Even the lino makes me think of you

If there is one thing I’m learning about grieving, it’s that anything and everything can make you think of the person you loved, who has died.

At the moment, anywhere I go, and just about anything that anyone says to me, has the potential to make me think of my brother. Example: my friend was talking about the lino on her kitchen floor – and I suddenly tuned out, remembering a house I’d lived in a few years ago, that had lino on the floor. John was alive when I lived there.

I hear a song from the past that has no particular significance to John, but I think, when this song was around, John was alive.

It happens all the time. Anywhere I go, I find myself thinking: he was alive when I was last here. I took my daughter to the Royal Children’s Hospital on Tuesday to have her neck brace removed, (see this post from 6 weeks ago).  I thought a million times: the last time I was here, John was alive.

I suppose at the hospital that thought was all the more poignant because when I was last there, I thought I’d been through the most stressful day possible already, having accompanied my 11 year old daughter as she was rushed to emergency in an ambulance.

If only. If only that was the worst thing that had happened in the last 4 weeks. I could remember standing at the reception desk and arranging the date on which we’d come back to have the neck brace off. I never imagined that when we came back in 6 weeks time, my brother would have died.

Of course I didn’t know, and wouldn’t have imagined it! Of course you cannot know when people are going to die, particularly when they die suddenly without any known cause. It would be unbearable if you did know.

But logic doesn’t stop the irrational thoughts and feelings that swarm through the heads of those that are left behind. I repeatedly follow the same line of thought, with the same conclusion: my brother was alive then (when I lived in Fitzroy/stayed in Sydney/last had him over for dinner/was sitting in a production meeting at work, at 4pm on Friday 9 Sept)…..and I didn’t know he was going to die – 12 years later, 4 months later, 3 weeks later, the next day.

But I couldn’t have known!  And I couldn’t have done anything to prevent it.

With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had gone around to his house on Friday 9th September and kept him up all night, thereby ensuring that he didn’t go to sleep, and therefore couldn’t pass away in his sleep. But there was no way anyone, not least John himself, suspected that any such thing was going to happen when he got a drink from the fridge, said goodnight to his housemate, who was also our younger brother, and went to bed.

And what if I’d somehow had an inkling that he would not be around much longer? What would I have done differently? Say, for example, on the last night I saw him, 3 weeks before he died, when he came around for dinner?

Well, maybe I would have made an effort to leave work early, instead of getting caught up as always, and running so late that my brothers had been at my house for a while when I finally got home. Maybe I would have imprinted every moment of that evening on my brain, and remember every word we said to one another, instead of only recalling in a general way some of the topics we talked about. Maybe I would have taken some photos of us together, and asked him to write me a letter, because those things would now be so precious to find. Maybe I would have stayed up for hours talking to him, instead of being tired and therefore not sorry when they left at about 10pm. Maybe I would have hugged him for longer – for a very, very long time in fact – before he went out my front door for the last time to get in a taxi. Maybe I would have said, “don’t take a taxi, I’ll drive you home! ”

Maybe I would have told him that I loved him.

Hanging Rock

Hanging Rock – I was there with John 2 years ago

Leave a comment

Blather away!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: