I feel distraught.
This morning, about 7.45am I turned on my mobile phone as I made myself a coffee in the kitchen, dressed in my fluffy white dressing gown. I was just about to get ready to meet my friend for breakfast and some early morning writing.
My phone beeped. I had two voicemail messages from an unknown number left at 1 am.
“Hi Juliette, can you call me back, it’s urgent.”
I hate messages like that. You know that they’re not going to say, “Hey! Guess what? You’ve won a million pounds!”
I called the number back.
“What’s wrong? Is everything alright?” I asked the woman.
“No. No it isn’t. Are you sitting down?”
“No.” I said, “I’m going to now. OK, I’m sitting down. What’s going on?”
“I’m sorry…but…your Father hung himself last night.”
She may as well have taken a giant javelin and rammed it through my being.
“No…NO he didn’t. Don’t be stupid. That can’t be true. I was just talking to him the other day. I was coming to London next week to see him.. We’d planned a big trip round all the sights and everything. What the fuck? Why would he do that…why,why WHY? “
All I can remember after that is sobbing; asking again and again out loud, “WHY?”
A couple of days ago when I was talking to him on the phone about my visit, he sounded a bit off key. I asked him what was wrong and he said, “I don’t know what to do with my life. I’m feeling a bit pffff…” I tried to cheer him up ‘cos he often said stuff like that. I didn’t know he was that depressed. He didn’t tell me. Instead he fucking hung himself. If only I’d gone to visit him sooner, if only I’d noticed, if only I’d made more time to recognise the despair that I missed.
I couldn’t get my head around my Dad taking his life in such a horrible way. He was a strong man. Opinionated. Intelligent. A master historian with a biting wit. He wouldn’t do this.
I didn’t know my Dad was this lonely and I hate myself.
I came straight down to London. It freaked me out to see his car parked outside his Victorian house. I could smell him as soon as I walked in.
The fucking iron he hung himself with was still there. Jesus. I looked for the tell tale evidence on the bannister and wanted to scream. I have been through so many emotions today it is madness. I’m currently flipping between anger and grief. I have no tolerance for anything. I can’t even get past a 3 minute conversation. I don’t want people to hug me or touch me. I don’t know how to deal with this except to write about it because that’s what I do. That’s how I express myself.
I’m currently sitting in his house where I shall remain for some time. I can see his slippers. His bookshelves are full of books on war. His shirt and coat are hanging on the door handle. There’s a pair of brogues near the front door. His toothbrush is in a cup in the bathroom. There is evidence of normality all around yet I’m the farthest from normality I’ve ever felt. Something has changed inside me and it feels nasty.
I don’t want sympathy or attention. I want everyone to go away. I want people to read this and understand that I am needing to deal with this on my own. I just want to go back a few days and tell my Dad that I love him and I’m sorry. Then I want to smack him round the head and say “Don’t you dare do that to me again.”