Yesterday was not only World AIDS Day, but my dearly departed brother's birthday. Normally I don't worry too much about it, just flick him a few passing thoughts during the day, but the thing about grief is that it rises up and catches you by the throat when you least expect it. This year, for some bizarre reason, has been full of these moments (probably because blogging has made me think about stuff more!).
So I'm driving along Northbourne Avenue, heading south, with JJJ on the radio, heading towards the AP's house. they mention World AIDS Day, I remember it's The Birthday. Flick him a quick affectionate 'stupid dickhead' thought (he committed suicide a long time ago) and suddenly, at that exact moment, JJJ plays Clare Bowditch's The Thing About Grief, from her latest album.
Readers, it was a freaky coincidence, and I cried for at least 10 kms. I love and hate crying in the car. You feel so private, but when you're at lights you realise that the person next to you is watching the snot run down your face with an odd look on their face. Especially when you have a wildly painted car like mine. They look at the car, then they peer inside. And there I am, bawling. Ay yay yay.
If you've ever lost someone, whether to death or a bad break-up of friendship, do listen to that song. It's fabulous. Sharp, insightful lyrics, catchy and not too sad tune, delivered with deadpan emotion. It works. It's like picking the most painful but satisfying scab from your heart. I'm going to buy the album as soon as I return from Bathurst (so easy to type Bathrust!), where I'm heading in three hours, for an exhibition opening.
And I managed to pull myself together before arriving at the AP's house. The thing about 85 y-olds, they don't have brilliant eyesight.
POSTSCRIPT: suddenly realised how much this applies to poor VN in Singapore. My heart goes out to him, his mother and his brother. That's a heavy load to carry -- for all of them. Apparently it's all happened, according to the news on the way to B's school. What a stupid waste of life. I guess a lot of people around Australia are going to be thinking about the nature of grief today. Hopefully some while they're enjoying the cricket.