Today marks one week. He's been gone for a week, but I haven't known for a week yet. That will be another few hours.
It was hard to sleep last night. I tried pretty much all the go to sleep and stay asleep tricks in my toolbox. When I wasn't asleep at 1, I made some moves to take a bath, and just as I was on my way out of my bedroom, there was a peal of thunder so loud that it shook me to my core. It sounded like some giant beast dragging a truck down the street. I looked at the time (shouldn't have). It was 1:28, and I know that I'm not going to be able to help myself. I'm going to think of that as the time until something proves to me that I couldn't be right in guessing. It can't be that wrong, though— I know when someone called my brother at 2:30, he didn't answer.
If I were the type to look for signs from a god, they've been there. At the cemetery on Monday, as we were leaving for the repast, there were these beautiful red hawks soaring over head. Dan always loved hawks because of those stupid Animorphs books and the one kid (Tobias?) that got stuck as a hawk.
After I cried to a bunch of IRL friends that I couldn't handle it being cold— between the parallels to my father's funeral (both in the cause of death and it being January when he died), and that I couldn't take the thought of my brother being cold and alone— the days have been warm. I thought Monday, yesterday, and today would be freezing, but each day has been warm and golden. Weatherwise, anyhow. I'm still my very own portable storm cloud.
My sister and I went down to the funeral home again yesterday to sign some paperwork. The woman who'd been helping us with the life insurance (I still don't quite believe that this policy is real, or that they'll pay it out for a suicide, but that's an entry for another time.) has a relative who suffers from pretty serious depression. We talked for a while about it. I recommended CBT, which I'd been trying to get Dan to do for years. He'd had such a bad time with the medication-centric treatment he'd received in high school, that he'd gained a general distrust of therapists. I don't blame him for that; I just wish things were different. I'm glad, though that we could help this incredibly helpful women, who reminded us that we're not responsible for his debts, no matter what companies say, and offered to help with the surrogate's office, "even if you can't do it until a few weeks from now."
None of the stuff that the family meant to go inside the casket made it into the casket because nobody remembered to specifically ask for it. So my sister and I went back to the cemetery. We leaned his fishing pole against our mother's headstone and sat on the ground in a spot where we agreed we should have a bench. We sat and ate the jelly beans that were supposed to go in. And threw a bunch of them.
While we were sitting on the ground, still throwing jelly beans, my sister looked at me and said, "Mel, I just want to lie on the ground," as she's said countless times in the past week. I shrugged. We were already sitting in the grass and dirt. "Want to put your head in my lap?" She nodded and finally got to do the thing it would have been too rude (by her own judgement) to do every other time.
I held her and we both cried for a while like that. And then there were people. Not friends and family, complete strangers who were there to visit another plot. I watched them water their flowers- the communal tap is just across the little road from the family plots. One of the two women started to walk up our plots and I asked, "Can I help you find someone?" They fluttered away.
For a while. My sister and I had moved to a less wailing phase of our visit when they emerged from behind my mother's headstone. "Is this a burial?" one of them asked in incredulous tones. We told her it was our brother and we'd buried him the day before. "Was he sick?" the other all but shouted. We told her depression is an illness and didn't shy away from the word suicide. "Well how can this be a burial here if this is a path?" the first one said— and man this was a fucking entitled statement. I fielded this one.
"See, that's what I have to go down to the office and find out, because I don't think it's actually a path."
"Well, what about these paving stones?"
I explained to her how Brookside actually gives you a lot of freedom with your landscaping and outlined how my uncle had put the paving stones in, along with all the trees behind me when our mother died. I pointed out that she'd actually walked right over my mother and grandmother to get here.
"Well, I wish they would maintain this better."
I explained how the grass has never grown on my mother's grave. They've resodded it every year and it just dies. Though, I certainly hadn't realized that everyone was in the habit of walking on it instead of using the actual paved path that was not 30 feet away from our plot.
Thinking back on this now, I don't understand how I didn't tell her off. But I was actually very sweet and polite through the whole conversation. I chalk it up to Dan being perpetually friendly to strangers.
My sister and I do have to go back to the office. We want to close it off just a little bit. Maybe I'll mention the garbage I used to find when I'd visit my mom in high school and college. And for god's sake, someone has to diagram this crazy plot for me. I can't for the life of me figure out how there are 9 burial plots in there. And then there's the headstone, because we're not just engraving his name under my mother's. My brother 1- deserves his fucking own stone and 2- does not fall under my mother's maiden name like that.
Besides, no one from that side of the family showed up, save a pair of second cousins from Long Island who came to the wake briefly. So, fuck listing him as one of them right out loud when my father's family was there through the whole thing to pay their respects and give support.
I'm really mad about that, aren't I? What do I expect, though, from the family of a woman (my grandmother) who never permitted her mother to meet her children? I see more and more why my sister and I pretty much don't talk to them.