The Red Dress Club's writing prompt this week is to write a piece (fiction or non-fiction) inspired by a song. It can be any song of my choosing.
My cousin Paul strummed his guitar and sang each verse softly. I can't say for sure whether Matt would have picked it had he planned his own eulogy but I think he would have liked that everyone joined in on the chorus. There was something comforting about singing it that day. Not just because it reminded me of Christmas Eve with my cousins, but it gave me something to focus on, finally.
Six days earlier, my younger brother had taken his own life. My Dad had called Shaune at work to tell him. It's not that he couldn't reach me, he said he thought it would be easier to tell Shaune. I was sitting on the recliner, with Deaglan beside me, watching television in those final days of my pregnancy, when Shaune came flying through the door. Naveen inside was seemingly busting at my seams and the recliner was the only comfortable place in the house for me. Shaune's face was wet and I thought it was the rain. It had begun raining about an hour earlier.
After that day, it would rain forever.
Without taking his rain wet shoes off, he came to me and kneeling took my hands. I knew he wasn't proposing, we were already married.
And I realized he was crying. I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen Shaune crying and all I could think was that he must have been fired from his job because he was supposed to be at work.
What? I asked panicking? What?
I have to tell you something he sobbed. Oh, Kim I have to tell you something.
What? my voice rose, What? You're scaring me.
I waited for the punch line. This is good, I thought, better than usual.
He usually only let a joke go for a few seconds. But this was good. The tears, the leaving from work.
The punch line never came.
I didn't believe him of course. How could Matthew be dead? He had just called me Monday night. I was going to call him back the next day. I hated calling him during the week day because I never knew if he had his cell on at work or not. So I was waiting till Saturday.
It's hard to cry when you're in shock so I screamed. And then Shaune and I both sobbed loudly with no tears. When we saw that we were scaring Deaglan we stopped. How could we explain to a two year old why his parents had lost their minds?
I'm amazed to realize that in the span of the next ten days so much had to happen. People had to be notified, funeral arrangements made. Cremation, visitation, pictures printed, tributes written, doctor appointments and midwife visits and baby born.
His friends came from everywhere, beautiful, hurting people. People who had plans with him for the following Monday. People who had seen him just a few nights ago. People he had spoken to that night. And a dear friend who he had flown to see the weekend before.
There were no whispers of he's in a better place now. None of us wanted to believe he was gone. His beautiful friends brought balloons and outside after the service, they handed them out and we released them into the clear blue sky.
And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.