person = person.
person + drug = different person
there was a time a few years ago when Mike lived at home with us.
Every so often, we would get a midnight phonecall. A drunken Mike had got into some kind of scrape. Tried to jump off a building, or had the crap beaten out of him/beaten the crap out of someone. He's done himself real harm before today, and there were times where his rampages put us in danger too. But somehow, he'd got through and once sober, was back to his usual self.
I understand the compulsion to do self destructive shit. It's a behaviour I've engaged in many times.
Mike had problems for years. He longed for a normal life. The whole family/home/job deal. Eventually he got something like it, living with Jenny, and having a child, Zach. Yet it couldn't banish the demons.
On Friday night, Mike had been out with Jenny for a birthday party. He'd been drinking spirits. He left early.
Some time later, Jenny came home to find him hanging from the bannister. She cut him down and phoned 999. Mike wasn't breathing. The emergency people talked her through how to do CPR, and the police and paramedics arrived. They continued to work on Mike as they took him to hospital, and there the work continued for about an hour before finally, Mike was pronounced dead.
I'd like to think he didn't really mean it. Maybe he thought Jenny would be back sooner, or that he'd be able to get out of what he got into. I know he wouldn't have done it if he'd been sober.
I went out to my monthly backgammon meeting on Friday night. I'd been up since 7 that morning, so I was very tired when I got home from Liverpool. Bren was watching Suburgatory on the telly. I went into my cave and went on the internet. About midnight, the phone rang. It was my other step-son, Alex. We knew straight away that it would be something to do with Mike. I must confess, my initial thought was "For fuck's sake, Mike. What now?" Alex couldn't tell us much more than that Mike had been taken to Arrowe Park hospital. I would have gone with Bren, but I should have been working early next morning, so Bren went on her own. She even took a book with her, expecting it to be the usual long wait in A and E while they patched him up.
I stayed up for half an hour or so, then went to bed. Lying there, somehow I had a sense of foreboding but eventually I slept. I was woken by Bren about 3 in the morning. She didn't beat around the bush.
"Mike's dead." She said. "He hung himself."
Dark dark dark. I sent texts to the pupils I was supposed to teach yesterday, cancelling. We cried. We slept. A little. I was shaking with shock. Bren was in a strange place. Too numb to feel anything at all.
We woke early to find nothing had changed. It wasn't going to go away.
We went for a walk along the shore while we were killing time. I looked out at the wide expanses of sea and sky. There were black clouds over New Brighton.
Bren's daughter, Lisa, had been staying in Liverpool, and we had no way of seeing her. We knew she was coming home the next morning and wanted to tell her face to face, rather than by phone, and Bren was scared that someone would post something on facebook. So we went for a walk, then headed to the house in Wallasey.
Lisa hadn't heard. Bren told her. More fucked up despair and disbelief.
A lot of people knew by then, but nobody had said anything on social media until either his girlfriend, Jenny, or Bren had said something publicly.
Bren said goodbye to him on facebook this morning and finally had a good cry. A premonition to doing it for real when he has his funeral.
As far as that's concerned, we don't know anything about that just yet. Until the coroner releases the body, we can't make any arrangements.
Right now, the initial raw grief and shock have subsided a little. It will take a long time before things get back to any kind of normal though. It takes very little to make the tears flow.
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