Surrounded by four siblings but, peculiarly, he seemed alone.
He was quiet and unpretentious. He didn’t want for things or chattels for himself. Instead, he was giving and kind to others. A gentler soul you would be very pressed to find.
He immersed himself in writing, drawing and painting. As a young boy he crafted his own comics. As an adult he painted his emotions and undressed his life, layer by layer, in his poems.
He liked to escape to his room. He didn’t like school or any large gatherings. He wanted to go unnoticed … be invisible.
But in spite of his yearning to be unseen, David was always there for his family … a sister’s thirtieth birthday; a nephew’s first birthday; to babysit when no-one else would; and to hold a newborn niece in his arms and, very softly, introduce himself.
In his teenage years, David experimented with drugs and developed schizophrenia. David was in pain.
His father and sister admitted him to the psychiatric clinic one night. They were in pain too. Their hearts ached. They were filled with immense, impossible grief. They wanted to help him.
His mother was in pain too. She found it difficult to visit him, be with him. She feared they would call her a bad mother.
David succumbed to the ill-effects of medication. His skinny frame now bloated. His essence faded. He was lost for a long time.
Slowly he ventured back into his world. He existed. The supposed ‘real’ world was not a place for which he cared. The people in that world were cruel – they were cruel to each other, to other living things and to the planet. He preferred his world.
A few short months had passed when news came that he had been found in a motel room. He was close to death. A gas cylinder lay beside him. His sister rushed to his side and stayed with him for as long as she was allowed.
When he woke, he cried ... silently. With the ache of grief etched in his face, he wanted to know why they couldn’t just let him go. He was in such terrible pain.
Hi mother was in pain too. She couldn’t visit him.
The merry-go-round went round and round for such a long time.
Eventually, David stopped taking his medication and looked the best he had in many years. One day he bought a car and dropped by to show it off to his sister. How wonderful it was that David was reconnecting with the world, the 'real' world.
That night, David wrote a poem, left a half-drunk cup of tea on his kitchen table and drove to a lonely track.
David was my brother. He committed suicide 20 years ago. He was always there for me. I’m not sure that I was always there for him …. I hope I was.