Just like that

I awoke this morning to the sound of messenger: the sound of Wildcard calling me.

I answered with that nervous-excitment anticipation I always feel when he calls. To my surprise, he was up and heading towards his car – unusual for a Sunday where he gets his only lie-in.

“My friend had died.”

Someone had posted in a group chat of people he studied with. His friend was early thirties and I could see Wildcard struggling to comprehend the information. He was on his way to his friend’s house to see what was happening. In Islam, the dead are buried quickly and he didn’t want to miss it.

Half an hour, the sound of messenger roused me again.

“I can’t believe it, I just can’t believe it.”

His friend had been driving with his parents and sister as passengers. A drunk driver had hit the car. His friend had died instantly. His mother had died this morning and his father and daughter were in hospital. Just like that, two lives lost and another two in the balance.

The story has lingered in my mind all day. My family have arrived, I’ve cooked and entertained, and yet my conscious self, the one with this knowledge has sat apart. Like an outer body experience, my mind has churned and processed whilst the rest of my has carried on.

Wildcard is waiting to attend the burial but the body of his friend remains in the hospital morgue at present.

Isn’t it strange how life can change, just like that?

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Helpless

Despite everything that has happened in the last 15 months, I can safely say this day has been the hardest in our relationship.

Not the time when he wouldn’t answer my calls as he was angry. Not the one and only time I ‘lied’ and got caught out. Not even when the myriad of exes have filed in, looking to rekindle their relationship with him.

Today has been the worse. Is the worse, still.

I feel utterly HELPLESS. I have sent texts periodically throughout the day but I have ruminated about every single one of them. How often should I message? Should I leave him to it to give him and his family space? I want him to have the strength to get through the day but feel he can let go with me. How do I word that? How can I show support from thousands of miles away when all I want is to be there with him?

Seeing his pain is torture. Feeling so far away and helpless is torture. Waiting for him to contact me, just so I know he is OK- as ok as you can be – is nearly killing me.

He has always been sensitivity supportive over my grief. His words have comforted. But at the same time, I knew they came from someone who has not experienced the extent of that grief. I wouldn’t wish that grief on anyone.

Yesterday, I saw in his face that he knew it was coming. She was sick, yes, the first round of tests showed that, but her decline had come swiftly before the scans and treatment could be organised.

When he showed me her frail body, she was sat up, and for a moment I had hope that he was just panicking. She would get through this. But I could see it in his eyes.

Later in the evening I messaged to check he was ok and he replied he was. I reminded him that he could call me whenever.

At 3.45am I awoke. I reached for my phone to check the time and could see he has messaged me 2 hours earlier. I took a risk and messaged back. Within minutes he was telling me she was dying.

This morning, grief straining his face, he showed me her sleeping peacefully whilst they waited for the end to come. He looked so lonely. He said how helpless he felt and I just wanted to hug him. I told him I understood.

His calls since have been fleeting. Minutes. He called when she had died and again when she had been buried. He has read each of my texts, eventually, but has rarely responded. I don’t know how to help, don’t know what support I can give. I don’t know if my words are comforting or annoying.

It has been four hours since our last call and two since he read my last message. I know he is not ok, how can he be, but I just need to see him, speak with him. Be there, even though I am not.

I know little about his customs and traditions but I do know that there will be prayers and family at the wake. I know from a previous time that it will go on late. As time passes on, it gets harder and harder to gauge what to do. The man I love more than anything is feeling a pain beyond compare and I am not there. I can’t help.