I am writing this post on the 19th, the day before I am due to leave for my trip. I know the days are going to be hectic and I want to make sure this post is made properly.
Today is five years since Will’s left us.
The weekend before I left, I was properly packing Will’s things away. Paul had put them in the attic right after the funeral so I could function. I knew I should get around to putting them in plastic boxes so Bowie could have mementoes of his father’s life when he was older. I kept putting it off.
I knew it was time.
It still did not make it any easier. I wept the whole time.
I went through boxes of things that Will never unpacked when he moved up here. Unopened posts, school notebooks, old clothes, odd socks, pictures, so much of his life just frozen in time and smelling like attic.
Like someone’s grandmother.
But he was in his thirties. He will never be old. He will be young and vibrant in our memories for as long as there are people around that remember him.
Will took so many photographs. He had a point of view that I wish he shared with more people. He stopped taking pictures a long time before he met me.
Mostly he just carried the camera around with him. And bought gadgets to fiddle with.
Years before he knew me, when he was still in university, he liked to take pictures of himself.
He did so to try new techniques with lighting and editing. I am glad he did – I have many pictures to look at because of it.
I wonder if he ever looked at the images and saw how beautiful he was?
While sorting, I found this tiny notebook that made me so very sad. He wrote about our first time together with my friends (our second time being together). I had put together a party (dubbed “the cupcake party”). It was a large gathering (and so it is said, the last one I have ever had), perhaps 40-50 people came? I was celebrating his arrival in our group. Everyone was super excited to meet him.
His perception of the gathering was not the way I remember it…
How he could think that he was not wanted or that he did not belong? This theme continues in every single journal that I picked up. He thought that my friends were judging him (sound familiar?) and that I was too good for him and that he would never be enough.
This breaks my fucking heart.
It is hard for me to remember when things were good with us because they were incredibly painful for a long time. I did not abandon him because I know what that feels like.
I only left in the end because the emotional toll of being screamed at for 12 hours a day, every day was making me hate myself enough to want to die.
I had just lost a baby. Bowie was a high needs infant as it was. We had no help. Something had to give.
I never stopped caring about him. I was just afraid of what was going to happen next.
I do not talk about Will very much. He is a part of my life that I packed away because I did not know how to deal with the scorch marks that were left behind.
I am ashamed. I cut everyone out of my life because I did not want anyone to know how bad things got. I could have walked away at any time. I did not. I stayed because it is what traumatised people do. It feels normal.
I could have spared my whole family from the trauma that they now have to carry.
We try to think of the good times so we can live in the present and not dwell on the mistakes that we have made. But trauma does not work like that. Trauma is a drum beat on loop that plays in the background over and over again like a song featuring Skrillex. It could be a totally different situation, one you have never experienced before but give it a second – ah! there!… drop the base! Your old tune!
You can meditate on it, have a Tibetan chant and climb whatever mountain is the coolest, most enlightened one right now and do 9 hours of yoga on it. Until you understand that you need help, you are going to fuck up every person you care about whether you like it or not.
You meet your match in every other broken human. It is like Mortal Kombat. Which one will be the one to finish you off?
Brutal cynism and lack of mental health care aside, I wish Will was here to watch his glorious son grow up. My goodness, he would have such a laugh from his sass! We could not have named him better, Will!
Goddamn it, I am sitting here, crying and I realise I am still angry at you. You did not have the right to leave me here to do this alone. You wanted this. How was this for me to handle?
I mean, I get it. I know you were in pain BUT SO WAS I.
so am i.
And I stick around. Every single day. Some days are really amazing… if you close your eyes just right they shimmer and glow like orbs from the cosmos.
I have done some weird-ass shit. I have been all over the place. And ugh, we had a pandemic! I guess I will tell you about it… another day.
You are missed, Will.
Jesus. Five years?