Second scar to the right

“All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.”

Pete would gaze down at Tink while I sat in front of them composing prose that poured out of me like a nosebleed, under a sky of glow-in-the-dark stars and some broken fairy lights.
But I’m no Wendy.
I’m simply not that nice.

This is what I came back to that day: a lost boy and some pixie dust. And this is where I’ll go again.

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”

So what did happen that day? The day in the hospital, where I felt my grandad die, and I didn’t get a chance to say a proper goodbye because it all happened so quickly…

Like most things that have happened, I hardly remember. I was left alone with him for a while, but then I had to go. I vaguely recall a feeling of awkwardness – how long was I supposed to stay? If I leave too soon, will I look like I don’t care? But do they need his bed? What do I do now?

I must have left, because I remember getting the bus. I only remember the bus ride because one of my grandad’s friends was on there, and he asked me how he was doing and I just blurted out “He just died” because I was still in shock. I didn’t mean to be horrible. I have a knack for saying the worst things though. And things I don’t mean. Especially when I’m hurt.

But he had died. At least I wasn’t fucking lying.

“You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”

Did I go home? Or did I go to my mum’s house? I think I went to her place, and obviously she got there before me because she’d left the hospital earlier. She’d said the goodbye that she had wanted to say. I was left to deal with the embers.

Which, in fairness, was fine with me. I didn’t want her there. I’m not even sure my grandad had noticed she’d returned – if he was even alive at that point. I had blinkers on, I had tunnel vision. I’m not angry at her about this. It’s her loss; it was her choice.

The thing is, I just don’t get angry. I get irritated and frustrated, but I’m unfamiliar with loss of temper. Perhaps if I lost my temper every once in a while, I could tone down my other emotions. Maybe if I got angry enough, I could just turn them off completely.

It scares me a little bit that I don’t get angry. Where is my rage?

I can’t even get angry when people are mad at me. If you shout at me, I’ll just cry. Crying and hurting myself are the things I do when people hurt me. My self-preservation technique is to fight pain with pain. (But not at anyone else. I don’t want to hurt you.)

I should have got angry about the funeral. I shouldn’t have let them take that away from us. I should have stood up for myself for the first time ever, and lost it and gone psychotic and thrown things off my mum’s boyfriend’s head. But I just don’t have it in me. The fight was knocked out of me before I’d even had a chance to raise my tiny fists.

Instead I argued, got intimidated, cried, called him an arsehole, walked out.

“I taught you to fight and to fly. What more could there be?”

My grandad did try to teach me to fight. He gave me some tips, anyway. Mostly obvious ones, like not getting backed into a corner and hitting the gobbiest cunt first – and hard. He told me to always hit back. Always. And he told me that if anyone ever says that they’re going to hit you the next time they see you, then they’re probably never going to hit you. Tell them that you’ll see them first.

Not really much good to me, considering I’ve had two fights in my entire life – both when I was 12. Unfortunately – and honestly through no[t much] fault of my own – the second fight got me a bit of a reputation so I then had six months of people coming up to me telling me their friend wanted to fight me and me telling them to fuck off.

The whole “I’m going to beat you up next time I see you” thing was quite funny though. Nothing quite like fronting it out in front of some idiot bigging it up in front of their group of friends, only to have them look at the floor when they did actually see you the next time. I tilted my head towards her to make sure she saw me. Nothing. Remarkable.

“Just always be waiting for me, and then some night you will hear me crowing.”

Once again I found myself in a chapel of rest, however this time I was alone. I carried a flower and a letter from my mum. I didn’t read it. I was curious but I would have only ended up laughing at it.

Humour is a weird thing. It helps us deal with the absolute worst things we ever have to face but it’s so fucking inappropriate.

In the chapel of rest, on a cold and sunny day, I walked along a corridor with the funeral director so I could see my grandad’s flesh and bones for the very last time. She paused a few metres from the room I was supposed to go into. ‘I’m not sure if your mother mentioned this to you, but we’re undergoing some building work at the moment. Unfortunately, there’s another body in with your grandad’s. Obviously we’ve covered the coffin over, bu-‘ I cut her off. ‘It’s fine. It doesn’t matter.’ And it didn’t really matter, did it?

I walked in. My grandad’s open coffin was on my right, a coffin covered in some kind of fancy coffin tablecloth thing was on my left. I walked over to my grandad, tucked the flower and the note in with him and then stroked his hair and face. It looked nothing like the grandad I knew. It looked like someone had made a very good impression of him out of flesh-coloured clay, but without life it was nothing but a motionless golem.

I stood for a few minutes and watched him. Please come back. Please don’t leave me. And because I’m the worst person, with the worst sense of humour, I said: ‘I can’t really talk much, someone else is eavesdropping.’

I left yet another coffin scattered with tears.

“Stars are beautiful, but they may not take part in anything, they must just look on forever.”

And again I return to the lost boy, because he is the only one who can handle me.

I wanted the old man and I to stay in our little Wendy house forever, with the little white bird and the window that opened out far enough for me to fly out of. But I always came home, and my grandad always left the door open for me – just in case the window blew shut while I was away.

His photo is on my wall, his photo is in my wallet. I talk about him less, I dream about him less, I even cry about him less. But he’s still there, along with the sadness I still cling to. I can’t help feeling like my grief is better than trying to move on. Yet… I can accept this. It doesn’t get easier, life just rearranges itself around the holes that death leaves behind.

Holding his hand while he died felt like I was helping to unpick the stitches on his shadow.

So it goes.

It may have been quixotic, but it was magnificent.

18 thoughts on “Second scar to the right

  1. Your grandad taught you much, didn’t he? Death and I are quite familiar friends. Just the other day, I was working and then police showed up everywhere at our facility.

    It turns out they were there for a soul across the street. That isn’t quite right. I should say they were there for the body, someone else for the soul. I knew right then it must be suicide. It was how I felt and also watching the commotion that is how it seemed.

    Turns out it was. A poor soul came home to find a family member had unfortunately decided to end their own life. I’m often around when death is going to come to someone nearby.

    I’m not saying I’m a reaper or anything, just I have been around an odd amount of random deaths. I’ve witnessed it time and again among complete strangers. The ones that obviously hit the hardest though are friends and family of which I’ve lost many.

    Too many…I’m sure we all feel that way though.

    I hope time helps you with your losses. Through writing about it you are immortalizing his memory of sorts.


    1. That’s one of the things that’s always kept my mind from seriously entertaining thoughts of doing something like that – someone has to find me. Someone else has to deal with my mess – again. I don’t hate anyone that much.

      Actually, back when I was having those kinds of mental intrusions, I read something about suicide on some comedy website and it said something like ‘the people who hate you will be glad you’ve gone, the people who don’t care will continue to not care and the ones you love will feel as though you borrowed their car and ran them over with it’. And as silly as it sounds, that actually helped.

      I have a lot to say about death, but not here – and not now because it’s 4am again! And thank you – time has made it a little easier to cope with. And I’m glad you think that, because that’s what I’ve been trying to do 🙂

      1. Those in written word, be they friend, or enemy, are immortalized eternally! So you are doing this well. Super awesome to hear from you again! Ah, 4am. The rate I’m going, I might be up till then. I’m partially running on excitement that tomorrow is Friday and so the weekend is practically there.

        I am also partially running off of coffee and that tomorrow is a Friday that falls on a day I get paid, since I get paid every other week. So that makes it more awesome! Oh and Metal…the power of Heavy Metal is keeping me going!

        I suppose I should go for now. I hope you sleep well. 😀

        Cheers! ^_^

        1. I really ought to take better care not to immortalise the unworthy. And yeah, I am about – I’ve just been massively busy and I was a tiny bit poorly for a couple of days so I had to sleep that off :/ But I’m totally fine now.

          Excellent – I hope you had a great payday! I can’t listen to heavy metal at home… it would be way too distracting. Even having music on at all sometimes bothers me too much. I’m strange, I guess.

          Hope you’re still doing okay – I didn’t realise how long it had been 😮

          1. To each their own in terms of immortalizing the wrong people. It is sometimes in how you immortalize them. I’m glad you are feeling better. I am a huge fan of Heavy Metal! I love Rock in general but the Metal, it flows through me, sending lightning through my veins!

            Okay, so maybe a tad dramatic but one can never be too dramatic when talking Heavy Metal. Xp I sometimes make playlists to listen to when writing, so I can’t say music bothers me. I actually think it helps in my case. I can tune out the world and I love that!

            I will let you sleep.

            Cheers! ^_^

            P.S.- It’s been a while, but somehow, I figured you would be back in time. 😉

  2. Losing a loved one is not an easy thing at all….and i know this because I have lost a few. But we have to move on knowing that they are safely tucked somewhere deep in our hearts. Somewhere we can reach out and draw all the good and bad memories we shared with them. Even though we dont think of them as often as we used to, the pained never goes. But its better now because the pain has been numbed by an inner peace…:)

    1. I think that’s where my problem is – deep down I’m scared that if I move on, then I’ll lose the memories. They’ll just disappear. But it’s been almost ten years and even though I’ve been a mess, a decade is still long enough for everything to fade a bit. And I’m no worse off than I was.

      As you say, you make your peace with it all 🙂

  3. Your Grandfather will always be with you, within you, he will give you the strength as he obviously did in life. I held my late Husband in my arms as he died and our two young Sons held his hands I asked them if they wanted to be in the bedroom as David died and they both said “yes” – my eldest was 14 and my youngest 10 (four days later to be 11). I do believe it has helped them. I asked them if they wanted to see their Father in the Chapel of Rest and my eldest said “No” but the youngest wanted to. When we went and saw David he did not look like the David I had Married 19 years earlier, and I was so annoyed as my Mother had insisted on coming and she forced my youngest Son’s head down to kiss his Father – that I doubt he has not forgotten as her ran out of the room at the time. You have so many memories of your Grandad, hold onto them and he will help you. Take care of yourself.

    1. That’s terrible… I genuinely can’t understand why people feel the need to do things like that, especially to children and especially in a situation like that. I’m so sorry for you and your son. I’m not even sure what to say, I’m pretty damn horrified.

      And I do. You take care too 🙂 Thank you so much for commenting here – I really, truly appreciate it. x

  4. So touching. I love your honesty. Continue writing down your memories as the make themselves known – you won’t forget them then. I have scribbled post it notes of my memories…because I too, am afraid I’ll forget them 🙂

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 I have so many notes, it’s ridiculous. That’s kind of what this blog was for – to help me remember things properly so I could eventually put them in the correct order again. It’s still at the messy stage… But I’m glad you’re enjoying it 🙂

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