i don`t process death and illness very well, particularly in people that i`m close to.
when i was younger, one of best friends and schoolmates died. it was unexpected and what traumatised me even more, is we were the last people to see him. he`s been out with the flu and myself and few other friends swung by to see how he was going. he was a year younger than me, on the swim team, fellow scout, all around good guy, loved by all. he said the flu was killing him, so being good catholic boys we gave him last rights, with ice cream and left him to get his rest.
he died the next day. his long time neighbour came looking for us, we were a kind of rat pack, roaming the neighbourhood on our bikes, getting into the kind of harmless mischief teenagers used to. we stood there, disbelieving, we saw him last night, we said. he just had the flu, we said. you don`t die from the flu, but you do from meningitis and no one picked it up until it was too late.
we canvassed the neighbourhood telling friends, consoling people, chasing the runaways and in all of this i was strong, lending my shoulder, giving strength and comfort. the adults had their wake and we had ours. consoling each other best we could and for that time i was the back bone, i was the solid base on which everyone crashed. stoic and ready with words of comfort, i was strong. strong through the days until the funeral, strong at the funeral, offering comfort, being as a leader as i had for the last couple of days, no tears.
we processed to the cemetery, carrying flowers, i don`t even remember when i started crying but i was and then the dirt hit the coffin. there is nothing in the world that is as final as that sound and then came the hysterics. the tears of everyone who had cried on my shoulder came out right there, i can`t remember what happened after that.
like i said, i don`t process these things very well, my mind has a tendency to shut down about these things, these are barest details, i can`t remember how old i was when this happened, when exactly it was. what happened before or after. i just know this exists. i can`t remember if this was before or after my grandfather died, another event that i`ve pretty much shut down about, i think it`s afterwards, hence the stoic behaviour.
this was supposed to be about one thing and turned completely into something else. i started off intending to write about ian, but it turned into this opus, i want to keep writing and see what else comes up, but i have to go to work.