I wrote to someone in a band to ask for a book recommendation – he wrote back but then I wrote again and told him too much and I think probably freaked him out. It didn’t help I hadn’t told him where I got his address from. I went to strange places, just to observe life. I filled a notebook with the most beautiful things I’d ever created and threw it away. I was obsessed with patterns – everything had some kind of meaning and synchronicity and every time I told myself that it was silly, that life wasn’t like that, it did it again. Everything felt literally wonderful.
And that is what the blog was about. It was all of those odd thoughts. They were dressed up very nicely and it all looked and sounded beautiful.
I was leaving my house to go to a gig in Shepherd’s Bush when I got a phone call from the doctor saying they’d found something when they did an X-ray on my grandad’s lungs.
Six weeks later, I was sitting in a room on a ward in Basildon hospital. I was telling my grandad that I’d seen my mum on the way in and she’d said something about his brother turning up. He got upset and said he didn’t want to see him but I couldn’t quite make out why. Suddenly, he started gasping for air. I don’t remember if I hit the alarm or if I shouted, but everything went quiet. Nurses came in and started putting the bed down and making him comfortable. I held his hand and sat down and watched as his breathing slowed down to nothing and he began to leave himself forever.
Everyone left the room and I just sat and held his hand and watched him for a while.
His death didn’t seem instant. It felt like he was still there for some time afterwards, like the essence of his being was burned into every atom and it took some time for all the sparks to be reclaimed by the energy around them. His physical body remained, but something was woefully missing.
And then I went home.
I deleted my blog sometime after. I couldn’t write with the guilt hanging over me. I could have immortalised him but I was just too self-obsessed, and I would never find words that were good enough anyway. I still can’t. My bus ticket that day said ‘Expires 22nd Jan 2007’ and even that is better than anything I could ever come up with.