My name is Maudry. That’s how I think my cousin would want me to say it. I won’t say his name. He wouldn’t want that, so I won’t. He once said that naming was like labelling. He said there were many ways to be lazy, like saying to yourself that you know something is not right. Like knowing is excusing yourself from being responsible, I think he was saying.
I don’t know who I write this to. Anyone can read it. I have three children: two girls with the first man and a boy with the one I am with now. I suppose I am happy.
After my son was born I went through postpartum depression for which I did seek therapy. Maybe seek is not the best word for it. I gave up and in, is probably a better way to say it. The therapist helped me. I spoke of my friend and my ex when we were young. Before I had children.
My cousin phoned me, which was very rare and something we never did. He wasn’t living at home at the time. We spoke and I told him of my depression and what sounded like his depression. He told me that I helped him, and it was nice talking to him. He said it was like the days of high school when I lived with his family in the city. He said I was like a sister. I told him about my vivid dreams and he told me it was good to dream:
“A healthy mind, even if it be nightmares.”
I had a dream we were at my ex’s funeral. I was sitting next to my friend who is still alive today. My ex sat up out of his casket, came down to us sitting in front of him and handed my friend a note. It read: “Tell Maudry I got cut off but I still love her,” and it was written by my friend who had broken her neck years ago in high school. I know her handwriting. She asked the driver if her hair looked nice after they were swimming and the four wheeler they were on tipped.
They are both my friends. I do not like calling him my “ex.” My friends are my relatives, my family. These relationships are something like God to me now. Something to believe in and something you can have hope for. It’s something I don’t understand, even though I just wrote it. I remember seeing her handwriting in my dream. She must have written it because I know her handwriting.
I say my prayers at night – to who, I don’t know. When he knows I am doing this, my husband does not bother me. I am very lucky.
I have pictures of my friends and my cousin on my dresser. They are a big part of who and what I am.
My postpartum receded, although I am always aware of it. My cousin spoke to me of not wanting to wake, or wanting to sleep and not wake up. We both knew what this meant, and I said: “You can’t.” And he said: “Yes. I guess I can’t. It’s that simple.”
As it is that simple. And then he did.
I remember the ferry ride when no one went to the lounge where everyone sits together. No one got out of their car. I remember a silence, the weeping, and his mother broken, truly broken, and his father in terror. His mother’s terror had lain down. Terror is a weight that needs something to stand on. She had nothing to bare it upon.
They wouldn’t burn him, so, bloated and grey, he was put out to us in a box with him in a suit. His mother and father said they wanted to see him, though they didn’t know very much. It did not seem real or true. I wondered if it was supposed to be a dream. I touched his face and I was gone.
Then I received his letter. He had posted it before he went out to do it. This was it:
It is sunny here today and the usual cold. I feel warm, I feel alright. I’ve made a decision. A decision you said I could not make, that we could not make to take.
When I first moved in, Chris said “Don’t die in my house.” I said I can’t make any guarantees and he chuckled. I never forgot it and tried to keep it near me if in any way I could accommodate. I suppose I honoured his wishes unless I trip down the stairs here now on my way to post this before my final journey.
I met a guy named Max in La Paz years ago and we got into the Bolivian liquor. He told me of his mother’s wish to allow her to kill herself. He said he accepted her decision as he holds respect to those who wish to die. His brother to that day still held it against him, his acceptance that one can. For one to live for the sake of others I can understand and I do understand “can’t” but, one can.
You have your children and I have none. My mother and father are my children. I am sorry I went before them and I accept all responsibility of what is to come which is easy to say when you’re gone.
The nights to wake and desire death can now be put to rest as rest now I will do. I love you Maudry and I always will.
That night I had a dream. The father of my two girls came to take them and he said “I am going to go drown the girls.” I kissed and hugged my daughter’s and they went. The father of my son came and said “I am going to go bury our son.” I kissed and hugged my son and they went. I lay down to sleep knowing I wasn’t going to wake again.
Four days after the dream my mother phoned to say her sister swallowed pills and drank wine. She’s gone now like her son. She left a note and it read:
I always knew this fear was true and I knew there was something wrong. A mother knows and I loved my son more than anything. To know he chose to die, I could not take. I can’t take it, I can’t. So I have to do this. There is nothing left for me to do.
I hold my children close and hard. I remember I can’t. I tell myself I can’t when I know we can. I know people go. I try to see what is in front of me.
I took my children to the cemetery to visit my cousin’s grave. The wind blew cold and we could hear the ocean, and saw the waves crashing to amplify it.
My daughter asked me why he died.
“He chose to.”
“Why did he choose to?”
“We don’t know. I still love him though. Do you still love him?”