(continuation from “How I became a Late Night Girl“)
The poison in my hand, that looked like a phone, wouldn’t help me get out of a war-zone, a bombardment that started raging inside me. The messenger was a machine, the email was a gun, the letters were the bullets.
Another machine that looked like a laptop connected me with a voice that sounded like the police. More surreal messages made their way through the airwaves, cables and electronics.
Cause of death?
And the autopsy?
When did he die?
Approximately 6 days before he was found.
Why were we as his family not found?
Why am I learning this 5 weeks after he died?
Why is there no clear cause of death?
Why no autopsy??! ……
All questions fired out on autopilot while still not having registered the message.
My brother dead!
The machine informed me that from a police perspective, as soon as they can rule out fowl play and suicide, they are not concerned about the cause of death anymore and hand it back to the coroner.
The policeman further informed me that they had to push his estimated 6 day old corpse away from his door to enter the apartment and they were able to capture two of the three cats that survived while my brother lay dead. The third cat slipped out the door and as a neighbour told me it lives outside now and won’t let anyone capture it…
Thank you for all the details. Very efficient.
Could I get a copy of the police and doctor’s reports, please?
You need a lawyer to apply for it, only a lawyer can have a copy. It’s the law in Germany.
A conversation with a customer in my former work who was a police detective, having worked on many death cases, confirmed that if nothing suspicious is found the case is closed fast, too much paper work. Of course if the deceased was one of their relatives, friends or colleagues, they would go to town trying to find the cause and family.
My brother was just MY brother.
Where is he now?
He has been cremated.
I realized later that his cremation was already mentioned in the email that I just read minutes before, but the LOAD of this short and brutal email was so surreal and heavy, I didn’t take it in at the time. I just starred at my phone half in mid-air and half on the floor, stuck in Twilight Zone. The turmoil that was soon to start, added by my superiors at work and the anger I would be capable of, would unleash in writings like a never ending mass shooting, but with words and letters in emails… The traumatic angst and rage that was approaching fast, losing me almost everything and everyone I held dear… I could have never imagined then.
I learned later that they destroyed all his belongings that had no financial value, since we couldn’t pay his debt from his business and had to reject the inheritance and with it all belongings that were of sentimental value to us. By law we had 6 weeks from learning of his death to decide what to do. We only received a shoe box size of papers, ID cards, driver’s license, photos, letters … and later his ashes…
in the post.
I went inside another machine the next day to bring death to my mum who brought us life.
And then I carried my big brother into the earth.
And I buried my heart with him.
My life has been a big mess since.
Everyone keeps telling me since day one to be strong.
But I am not a machine anymore.
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10 thoughts on “When Machines bring you Death”
My God this email and the way you learned — and you still have no resolution? I’m just so sorry to read this and wish I could help you more. What a terrible ordeal for you. My heart is with you. I am listening. *hugs* and healing and love to you. This is so hard, but you *are* stronger than your sadness. Your choice for life, to help others in their grief and hurt by writing about your experiences and your truth, is so needed I really admire you for it. Even if it doesn’t feel like you are strong, it is making you stronger every day. My son’s disappearance has taught me this. I may face this kind of terrible news too. I have lost three other children. Now, every day choosing life is a victory and I know I’m stronger. With you in spirit. ♥.
What happened to your three children, Niki?
It’s a really long story. Short version: I was forced by family to give my baby up for adoption (1); I was raped and chose to give her up rather than have her tied to a rapist (2); one died in my 7th month of pregnancy due the abuse of his father (3); and now of course my son Ben is missing. I write about those things on the Niki Flow blog when I can. I mentioned my losses here to let you know that I know about grief, and I feel you. I know how hard it is to function at work while all this is going on. And I only today remembered the (very minor trauma compared to what you have gone through) I experienced while working. ♥.
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Niki, there is one thing I learned, or am still learning, it is that there is no minor or major trauma.
There is just the acute moment of it. Don’t ever compare trauma against trauma.
I am where I am, and everyone else is where they are. But the important thing is that we are there for ourselves and people who are lost in trauma.
Nothing more, nothing less.
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Very good point. I was wrong to compare. I remember a very vivid time when this was brought home to me. I had just received the first photo of my baby after being forced to give him up. They agreed to send photos the first three years. I took the photo to show his biological father’s sister, my friend. She said, “This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.” She was younger than I was. I said, “To YOU?” and I was indignant (and young and stupid). She said, “How can I know what the worst thing is that ever happened to you? I can only know my worst and it hurts.” She was right. What I should have said to her, with 20/20 hindsight, is, “I don’t know how much you are hurting, but if you are hurting as much as I have, then I can understand a little of what you went through. ” ♥.
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No, you’re fine. It’s not about right or wrong. I have not lost 3 children and cannot even begin to imagine, Niki. Really sorry what you’ve been through.
I am encouraged how you cope and communicate! I went on a writing “spree” for 3+ years, now on Twitter as well, good thing it’s only limited to 280 characters! But it has been the only way I knew how to cope. I’m learning from you, how you cope and write. Hopefully my anger-days are coming to an end.
I used to write really positive and often funny. Friends and people in general (in other online forums) used to love reading my stuff until my brother died and what I went through in Pret and I just went on a writing cramp for 3 years.
In a more humorous way I compare my ordeal with the brilliant Australian comedy duo & brothers The Umbilical Brothers’ “The Flat”. Watch all the way through, I still laugh out loud when I see this, and I watched this countless times when I needed a cheer.
But to me the two fingers represent my brother’s death and the added trauma in Pret … the rest is survival and trying to get back to normal if that ever is possible.
The video won’t show on the cell phone, but the link then is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Iumbh4o3bU
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I coped in all the wrong ways for most of my life — 4/5 of it. I didn’t even begin learning how to cope clean and sober until I was almost 40.
Thank you for sharing the video. It was really cute and very funny. Definitely good medicine. I’m going to look for more from these guys. My youngest son and I are starting a YouTube channel to read my ongoing book Grammy Miami to my granddaughters. It will include The Teddy Bear Club, a big thing in our family. So this kind of thing totally delights me. Thanks so much.
Regarding writing how we feel — I have always felt so wrong to share my stories. I have felt like I was whining, that I should “suck it up…be strong…grow some thick skin…keep my mouth shut…stop sharing family business…” Then one day I realized those were voices of my past.
Eventually I learned that, to understand trauma, one needs time, distance, hindsight and a safe way to express ourselves. We need to be heard, feel like we’re understood and that we’re not judged.
The first inkling I had that there were others who not only experienced similar things but listened was after I read The Courage to Heal. That was also a difficult read. I wasn’t ready — not enough distance, too many substances I used to forget.
After I got C&S in Feb. 1999, and especially after I met my current husband, I had, for the first time in my life, a safe place. Unfortunately that’s when the panic attacks started and then the agoraphobia and all the illnesses back-to-back over the years. Stroke, blood clots, cancer and now diabetes.
The best coping mechanism I found was perhaps a big, comfortable opiate, but it really did work for me. I began to look at it life as though I chose these lessons. This for me explained both free will and predestination. So with predestination, I created my own fate. That is, before birth, I checked off these boxes at “Earth School Registration.” The free will part of it was, I could opt-out of learning the lesson. I could push down the pain by numbing. I could pretend it didnt’t exist. I could throw myself into my work and for a while even with the panic disorder I was puttiing 50-70 hour weeks. Or I could do massive amounts of volunteering. It was all the same — numbing, pushing it down. But, that was my choice.
Like you, writing was my vehicle on this very bumpy road to healing. Will any of this matter in 100? Not to me, but it does now. So I learned to just write write write what I feel – and keep writing out loud no matter what it is. I love that quote by Terry Pratchett: “The first draft is you telling yourself the story.” When the story is true, it’s going to hurt and be raw. I still struggle with writing my pain out loud.
When I was doing a series of art for the End Violence Against Women campaign for my Instagram page, I still felt I had to flippin’ apologize for sharing things that were triggering. I did that no matter what it was. I shared a poem “For Samuel Goodbye” about the death of my son – again all I could think about was how much this would hurt others to read.
This kind of wrongheaded thinking has stopped me so often. I have to remember not to let it. I know that when we experience trauma and grief, the pendulum always swings very hard into negativity, but we have to write what we feel.
Another problem with writing this pain is, when I do, I always feel poisoned by the hurt and the rage that still exists. So I found ways out of it with quotes, finding the opposite feeling of what I felt most strongly. That’s what my Rx-for-Healing book. The power of opposites, of color too, of the beautiful distilled wisdom of people who have come before us for thousands of years and which is still available to us every day no matter what we are feeling. I know there are mothers whose sons have gone missing in every time in every corner of our world. I know there are parents who have lost children. So often I’ve looked for the antonym of grief and read “quotes about x’ over and over until I finally saw the light ahead again.
Thank you for your kind words too LNG (– what name may I call you? Or is LNG okay with you?). It really makes me feel great to read than anything I have written has helped you. *hugs* to you today. I’m so glad I know you and so grateful for our comment chats. =) ♥.
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you have quite a rocky road behind you, and it’s very encouraging how you keep moving forward and share.
And yes, LNG is fine until I rename my blog again away from the Pret BS.
I am still too angry and yes, I fall in and out of drinking this pain away as well, which just makes it worse of course!! But I am having some help now as well, or rather continues help!
But I totally agree, you have to do what you feel is best for you. If you write like there’s no tomorrow, than that’s what you need to do.
Most people don’t understand what I do, and honestly I don’t like it either. I never ever ever ever imagined I would write like this OPENLY against a company like Pret! Never in my wildest dreams.
You all here know me like this, but before my brother died and what Pret dared to add, I used to be very discreet, encouraging and professional. I would never write anything personal on the Internet.
But the trauma, almost having lost my life I am now doing what I feel is best, if it’s right or wrong, that is not the question anymore.
I used to follow the rules, too much even, and then being stepped upon, I now follow my rules and learn from my mistakes.
I don’t have many followers and I keep it low on purpose, I ask people even to block me when they complain about my writing. Just move on, I really don’t give a toss who follows me, who likes my writings, who understands me. The days to follow all the rules of not stepping on toes are over!
As long as I speak the truth, I sleep at nights no matter how much Pret or whoever dislikes or even want to hate me! Be my guest!! I lost too much to care anymore.
So, bloggers like you are a breath of fresh air and I appreciate you and whoever is at peace with themselves, no matter how big the mess of life is.
This is MY life, MY story, MY expeirence, MY loss, MY gain, MY writing. Whoever doesn’t like it Fudgecake off!
And I will learn from my mistakes, because they are also MY mistakes when I step out and write and act to try and better situations that you cannot better with silence.
And I am very proud to have been a catalyst for a journalist to go undercover in Pret! You don’t reach these things with silence, even though I never expected this kind of thing.
And even when I write in great agony at times and fear, this is MY story and I tell it!
So, do you with your story! 🙂
I will. Thank you. I admire your courage.
So did I read correctly on an earlier comment? LNG came from a disparaging remark this Clive/Pret person made; i.e., you’re his “Late Night Girl”? Grr. I like how you turned it around and owned it.
Yes. Agreed! It’s good not to give a toss after giving so many tosses. Too many. It’s very freeing. Letting go of what we can’t control is very healthy.
One thing that’s been really tough for me is the people who have hurt me most know what they have done is wrong. Once I began writing about things openly, one in particular began a campaign to discredit me. I’ve thought about sueing for slander but it’s a very tough thing to prove. This has been going on for literally decades. I’ve recently hired a new investigator to find my son. I’m also going to ask about the cost of an investigation into this lifetime slander. If I’m going to speak my truth, the last thing I need is someone whose M.O. for covering his own BS is to discredit me.
How often have you faced something like that? How would you handle such a thing?
I believe in 99.9 percent of all cases, the answer to every problem is to pour love on it. I want to be a light in the dark, a place of shelter and peace. This has been my daily prayer. But I also cannot allow people to lie about me repeatedly. I have to stand up for myself, so I am, at last.
Thank you for your lovely comments of encouragement. *hugs* Keep telling your story and I will too.
with smiles and hugs,
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So sorry Niki.
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