I never believe you had died. All the way from that initial phone call, to the airport, I never really believed you had passed away. I kept looking at my phone because I knew that I would get a text saying it had been a mistake. I mean, we had just spoken the night before and everything seemed good. It was some sick joke, some misunderstanding and once I got home, I knew we’d laugh at this whole confusion.
‘I died yesterday? No… I didn’t realise Switzerland had such bad connection!’ And then we’d laugh.
Even when they came to pick me up from the airport and everyone was wearing black clothes and a sinister face, I knew they had also just misunderstood the phone call.
When we got to the chapel and I saw all those candles and the coffin in the middle of the room, someone was there and I knew it was you, but I also knew it was just a matter of time before you’d wake up and put an end to this whole misunderstanding. Come on, it’s getting a bit old now. There was a handkerchief covering your face and someone lifted it off as I approached you and I saw your face, for the first time in over a month.
And then it hit me, like the shock waves of a crash, that this was real. Dead people aren’t cold: your skin was room temperature but it felt like rubber, it had lost the bouncy consistency of a person.
One day you will understand this, hopefully not soon, that there’s a special cry associated to death. It’s like a build up – it takes time to sink in. It’s a high level cognitive process because it is associated to loss, it’s a kind of psychological pain that comes from emotional connection and rationalization towards this person – it’s not the type of cry from physical pain. It comes from the mind. All these memories and feelings that connect you to this person come rushing, overloading your mind, and it’s the painful realization that these things are now part of the past, that the other end of the connection has faded away that make these tears so particular. You can feel every single tear’s path on your cheeks as a reminder, as every single one peals off your face it is now something unrecoverable, something that is gone as well.