If my brother had been trying to kill himself, we would have found him three storeys below his own window instead of on the ground of his neighbour’s garden. What happened between that fall and the forty-seven minutes it took for the paramedics to realize that his repeated complaints of trouble breathing were those of a sane human being will be established in an inquest over the next few days; one we have waited for since April. The countless medical reports and witness statements I have pored through since then suggest that the inquest will be the second time since burying him in June that closure will evade us:
Mistakes were made.
He should have still been here.
We are not meant to mourn this way.
I do not share these things for sharing’s sake or to shock. I share because not doing so is the exact kind of thing that killed him. This culture of keeping supposedly shameful things silent quietly kills. And what is shame anyway?
I will no longer abide it.
I turn 43 this Sunday. I have switched my phone to airplane mode and do not plan on turning it back on until the two-day inquest four days thereafter. I appreciate the concern I have been shown by those who have shown it. Genuinely so. I know that I am loved and how wide and deep that love goes.
But grief turns you inwards.
When my mother died five years ago, a good friend told me how the heart is like a big cup. On a regular day, that cup is big enough to contain all your emotions and take on others’. Grief however fills your heart to its brim. It spills and leaks its way out of your tear ducts, leaving you scant room for other people’s feelings, concerns or (worse) ideas around decorum.
The pandemic has been kind to me. It has slowed motion, blurred deadlines and given me time to remember. Therapy too. I have learned how much solitude calms me. It creates room to reflect and time for the kinds of conversations out of which one learns or remembers things about oneself. It gives my imagination room to stretch, breathe and birth the new narratives I will need to tell myself in order to heal.
The grief will stay.
But I am building a bigger cup.