When I die

My friend Kai died over Christmas. I’m still not quite over it, in the sense that I still haven’t quite processed this information. I keep seeing him everywhere, and it seems normal. Obviously it’s never him, and then I have that stabbing pain in my chest – the combination of grief and guilt from having ‘forgotten’.

His funeral wasn’t good. Obviously funerals generally aren’t, but this one was bad for a number of reasons. Firstly, my boyfriend and I were running late. We managed to get to the crematorium in time, but then my boyfriend’s phone rang. I hissed at him to tell whoever it was to fuck off. It was my daughter’s school; she’d broken her arm in the playground. I fell apart in the car park.

I managed to pull it together enough to get inside the building, and I sat next to one of the girls who volunteered with me and Kai when we were both still supervising the weekend shifts at Oxfam. I hadn’t ever been to a funeral for someone under the age of 70 before and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I wasn’t expecting them to read out Facebook comments instead of having his actual friends get up and pay tribute to his life. I wasn’t expecting the Doctor Who theme to play as the curtain went round and the coffin rolled away. I definitely wasn’t expecting his family to erase any mention of the fact he was gay.

How the fuck do you even manage that? I’m not saying that I was expecting them to go into detail about his sex life, but he did a lot of work for LGBT charities and was heavily involved in various related causes and they just took it all away from him. They just made it sound like he was born, he left school, he worked and then he died. Reduced to a mediocre existence when he was so much more than that.

It answered a lot of questions about why he didn’t get along with his family, though. Fucking hell.

I was thinking about this the other day and I started wondering what would happen at my funeral. Just to be clear, I’m not planning on dying any time soon and I understand that it’s a pretty fucking morbid subject but when you’ve had those kinds of horrible thoughts at any point, it’s only natural that you’d have thoughts about the aftermath of your actions as well. Nothing seems morbid to me anymore.

Would my parents be there? I’ll be honest with you – I don’t even know for certain that both my parents are even still alive right now. I assume they are, but I would have to google it to find out for sure. And I’ll be even more honest – I’m not planning on going to either of their funerals. I don’t want anything to do with them. My grandparents were more like my parents than those two ever were; my mum totally fucked my head up as a child and essentially chose her abusive boyfriend over me, while my dad has the dubious honour of managing to neglect me for most of my life AND get me hooked on drugs. Cheers, guys.

I do feel a bit bad about this, I must admit. It’s not like I reached this decision lightly. I can be a bit flippant about it but it’s only because people make me feel very defensive about it – however, they don’t understand. I’m not going to give them my reasons. It’s fucking personal.

I’ve been back to Grays once since my grandad died, and that was to go to my best friend’s dad’s funeral. I had to beg people for benzos just so I could make the trip. I was convinced that I’d bump into one of my parents or my mum’s boyfriend or something. Shit like that always seems to happen to me. I’m the sort of person who bumps into a neighbour when I go to a different city. Serendipity doesn’t really understand the difference between good and bad; we only call it serendipity when we think it’s good.

I digress. So, would my parents be at my funeral? I guess it depends on whether they knew I was dead or not in the first place. I’ve been ‘missing’ for most of my adult life, excluding the three years or so when I was looking after my grandparents. There have been many times when I could have died and they wouldn’t have known about it. Fuck, there have been times when I could have died and no one would have known about it.

Even now, as sad as it sounds. I haven’t managed to keep many friends over the years because I just disappear, or I retreat into lonely rooms when I can’t cope with life. People give up on you; they stop sending you invites if they think you’re only going to say ‘no’. This is my fault, I need to work on it. I don’t know how.

I’m not really sure what I wanted to say with this post. I wanted to talk about how unfair it is that Kai’s life was reduced to nothing more than a timeline but now I’ve realised that I don’t even have that. The people who know me now don’t know anything about my childhood and the people from my childhood probably wouldn’t even remember me. If you’ve read any of the more personal posts on here then you know me better than 99% of people I’ve ever met in real life. I’m not even on Facebook, so there would be no tributes left on my wall to read out. It’ll be a eulogy composed of tweets I wrote that have been borrowed for lists written by Buzzfeed interns, while ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ by Panic at the Disco plays me out.

I really need to sort my fucking life out.

Sometimes the only thing that really gets you through all the misery of everyday life is the hope of a happy ending, but sometimes the only thing keeping you stuck in that misery is yourself. Why should we wait until the end for our happiness? What’s the point in hope if you don’t take the chances when they make themselves available?

Hope is necessary for humans. Without hope, we’d all fill our pockets up with stones and wander into the sea.
But what use is it on its own?

I am only ever just hopeful enough.

4 comments on “When I die

  1. Just hopeful enough sounds about right – neither pessimistic nor overly optimistic.

  2. By the way, I should have added that I’m sorry about the death of your friend. As I know myself, such things take time to get through and the positives of someone’s life only slowly come through into one’s own.

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