I sat in the living room. It was a sunny day, the 1st of June. The television was on but no one was watching it. I sat on the cream leather armchair in silence, complete stiffness surged my body. Lily, my cousin, sat on the couch across the room. Her legs folded in and 'Indian' position. John, sat lifeless on the armchair, all of us staring into space. My nine-teen year old cousin who always acted so strong and tough was on the brink of breaking down. The muffled sounds of the TV filled the entire house. Jill walked in like a zombie. Having been told the news by my uncle when she came back from her run, she was hysterical.
"Why? Why?!" she moaned, her legs shaking, her face drenched with tears. As she fell to her knees John sprung off the couch. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her up, holding her close to him.
The tears I had fought off for so long began to drip out. I sat watching my beloved aunt break down at the tragedy that had occurred early that morning. Her nephew was gone. In the moment Jill's son supported her, the true love of a family shone bright. On what was possible one of the worst days of my life, I finally realised just how important family truly is. We needed to pull ourselves together to be able to offer support to our poor relatives whose youngest had just taken his own life.
"Please God may it never darken our door," my aunt always said, touching wood, any time the topic came up.
That evening we went to the house, a day, weekend, I will never,ever forget, not even one detail. John and his dad had been to collect Patrick from college. The cousins all gathered in the sitting room, not knowing what to say or do. There were too many of us sitting in shock to name. Again, the TV was on simply just for background noise, something to fill the deafening silence. The aunts and uncles stood in the kitchen, not know what to say or do. Not knowing how to help James and his wife Julie who had just lost one of their children
"Come on lads," my mam said softly appearing at the door way.
Slowly, we all stood up and exited the room one by one. The sun still shone bright, on this dark day. One by one was lined up to see him. My aunts and uncles all ahead of us. His mother sitting on a chair in the sitting room, his father shuffling from foot to foot. This was our first time seeing him. Sean was ahead of me, it was soon my turn to see him. As I approached the coffin I admired the Gaelic football that had been place at the bottom of the oak box. A set of rosary beads were wrapped around his hands which were cuffed and lay gently on the town flag that was placed over him. A sportsman. A tear rolled down my cheek as I got to the top of the coffin. Leaning down I kissed his forehead, catching a glimpse of the red marks that peeked over the top of his shirt collar.
I joined everyone else out the back, exiting through the conservatory door. Now unable to control my emotions my cousin wrapped his arm around my shoulder. No one knew what to do, no one knew what to say, no one knew anything. His brother and sister could barely speak to anyone. This went on for three days. What could we do but sit there and chat amongst ourselves. A mixture of different emotions filled each one of us at different times - anger, grief, pity, sorrow. Why did he do it? What happened? If only...
What amazed me the most was on the day of the funeral. As drove slowly behind the hearse through our small town as group of bikers came against us. Before even nearing the hearse the stopped, turned off their engines and sat in peace, silence, as we drove passed. It felt like in that exact moment, the whole world stood still, for that split second we were the only ones moving. The respect and pity that came with that event froze time. Everyone else seemed to stand still for that thirty second interval, while we moved closer to saying goodbye.
We cry over small things. We cry over happy things. We laugh over happy things. We laugh at stupid things. Often we laugh at sad things because we don't know what to do. The only thing they have in common; why?
Please note that this is a true event that happened two and a half years ago. To this day I can see every detail of this horrible time in my life, even parts of it I have not described. I have changed the names of my family but it happened exactly as described above.