7th October 2013.
I woke up that day and went into my brother, Nikky’s, makeshift hospital room at home. He was at home following 9 and a half weeks in hospital, waiting to die. We knew his time was going to be up and made the decision that his final moments will be spent at home. He wasn’t speaking at this point. The toxins had entered his brain, limiting it’s function.
As I did every morning for the previous 4 days when he was home, I went into the room. Something wasn’t right. It just didn’t feel right. There was this cold breeze coming from the room. No windows or doors were open. But the feeling was surreal. I looked at him and knew from that second that today would be his last day. During the last 10 weeks, the doctors would say “he has days to live” – this was said regularly during the first 3-4 weeks. Although we knew he would die, we just didn’t know when. I didn’t have this feeling during the last 10 weeks. I even posted a status on Facebook that morning saying “I pray for you to be freed form this pain”
Knowing deep in my heart that today was the day, I told my family not to come into the room as I wanted to say some things to him in private. They complied.
They could see I was serious and that I knew something was happening. I won’t go into what I said during that 30 minute conversation as that remains between my brother and i. It was however to do with our life and us growing up. The relationship we had was a little roller coaster like. He lived his life very differently to the way I lived mine. We had different likes and dislikes. He lived on the edge – sometimes too close which ultimately cost him his life. Having spent 5 years of his life at her majesties pleasure, the environment was too much for him and coping mechanisms were not taken in. We both had the same upbringing, both went through the same challenges and both witnessed the same horrors as children, all the way into our teens and then into our early 20’s and so on, up until that day in 2013.
The decisions we made however were very different. We released our hurt and anger in different way. Some would say he didn’t release it; maybe he didn’t, emotionally. He released his anger through violence, crime, drugs and life on the edge. Life was however a gift which most of us take for granted. Eventually, his way of life was going to catch up on him and it did, like we all predicted as early as when he was 14. The typical sentences were spoken like, “he will either end up dead or in prison”. None of this however meant he was a bad person deep down. He has his bad ways, sure, but was he product of his environment? A little of me wants to say yes, but then, I “made it”, didn’t i? See, outside looking in, people will judge by putting 2 brothers side by side and say, one is fine, what is the other one’s excuse? But they will say this by judging what they see. They will see his habits of committing crime, taking drugs, being aggressive, failing at school etc and think, he is wrong and something is wrong with him. They will then see me, someone who would go to school and try hard, have good friends, not commit crime, working etc. People would think this is me making it, this is me being a success. What people fail to see is the interior of someone. The pain that person may hold inside. The nights of tears, not wanting to be heard by others – the disguise! Whereas on the other spectrum, the other brother would happily go out with the anger built up over the years and smash someone’s face in and come home with blood on his trainers asking his brother to help him clean the blood. There is no in depth point I’m going to make here other than don’t f*ing judge people based on what your eyes see. There’s more to someone than that judgment. There a past there. Possibly a past full of hurt, pain, heart break and whatever else may fuck up the mental health.
Back to that day in October 2013, I said what I needed to, kissed him on his forehead and walked out the room. My mum was cooking in the kitchen, making some chapattis and curry. I can still smell that essence scent that would appear when she used to cook. Boy I miss that! I told her to stop what she was doing and go into that room and forgive Nikky. Like I said above, he did a lot of things in his life that the majority of humanity would disagree with. My mum however had his back, like all mothers would. She would be the one to worry about him during the years and she spent a lot of her time on him. He needed her forgiveness. I advised her to go in and forgive him and just tell him she loves him. She said she would. I couldn’t be there anymore. I had to get out the house. I left and went to the gym for my release. It was around 08:45. I finished gym at 10:30 and went to see the girl I was seeing at her place of work. I wanted to hide. I knew it was his last day and I had said by goodbye, I didn’t want to be home. I wanted some form of normality and she gave me that. It was approaching 11:30 and my phone was ringing. It was home. I answered and didn’t let them speak, I just said I’ll be there in 15 minutes. I got home just before 12, faced with tears from my mum. She told me something was wrong with his breathing and she’s called the emergency nurse out. I had a look at him and he was the same as this morning when I was with him. That’s why I knew today was the day. I told her “mum, it’s happening”. She was confused with what I was saying but I think she got the point. I just held her hand and we cried. Seconds seemed like minutes and minutes seemed like hours. The clock kept ticking and I kept looking at my watch. As the minutes passed us by, his already shallow and slow breaths become even more shallow. The nurse came at 12:10 and looked at him, my mum crying for her to help. I looked at her and said, “Is this it?” she politely nodded her head up and down (yes). The little child in me said to myself, I knew I was right this morning, I knew it was happening. I was a little glad this was happening. The family had gone through pain for the past 10 weeks and Nikky was also going through this pain, especially in his final 2 weeks where his body started shutting down, slowly. As we approached 12:24, he took a breath, I remember looking at my digital watch at it was 12:24hrs 20secs. My mum was crying for him to wake up along with prayers we were chanting. It was heart breaking! It was then 12:25hrs, he took his final breath. That was it for my brother Nikky. Although he lived his life through sheer adversity and challenge, he was fearless, physically. I feel he was failed by the authorities who ignored the signs, when we would make it pretty clear to them. He would also make this clear to them by attempting to take his own life. They failed to act on the signs. But I guess we now live in a world where everyone is expected to take responsibility for their own actions.
So although this was over for my brother, we were left to continue living and piece together our life, where eventually, my mother had lost her fight in 2016.
We must not only take responsibility for our own actions but also we must learn to understand other people’s actions, even if they fail to understand their own or take responsibly of their actions and decisions.
Rishi ‘back at it’