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Alex, taken circa end of 2000

This is day 3 of the 30 Days of Truth blog series.  Day 3 : Something you have to forgive yourself for.

I have to forgive myself that my last words to my brother, on the night he died, were harsh.  I’d told him it was time he pulled his head out of his backside and realised that his forgetting to make note in either a diary or on a calendar of important details like appointments impacted not just on him but on those of us he was relying on to be his spokesperson as well as the place he didn’t show up at.   To say I was pissed off with him would be an understatement, as I got informed of the irritation and disruption my brother had created in not remembering to attend by a receptionist who was clearly on her last nerve for the day.  I can understand that, I’ve worked for medical people pretty much all my working life, I can sympathise with her feelings, if not her attitude over the phone with what was effectively, a customer.   After I’d thanked her for her time and effort, I called my brother.

Calling my brother on the phone back then was something of a challenge, as he was deaf and had only just that week got hearing aids after 2 years of waiting.  I had to hope that one of his flatmates was home to hear the phone, I had to then hope that he actually had the hearing aids in so I could communicate, and I had to chuckle about the inevitable comments about hearing ear snakes that he’d encouraged the flatmates to continue on with.  (To put this in context, snakes don’t actually have ears per se, so to have a ‘hearing ear snake’ is something of a joke).

Lo, the longest flatmate was home (he & brother had been flatting together for over 3 years, and had their own joke to tell about social services assuming they were in a relationship and so therefore flatmate could take over the financial support for brother); brother was duly handed the phone with the admonishment to “turn your flipping ears on mate” and I was able to relay the receptionist’s message, almost complete with tone and complete with my own final words.

I woke up at around 4am the following morning, I think from a nightmare, I can’t say for sure.  I went to the loo, grabbed some water and went back to bed.  At 9.30am I jumped from the shower, shampoo in my hair,  to answer the phone, something I generally don’t do.  It was longest flatmate, and he sounded scared.  By 11am, I was sitting in the rain in their back yard, smoking one of longest flatmate’s cigarettes, being supportive as he tried so very hard not to cry or lose it completely.  His best friend, my brother, was dead.  Died in his sleep.  A good death.  He could have been driving and caused more deaths. He could have been on life support at the hospital for weeks.  But, he got that offer from Death one more time, in the comfort of his bed, and he took it.  He climbed up on Death’s horse Binky, and they headed off together.  He was 26.

Something I have to forgive myself for?  Not ending my phone call with my usual “take care and I’ll see you tomorrow night for the wrestling on Sky TV.”
I watched it that night, even though I don’t like it.  And he was there with me.   I said sorry to him, but I still have to forgive myself, 9 years later.