As we pack up…well actually I pack up, and the partner moves around the house making it look like he’s packing up…yes, I know your steez! lol…we came across ‘the bro’s’ “box”. Well, not really ‘came across’ either…we know exactly where he has been…in our house! We’ve had him here with us for nearly 2 years. And he’s been dead, nearly 3; and me and the partner got to talking, as we do.
‘the bro’ is one of the partners very bestest friends…I call them BFFs, but that’s apparently not very manly…so ‘bros’ it is. There were 3 of them in their ‘pack’ and they’ve been friends nearly all his life. Each one of them make up a very quirky whole. And whenever they got together it was beyond funny to watch…but quite a mesmerizing blessing to be part of.
Anyways, the bro in the box, topped himself nearly 3 years ago. I’ve written about him before, and generally try not to delve into his story…as its his story, and he can’t tell it anymore. But as it pertains to me…well, that’s different. And as it pertains to my relationship with his ‘bro’, my partner, that’s a different thing too.
When the partners bro topped himself there was the disbelief phase, the tears, the grief, the anger…all in circles and roundabouts they came. He left behind 4 beautiful children; then nearly 3 all the way up to nearly 17. The kids had their dad for a year…and is the ‘custom’ (loosely said…), he was supposed to be put in the ground after that year had passed.
There was disagreement about where he should lay…whose urupa (family cemetery) he should be at. But these disagreements were just the tip of the ice berg(s) really. Some of the family said he shouldn’t be buried anywhere because of what he had done to himself. Some said he shouldn’t be cremated and left in the box to be sitting on a shelf somewhere (that somewhere is our house btw!).
But what prevails really…is denial, grief and anger.
And me. My point of view. For the family…I get it. Both sides. His and theirs. But he’s dead now. And he’s gathering dust on our shelf. How respectful is that to anyone?
Then theres the ‘my’ opinion pertaining to ‘the partner’.
I watch him wrangling with denial and disbelief…and then swinging into anger and grief and disbelief. He asks himself ‘why’ and ‘wtf’ in the most manly of ways lol. And that hurts me. Seeing him hurt.
And then theres the ‘mine and the partners’ view of the whole thing.
When the bro arrived here, I blessed his box and gave him the rules (yes I believe the dead can still hear us). I told him if he played up he’d have to go to the shed. Then we made room for him on the shelf in our lounge. The partner put his bros photo up and a few mementos. A miniature shrine is what we ended up with. But it was only going to be for a year…while the daughters decided where their dad should be laid to rest.
We deal with the grief differently than most I suppose. Don’t get me wrong…we’ve done our fair share of ‘why would he do that to himself…to his family…to his BFFs’. And then we talk to the bro…usually call him an asshole or a fuckwit followed by generally taking the piss out of the whole situation…we’ll tell him he can pick his task for the week…door stop…or foot rest…or cup holder…then we say to him, ‘hey if you’re gonna stay here, you need to pull your weight…’, all with a bit of a tear and a laugh. But under all that jest…it hurts the partner…more than me. I hurt, because he hurts. And laughter helps him to process all that stuff that he can’t explain sometimes…
But now, nearly 2 years have gone by and the bro has gathered dust on the shelf…and I wonder why they haven’t asked for him?
And that’s what me and the partner got to talking about.
For all the family’s disagreements about where their son, father, uncle, nephew…should lay to rest…none of them have actually faced that he is still here. That this dude topped himself. He thought to do that…because he was sad, because he couldn’t see a way out, because…we don’t know. Yes they may feel that it was a self fish act of violence against himself and against them…but we will never know…
And leaving him to gather dust on the shelf…
Well, now that’s sad.
For whatever his reasons were, he was a loved friend of the partner. And I get the family’s grief…but I think we get a say now…
So my real opinion, as it pertains to me…and my experience with suicide and death and love and depression and feeling sad and being trapped and…
I think its cruel to leave him locked up in that box for this long…when what he was looking for to begin with was…freedom.
Who are we to keep it from him now?