I’m not very good at maths: I’m even worse with time. I just know that I have been awake for longer than I ought to have been. I’ve had an hour or two here or there, but I am very awake and very tired. I had been given some wonder drugs that helped me to sleep, but I had to stop taking them because they upset my IBS.

I’m following the worlds most ridiculous diet that I can ill afford. Strangely my sinuses are clearer than they have been for years, but my ears are still sore. The little things drive you mad. I can’t tell if these feelings are good news or not since I have dissociated myself from my uncle’s death. Nine days and counting.

The only thing I feel is a clear and unmistakable avoidance of other people’s death. That and guilt. He wanted to talk to me at my cousins wedding, but I ran off. He looked so ill, and so eager to talk to me. My brother said he probably would have told me he was dying if I had gone to find him like I said I would.

I did not talk to him at the wedding. I did not visit him in hospital. I did not extend my sympathies to his children, and I did not attend the funeral. More than that, I went out of my way to avoid it, truth be told. All the reasons I gave myself masked the fact that enough is enough.

People are beginning to doubt me when I tell them someone else has died. I wish I had nothing better to do than make up macabre tales of the deceased. I truly do. As I counted their names off on my fingers today, I got to eight and thought someone is missing. Forgot the name of one of the eight and looked apologetically at the person who had asked me.

Whilst laying awake 12 hours later, I remembered the ninth. I recalled that someone asked me if we were close, and I wondered what that meant. Is there a hierarchy of death and mourning? Spouse = 5 years, parent = 3 years, grandparent = 2 years, pet = 1 week, child = forever. People you are not close to = take two pills to kill the pain and get back to work.

I’ve been grieving so hard for so long, about everything, that perhaps his death just took the place of something that fell off the list. Substitute one uncle for the person you might have been if your first boyfriend had not pretended you didn’t exist. Wear yellow to help other people feel more comfortable. Bury your feelings. I wish I could.

All the other ones are leaking out.

I am alive, and I am awake. I have been listening to my neighbor downstairs shout and shit. I wish I was joking. I’ve been attending a writing class: I’ve been looking for the poetry in the pain. I very much doubt I’ll be successful in turning the sound of his loose bowels into a sonnet. Perhaps a limerick for the mental gymnastics he has to do to talk to the people he loves the way he does. Or a haiku for his pretense that he does love them.

The birds are singing. I’m glad someone is.

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