Today's topic is one close to my heart; everyone I would imagine must have a funeral that resonates with them regardless how heartfelt it must be. This next addition to my memory journal is a poignant part of my life that could never be forgotten. It is an event that shaped my adolescence, it changed things dramatically within our family then and forever.
I remember the funeral, it was my brother Craig's. He died way to soon, joining the growing statistics of a nation's road toll. I remember how unexpected it must have been, how it tore my mother's heart right out from under her ribs, no warning, no nothing. As for my father, his soul was robbed in vein, hopeful it would reach and protect his little boy who was now lost forever. And for me, well my life became empty, insignificant, guilt creeping through every artery, reminding me I have a future and he doesn't.
At eighteen-years of age Craig had lost his life, the autopsy proved a ruptured spleen to be the cause, the cause for turning our families life into sudden turmoil, the cause for sending my parents into a dark place they cannot explain, that I don't understand, where they never return the same again. My parents have lost their only son, and me an only brother; instantly transforming me into an only child.
I couldn't fully appreciate the preparations that went into organising a funeral, or how to choose an appropriate song to mark eighteen-years of life taken away too soon, how could I was still just a kid. I didn't know how or why my parent's chose the song Bridge over troubled waters, by Simon and Garfunkel. I didn't know why they chose such a gut wrenching tribute for someone's life, and how every time that tune, those words 'I will lay me down, were played, raised a depth of despair that taught a sixteen-year old how to grieve.
Inside the church, away from the playful heat of the sun, was a long walk past endless rows of empty pews leading to the open coffin. Standing alongside the coffin, alongside my brother for the last time, my mother stood opposite me, sobbing, shrinking. We both stared into a silk-lined casket that hugged Craig's sleepy body. He wore a scar above his eyebrow, his lips desperate for a lick from a chapstick; the result of a Noosa summer. I wanted to give him one last kiss goodbye but the force of fear kept me from doing so. I will always regret submitting to that fear.
I remember standing at the graveside as Craig's casket was intrusted into the dry cavity of the ground we surrounded. My father pulled at me angrily, bringing me closer to the edge, too close, did he wish it was me being lowered instead, like I wished it was? I was drained, my life had been sucked out and spat out; irretrievable.