25 June 2006

Well it appears every year on this date I wake up at around 2 or 3am and think about Ryan. What had he been doing right now on that morning that changed our lives forever? Had he been awake the whole night? waiting? or had he set an alarm? Did he know he was going to take his life that morning or was it done in an impulsive moment? Why did he take his life at that time in his life? When things finally seemed to be going well for him? At the one time when we all least expected it…

I know it’s silly to dwell on these types of questions I will never know the answer to, and I don’t for too long… but I just cant help but wonder for a bit every year…

I will never forget that morning… Waking up in my bed in Candlewood Close to the sound of my phone ringing. It was Brendan, telling me Ryan was dead. All I could hear were my mother’s wailing screams behind him as I tried to clarify exactly what he was telling me. He said my dad had just phoned them and an ambulance was on the way to his house. We would be leaving ASAP to go to my dad’s house where my brother lived. I don’t remember getting dressed or driving there but remember the utter confusion and desperation to know for sure. I don’t understand.. my brother is dead? Did they know if he was really dead? How did they know? I had seen him out from overdosing so many times before, it always looked like it was too late…

We arrived and my father led us to his garage where my brother sat… propped up by the back seat in his car… lifeless. There is no mistaking a dead body. I know this now. He was my brother but he also wasn’t… In physical form it was him but there was still a knowing deep within that knew something was missing. A spirit. A soul…

I remember feeling my body and mind go cold. Numb. If I could describe it… almost like a protective veil was shutting me off from fully engaging in this moment.  Watching my mother’s legs buckling from under her as she took in the sight of my brother. The utter desperation and anguish taking over her completely as she lay over him screaming and crying. The pain and disbelief in my father’s eyes. Vaguely aware of my father and mother comforting each other.  I needed to walk away. Get away from this garage of overwhelming heartbreak. I needed to speak to someone. Needed to tell someone.  I walked to the curb near the park and sat down to phone Nix.. my one close friend who had briefly dated my brother in High School.

I don’t remember talking to her or even what I said… just that I could finally cry when she answered the phone.. I was so glad she picked up as it was about 6am. Afterward I went back inside and sat with Ryan while my parents spoke to the police. I wanted to remember everything about him.  I looked at his hands.. fingers… His face.. took in the scars and marks of his life that I knew so well. Tried to memorize every detail. The rest of the day seemed to pass in a blur aside from the visit to the mortuary which is burned in my memory and something I hope I never have to do ever again in my life. Identifying a body on a cold hard table through a window has got to be the cruelest last look at someone you love!

I was very grateful in these moments that our last meeting had been one of support and love…

We had a difficult relationship and had not seen or spoken to each other for the previous 6 months due to a fight. The last day I saw him had been the day of Ossi’s funeral, two weeks earlier.  The best thing about real love between family and friends is the ability to set aside differences when you really need each other. We had spent most of our lives fighting but when it was important, he was always my big brother ❤