A solitary quiet moment in 2015 in granny’s kitchen when she’s shuffled off to the bathroom. A respite and yet always a premonition of the emptiness of her kitchen without her in it. Sister post to “yellow roses // to love, and to remember” (January 2015).
on an old graveyard, I found you again
after we lost you in January
the sun on my face, the gravestones shining
names and numbers, years, lived, and ended
love and loss, permeating the air, shimmering
and you in the midst of it all
with me, wherever I go
the oldest source of my life
Occasionally, when I have a melancholy phase, I go back and continue googling your name. It feels almost compulsive: your name, combined with your home town, or with the name of your Tibia character; your name with or without “Tibia”, or your birth name that you never really used online; together with terms of the things I knew you to like – an open tibia server, a page to post code, anything; different combinations, always hoping I’ll stumble over something new I have missed before.
I must know more about you and who you were, because that is my duty as someone you left behind who knew you well.
Because I am the only one who can do it from this angle –
Or am I? I don’t even know, and I wish that were different;
And in a way, I hope that it will never be different. I hope that I can never fully accept that you are gone, because that way, you remain with me down here in my duty, and I will keep you here.
And all this is horribly self-centered and does not have much to do with anything that means anything for you, but you are gone, so what can I do, right?
It’s true what they say, that time stands still for – or maybe “about” is better – so, about the one who is dead.
You were a 23-year old person when you died, half boy, half man.
You posted the source code of your bot for Tibia, written in C#, on GitHub on the 28th of June, 6 days before you took your own life.
The year was 2013.
I downloaded the two projects. You named both “initial release”.
I’ll turn 24 in 7 months.
There must be a message in those folders, in the code. I wish there was. I will keep looking.
After a while, I think it would even be neat if the message turned out to be that you wanted to keep your work, the one thing you were passionate about, from getting lost.
It would be neat if I could believe in this message as something that is left of you in this world, a little treasure, and if I could beat the doubts that reading this action as a message is just a reflection of my melodramatic expectations. That I am just reading meaning into sort of half-intentional actions you happened to perform to keep boredom and frustration at bay in those last days. But when a few days are all that is left of you in this world, every little thing does become meaningful.
Maybe that is okay.
One day I will be old, maybe 80 years old, and maybe I will have children and grandchildren.
But you will always be 23.
Maybe that will never be okay, but maybe that, in turn, is okay.
I have not talked with you during the last 2 years of your life for fear of hurting you more, but I miss you.
26th August 2013
The grammatical form is already wrong. How is it his death? Nothing belongs to him anymore, not even his death. The only thing there is left are memories and other modifications of reality left behind by the person, caused before the point in time that marks his death. What does it mean then, “Crille’s death”? It means something of a quite different grammatical form, it means something like “This person cannot be found in reality anymore and other beings will be sad and confused because they cannot find him and they cannot comprehend just how and why”.
August 2013 – April 2014
The human being who had been my boyfriend and fiancé for nearly 6 years of my youth and early adulthood decided to take his life. He jumped in front of a train on the 3rd of July 2013,
nearly two months ago 9 months ago. These are photos recollections from and about my time in his home town in Sweden around the days of the funeral a month after his death.
I stayed in Surahammar for two nights and went for an evening walk through the town on both days. With first the streets, then the fields and trees slowly darkening around me, everything felt both oddly familiar and strangely new. I had never been in this part of town by foot with Crille, and I didn’t know whether he would have found it as neat and soothing as I did.
On the first evening walk, I tried to reach the countryside church to look at it before the funeral, but didn’t make it before night broke in.
On the second night, after the funeral, I ran there to make it before it would be too dark to find the way back home. It is a beautiful churchyard, with a splendid view going out over a river flowing by down the gravestone-adorned meadows, and on sunny days, you’re nearly blinded by the glistening of the sun on the river shimmering through the birch leaves when standing next to the empty meadow space yet only reserved for his grave.
The sun always goes down so magnificently in Sweden; but maybe it is just because the horizon is visible much deeper when you’re standing on a small hill with no city houses around, or because I idealise the days I spent in Sweden.
I don’t know whether he would have liked it as much. He did seem to enjoy the calm on a summery day in nature, but he didn’t have any particular feelings for nature for its own sake. I always wished he would.
But then I can’t even know, maybe he had feelings of his own that were simply different from mine and not translatable.
It was very strange and very beautiful to be back in his hometown after 3 years, to see all the places I had been with him before and to meet his family and to smell the all-too-familiar scent of the flat he had been living in with his mom and little brother. Nowadays, his brother has moved out months ago and his mother is the same as always, just so downcast, so downcast, and I cried a lot more than her when we met because her despondency and the weight of the scents and sights and the way the wind feels in that town crushed down on me with all the weight that is left behind by someone who is no longer there.
His mother, I got the feeling, didn’t have a clue about how to deal with it and instead just did it as she went, and I reckon I did the same.
I spent the evening before the funeral eating with her and her partner, a meal full of tears and memories. She showed me the death notice they had put up in the local newspapers and I gave her a usb stick with all the photos I had from all the years of being together with her son.
In his room, on his strangely empty desk what with his computer no longer there, there were flowers and sympathy cards. His bed was made with a pair of jeans and a hoodie jacket neatly on top. His mom told me that he had left it like that, and that she often spent the nights sitting there and hugging the clothes. When I later mentioned that the hoodie jacket was one I had once given him for christmas, she offered me to take it with me and keep it. That was gracious and beautiful, and it’s in my wardrobe now and sometimes I wear it at home as though there was nothing strange about it, and sometimes I don’t know how to touch it.
She also showed me a drawer he still had with things that belonged to me, small letters, drawings, a notepad with notes and homework from my school time. Like the me from yesterday would come back like every holiday. I don’t have a clue how he felt about me during the last two years. It would not have been unlike him to simply have forgotten those items in the drawer and never need the space, because everything that meant something to him was on his computer anyway (or, of course, in his heart and head).
His mother told me that the autopsy revealed that there had been no drugs, no alcohol or other foreign substances in his system when he took his life. She said that it is a relief, because that means that it was his own decision to take his life, and that is something she has to accept, and it is easier if it is what he decided to will by himself.
I agree, and at the same time I cannot fathom what his body must have looked like after meeting a train. I sometimes wonder whether he died from the collision, or was run over and whether there was some kind of slicing, or just impact, or whatever. Who found him. Whether his mother or brother had to identify him. Did he carry an ID with him so they might be spared that?
What did he think of in the last moments of his life anyway?
I find myself wondering these things sometimes, and more often I find myself managing way too easily to simply not think about them, and I was too scared to ask.
“I fell asleep in the chair by the fireplace
And I woke up in the kitchen sink
With an umbrella full of holes overtop my head and
I fell asleep on the table with your picture in hand
And I woke up in the cupboard
With some scrapes on my arms and a mouthful of hell
Chains are rattling in the attic again
And the birds are building nests in the windowsill
Dust has settled over everything
And the ceiling fan still cuts a lazy circle
I got a picture on the mantle piece
Of the way that I thought that we’d end up
But this shares no resemblance to that
Yeah, this shares no resemblance to that at all
I tore the dreams from my head and tossed them in the flames
And the smoke smelled like my past
And it stung my eyes, but I was too stubborn to blink and
I slept inside the piano ’till the rain was gone
And I woke up when I saw the sun
And wiped the sleep from my eyes
Yeah, I knew my time had come
We’re all still a part of everything that we were
And we’ll all float along with everything
And in turn, we’ll all fall apart with everything
But we’ll learn just what things are like outside our heads
And I hear them singing
And I hear my name
And I feel you scrub my skin
And I was happy to fade”
Strange. When I saw the photo in full size in the folder with photos from the day of the funeral, shortly afterwards, it seemed to me to perfectly depict my predominant feelings. Now it feels just strange to have a self-shot in the middle of these lyrics. But that’s my face, and that’s my emotion, and the song that I connect most with it all. So there goes.
This week’s Tuesday, we had to put to sleep our family cat Isis after 13 beautiful years together.
She had been diagnosed with a tumor in her jaw exactly three weeks ago after my sister had seen something oddly-coloured when Isis yawned and had brought her to the vet. This Monday, before I left my parents’ place for my hometown, I convinced her to eat something, despite the by now visible bulge on her jaw, by splashing around in the food and saying gentle things. That was the last time she really ate something.
My parents called our vet in tears to make an appointment for putting her down at home on Tuesday afternoon when Isis’ belly kept on rumbling, being hungry but not able to eat. The doctor didn’t really have time though and could only come right away.
I went back to my parents’ place that same evening and we buried Isis in the garden.
Thinking about it and looking back, the most confusing thing about all this is that I feel I don’t understand her death. I haven’t been living with my parents for the past 3 1/2 years, so not seeing Isis regularly is normal for me and the feeling of her real, permanent absence hasn’t really reached me yet. There is an intense, deep sadness I feel about the loss when I think about it, but also so much incomprehension. What has happened? How can someone, something living die? I understand the rational part, how the heart stops beating, the blood stops flowing, and the brain is not reached by the necessary substances to continue working any more; I have seen her dead body and touched it, feeling it to be somewhat cool and too stiff to be alive, feeling it to not react to my touch – but what has happened? There is this apparent infinity – how can a personality, its thoughts, memories, all this that makes each living being special, just vanish? Where has it gone to? And if it has gone to nowhere – and it hasn’t – then what is its reality? I understand what has happened, but I don’t understand.
That Tuesday evening, I spent with my parents in their kitchen, listening to soothing music; everyone reading, internetting and copying photos at their own pace. We all need our time to understand and learn to live with it.