Letter to my cousin on his birthday

So, D, today would have been your birthday. I think your mum and dad would have liked to celebrate it somehow, but seeing as it’s also your brother’s birthday this week, it was kind of awkward.

Does a dead guy even have a birthday? I hadn’t really thought about that before. M thinks it would be weird, but then he doesn’t rate birthdays much anyway, even his own. But I do, both see the point in birthdays and in keeping yours somehow, at least in the first year or two, while your parents are getting used to you being gone.

Did you see everyone at your funeral? The place was full. Your mum wanted it to be a celebration of you, but it was hard to impossible to make it a joyous occasion, on account of the whole you being dead thing. My brothers cried, dude. Even that daggy friend of your brother’s, weeping, when he’d only met you twice, because you were such a nice guy and he couldn’t believe someone so kind could have wanted so badly to leave. There were a lot of people who said that, did you know? By the way, what did you think of how they did your make-up? I thought it was a bit overdone, and wondered about the eyesight of the old undertaker, but then I got to thinking, maybe he did know what he was about. I bet you didn’t think about that in your calculations; how grotesque you would look just being dead, despite your choice of exit, and at a young and beautiful age.

But you didn’t see any of that, because you weren’t there, not at all. That coffin was a lead weight, but it was empty of you. Hopefully for your sake you’re off frolicking among the stars finding your bliss and the answers to all your questions, but we aren’t, you git.

Was it even your decision to make? Before, I would have said a person’s life is their own, one way or another, but now – We will never be the same. Your decision changed all of the people who loved you. When you’d first gone, I caught myself waiting for something to happen to shift the pain, and I realised – there was nothing to happen. Yes, we have indeed picked up and gone on, as I’m sure you knew we would, but not as wholly as I think you assumed. Even your mum goes on about her daily life, puts on her smile with her lipstick in the morning, but she’s not ok. How could a mother whose child slips out of her hands ever be ok again.

I know they say time heals all wounds and all that, but only imperfectly, only in the sense of growing skin over the hurt and leaving the scar. You may have escaped your pain, but you left it behind with us.

I’ll say goodbye now, D. There’s not much else to say without completely spilling my guts and telling you things like how we still had foolish hope, right until we couldn’t any more, how the pain of hearing you’d done it was physical, how we had thought if you could make it up here, maybe we could save you. This will probably be the last letter I write to you, because it doesn’t seem like there’s much point in writing to dead people. I just wanted to say I miss you, and I wish you could have held on.


DCO 1/6/86 – 14/1/14 RIP




6 thoughts on “Letter to my cousin on his birthday

    • Well, putting words around it helps. I’d love to say it to his ghost face – closure I suppose? (That’s my daughter in the picture with him, she refused to believe he was gone.)


  1. Chaos Girl, I feel sad and clean (if that makes any sense) reading about your letter to your cousin after he left you and this earth behind. I then read all your posts. It’s not easy to put my response into words. You are so true and beautiful and funny. You make life alive. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I waited a couple of days to read this, getting up the nerve, I guess. And then it was enriching more than painful. I really appreciate your candor, and your ability to give a word form to your feelings, even if it can never be done completely. I hope not to have the same personal reason to write to a dead person, but I’m sure I’ll meet other circumstances where your words will serve me in the future. Well done, and peace be to your heart–


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