I had left a message on another friend’s phone yesterday. I know that G lost her brother through suicide years ago, so I want to talk to her rather than leaving a text message to explain why I won’t be able to make the monthly lunch-date with herself and J on Thursday. She sounds very upset and I feel my news must have brought back her own sad memories. Tomorrow, I should have been attending an audition for ‘The Weakest Link’ in Liverpool. I had emailed them to cancel and receive a very understanding email in reply.Wednesday 26th August
Paddy and I go for another long walk. It looks as if it will be a fine day as I sit in the garden afterwards, drinking my coffee.
This morning I am awake early and then fall asleep until after 8am, when I get up feeling absolutely exhausted. Claire is to come over for lunch today but has to try and find a photographer in Liverpool who can enlarge a photo of Hugh for display at the funeral. It’s raining. I take Paddy for his walk, not a long one because of the rain. I need to go to the chemist’s for Keith’s prescription and by the time I do that, it is raining hard.
Back home, I sit on the step with my coffee in the rain, watching the raindrops glistening on the grass, which desperately needs cutting. Paddy takes up his usual stance at the window, cat-watching.
Claire rings. She is having trouble tracking down a photographer that can do the enlargement. I search online for her for other places to try. Eventually she finds one but it has taken so long that she won’t now be able to come over.
“I’ll come tomorrow,” she says.
Later, she rings again. She can’t come tomorrow either as she is needed for a rehearsal at the church. The army are coming to rehearse their role too. She has photos of Hugh that she wants to pass on to me. I reassure her that it doesn’t matter. We will see each other on Friday and she can give me the photos then.
My friend, Jean rings from Liverpool. She and I worked together for several years. She tells me of some of my other colleagues who have now been given the news. Hugh helped out in my school for a few months after leaving school and while waiting to go into the army. He showed a real flair for working with children. Had things been different, he could have been a brilliant teacher one day.
The rain stops and the sun comes out in the late afternoon. I should be getting dinner ready but I don’t feel hungry and I don’t think Keith does either.
Kathy rings to tell me about the family flowers, white flowers spelling out his name and an arrangement of white lilies. She says that he can be viewed at the undertakers’ from mid-day today and that now he is in his uniform but I don’t feel I want to go. I saw him on Thursday and I have my own image of him in my mind.
Today it has sunk in that Hugh was mentally ill. He had chronic depression, which he wouldn’t get help for and I believe he has never recovered from the post traumatic stress disorder he suffered from eleven years ago after his tour in Kosovo. He did have some psychological help at the time but discharged himself after a couple of sessions. I know it’s a ‘man thing’ to regard psychological support and counselling as a weakness and it’s probably an ‘army thing’ too in spite of the official line. In some way, this helps me understand a bit better but it doesn’t make it any easier.