Sun, 21 Jun 2015 23:56:53 GMT
I need to put this in my journal, because I'm sure over the years ahead some details will fade if they haven't already.
A month ago, my closest and dearest friend Lara Galante/tinycorvid died. A little under a week ago I attended her funeral. It still doesn't feel real. It was closed casket, as you might expect after so long a wait for burial, so in a way she has simply vanished from my life. I watched a wicker box that could have contained anything or anyone lowered into the ground. She's just.. gone. Her Skype accounts just sit at "away" now, and likely will forever onward since MS made the choice to set accounts to away unless explicitly signed out of. Her public Twitter account was deleted at some point, apparently in the week or weeks before she died. It's now well past the opportunity to restore it. Her private account sits as less than a year of recorded sadness and frustration. Her Facebook wall is now just a list of mourners messages to her memory.
Most days she was the first person I spoke to in the morning and the last person I spoke to at night. She was always there to talk with and support each-other. It's a horrible irony that she is the person I would have gone to for comfort and understanding if someone else I knew had died. It feels like half of me has gone with her, and whenever I get the urge to try and talk it out with someone else, it feels like I'm trying to replace her.
Nothing has ever made me wish I believed in an afterlife as much as this.
In the few days before I last heard from her, her mood had been worsening. I had been trying to find somewhere else she could stay for a prolonged period, where she'd get active support in getting her life back together. She seemed to be getting a serious fatalistic attitude about where her life was going. Her isolation was making it worse.
The last I heard from her was the morning of Wednesday, May 20th, saying she'd been awake all night and was going to sleep all day. The first inkling I had that something was wrong was in the evening. She still hadn't replied to messages I'd sent. I still hadn't heard anything by the Thursday morning and called the police. I was concerned that maybe she had harmed herself, or perhaps hurt herself in one of her fainting episodes.
The police knocked at three times through the day but did not force entry. While I understand they cannot kick in a door on the demand of a random telephone voice from across the country, I can't help but remember with anger how the officer talked about how nice the front door was and how it'd be a shame to break it in.
I was advised not to nag them, but it felt like it was the only way to encourage them to check at all.
I called to check again on friday evening and got a different reply. Less conversational. More official. They took my number again but carefully omitted that they would get officers to check again. I knew this meant they'd found her and something was seriously wrong. At half past midnight I got a call from a CID officer.
Her husband had come home in the afternoon and found her body. She had appeared to have died in her sleep, and had been dead for at least 24 hours.
And I fell apart.
I left desperate messages on her Skype, wanting it not to be real. I forgot myself and left a message on her Facebook, which broke the news to her circle there. Because Facebook is stupid.
Everything since has been conducted through that site, and with her Twitter gone I took it upon myself to try and let everyone I could know. I didn't want her to just vanish without a trace. She considered herself worthless so many times, I wanted her to be remembered, not just fade away.
This last month has taken so much out of me. The funeral was a beautiful nightmare. She would have loved the woodland burial, the flowers and the birds. But she's not there to anymore.
I don't know if I'm hedging my bets or just need to do something symbolic for myself, but I bought a set of beautiful dried crows wings to place with her. I had hoped to place them in the coffin with her, but as I said, it was understandably closed casket. They went down on top of it. Under one wing were a couple of coins and a brass note to her I engraved. The headstones there are loosely placed and I can't imagine them staying put over the centuries. With that brass note though, perhaps whatever future archaeologist digs her up will know her name now, and how much she was loved.
The coroner couldn't find a cause of death. It appears my fear of suicide may have been replaced by something worse.
She fought her bad lot in life at every turn. And it feels like in the end life itself cheated, and just took her when she couldn't fight back. If she had killed herself I could accept it; at least it would have been her choice. But it feels like life simply got tired of her fighting back.
And all I can do now is sit and replay it in my mind; trying to think of what I could have done differently, how I could have saved her. Fantastic fantasy scenarios haunt me. I just want my best friend back.
She was always there for me. And I wasn't there for her. Not enough, not fast enough, not persuasive enough.
We get used to people being a particular way. It lessens the urgency of their struggles. We're spoilt, the lot of us. We've all gotten this idea that just listening is "helping". Whenever people have said they'd like to help me, what they always mean is they will listen to me talk out what's on my mind. And I didn't realise I was doing the same, when I should have been physically, materially, helping her. We, all her friends, were all used to her being in dire straights and all assumed that just listening and talking was helping. If we weren't all so spoilt to think deigning to lend our precious ears for a few minutes was all the help someone could need, maybe she'd be alive today.
I have no idea what I'm going to do without you Lara. Half of me has gone with you.