I didn’t have to ask how my mother had died, I knew how. Deep down, I even knew why. She was dead because she wanted to be.
Knowing why, deep down, was not something that stopped me asking why. Why fight to get us back only to choose to leave us? Why now? Why couldn’t she just hold on? Why, why, why, why, why? You don’t expect that to be the main question you want to ask when you find out your mother has passed. You expect to know; not know ‘deep down’ but really know. The answer is expected to be something explainable by nature.
After a little while of asking why in between tears, we went to my eldest sisters house and I went to phone Roxanne. She had been out shopping with her boyfriend and was on the train home, not that it mattered to her where she was. To her, she was with me. We stayed on the phone saying nothing, just crying, for about an hour. D arrived at some point and comforted me while I cried and asked more questions beginning with ‘why’.
My mothers suicide was not like you might have seen on Netflix, with tapes left to explain the ins and the outs of why. There were no flash backs to a ‘will they/ wont they’ love story, there was no justice doled out to anyone with involvement in the downward spiral of my mothers last bits of time, there was no glamour. She had left the ward and checked in to a cheap hotel room. A maid found her. I am sorry if this is uncomfortable to read but that’s what suicide is. It’s uncomfortable. It’s pain, fear, humiliation, guilt. It can end the lives of the ones left behind if they aren’t careful. There is no coming of age life lesson in it in and you certainly can’t watch or participate in the aftermath of your own suicide.
We had to wait for a postmortem and an autopsy to be carried out before we could have the funeral due to the nature of the death. Going to hear the autopsy results was heart breaking but we all felt we needed to hear it. The main cause of death was asphyxiation but she had also massively overdosed on something that makes your blood pump faster and had also ‘cut’. She really wanted to go.
We booked the funeral for two weeks after her death. Planning the funeral was a blur of emotion, my older 2 sisters took the lead and we were fortunate to have help from family and close family friends. D’s parents supported me a lot during this time, his mother held me in her arms for hours one night while I howled like a broken animal, she helped me shop for a funeral outfit, made sure I ate and waited at the funeral parlour on a couple of my daily visits to see my mother. I’d sit in that room and talk to her in her coffin for often more than an hour. Outside of the safety nets I was building; tensions were running high. There were a few ‘disagreements’ around the funeral planning. D and I were even arguing, neither of us knew how to talk about what was going on in my life.
My close friends were amazing, as were their families. There was a lot of love given freely and in abundance to my sisters and I at this time and there was no shortage of people telling us how amazing, funny and loved our mother was. It was overwhelming but amazing.
The funeral itself went very fast and as well as it could have I think. It was like the day went in chunks. The morning of the funeral dragged, the friend I lived with helped me to get ready and my cousin was there with us. I don’t remember any of the journey there, barring the end where I learned you are not supposed to shut your own door when getting out of the funeral car. I nearly knocked my little sister out with the door! Needless to say, I really worked hard to stifle that giggle. There were so many people outside the church when we arrived, I thought we were going in first. We weren’t. We followed the coffin in to ‘The Rose’ (Westlife), which is all I remember of the service apart from my cousins now wife holding my hand from the chair behind mine. I focused on that above anything else. We walked out to ‘Seasons in the sun’ and I spent a few minutes looking for my dad, who wasn’t actually there.
We let off balloons on the way to the wake. I sat with my friends and hardly spoke to anyone and D went to Halfords to get his car radio fitted. His parents were there so drove me home early and I spent the night being held in his mothers arms, crying.
See? Nothing romantic or glamorous about any of it.