In September 2013, 3 people died. The first was a guy I had been seeing a few months before his death. He committed suicide, and I had no idea how to react. I knew it sucked. I felt guilty for losing contact. We had an argument and never got to speak again. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of grieving him. Others knew him better, who were closer to him.
The second was a friend. Exactly one week to the day of the last bereavement. And it came from nowhere. His flatmate (also in our friend group - a separate friend group from the first guy), found him dead in the shower. The coroner’s report just said the reason for death was unknown. He had been doing drugs and this was put down as a secondary cause. I didn’t even know ‘secondary cause’ was a thing. But they didn’t explain his death.
The third was my grandad, and that again was one week to the day of the second bereavement. They all happened on Saturdays. I knew my grandad had cancer, but my parents hadn’t told me he had taken a turn because they were hoping he would be ok and I was going through enough. I never got to say goodbye. I wasn’t even angry at them. I just fell into a pit, you know? I was scared of Saturdays. I thought every Saturday another loved one would be taken. As if every Saturday brought a death that just got closer and closer. Like, when would it be my mum? My dad? My partner? Me?
I didn’t leave my room for days. I lost my job because I just didn’t show up and I worked in performance. No contracts or anything to protect me. I didn’t even care. I had to move back to my parents because I couldn’t afford rent. Not the best place as my mum suffers from mental health problems and didn’t cope well with my grief. I was at a loss. I had no answers. The world seemed senseless.
Anyway, it does get worse. In March 2014, my friend was murdered. I had lost contact with her as I had taken a gap year from University (where I met her). I had been so wrapped up in my grief that I didn’t check in with any of my uni friends. Minus one, who was also on a gap year. She looked after me after the 3 guys died (sorry saying ‘guys’ or just ‘the time when everyone died’ is a coping method I guess). If the world was senseless before, this was downright madness. Saying nothing made sense doesn’t even come close to cutting it. I couldn’t figure out why. The murderer got away with manslaughter on technicalities. I didn’t even think, I posted a petition to reopen the case because I needed some answers. I didn’t even contact her family. I did after I did it because reality kind of set in. When I posted it all I could think of was needing the world to make sense again. I just wanted to end it all. I don’t know how I didn’t, fear maybe? But also, that one friend I did stay in contact with, I couldn’t do it to her. Not after the support she gave me and knowing she was grieving too.
Reporters got my information from the petition. I was getting 20+ calls a day, some even let themselves into my student housing when I was out. I had to get my housemates to kick them out. They posted articles using quotes from the petition and my facebook, quoting me, even though I refused to talk to them. They said I was her best friend. Something I never claimed. She was my friend, but I felt guilty for not being there. One of our mutual friends messaged me accusing me of just wanting the fame and told me that apparently everyone knows I never cared or I would have been there. I don’t blame her. From her perspective, I didn’t come across as the grieving friend. She saw what the reporters put forward to make a story, as opposed to me locking my bedroom door, screaming into my bed and begging people I barely knew to get the reporters to leave. I still can’t shake the guilt. I shouldn’t have posted the petition in the first place. It was thoughtless. But that was all, thoughtless. Not malicious. I have to remind myself that every day.
I’ve never known guilt and pain like that. I felt as if my heart could stop. Not in anticipation. But like my entire body was just ready to die. Not to commit suicide, just stop living. I had dreams, and still have them on occassion, about her murder, about her. Sometimes she talks to me, sometimes she forgives me, others she doesn’t. After experiencing all of that I find it hard to care about a lot. It’s as if all of my emotion was spent and all I’m left with is guilt, anger and sometimes I feel OK. But happiness, love, all of those are gone. It’s been 5 years. How do you even start to be OK?