What the fuck
You rotten prick
How could you do it
How do you sleep
Anger, Hatred, Death M.S. 1986
As you can see my lyric writing hadn’t improved before handing in my notice to quit work, although in my defence I was pretty annoyed after seeing my brother’s grave site. However I have so far only told you half of that story.
When I stepped up beside the grave, because you don’t stand in front of a headstone out of respect, it was clear to see there was no money spared on the headstone. I would never have suggested that my parents had a wealth of money but obviously when it came to marking my brother’s final resting place money was not really a concern. I doubted very much if I’d have received such headstone had it been me laying there and within a few moments of standing there I knew I wouldn’t.
Let me try and describe what I saw. The tombstone stood about a metre and a half high, or about chest height on me. It was polished marble and even if the groundskeeper hadn’t said he been there cleaning the site up I’m sure it would have glimmered in the sun light. The top of the tombstone was arched and the line came down to flats on either side, I’m not sure how else to describe it but it kind of looked the doors of an old western saloon, in fact the entire tombstone looked like those sort of doors, only in one piece not two. Atop of the thing, right in the centre, there was a carving or a statue I guess you’d call it, of Jesus mounted to the cross. I have no idea if that was there purely as a religious icon, or given my father’s thoughts maybe he actually thought Herod in some way resembled Jesus, he was a twisted and hurting man after all.
The writing on the tombstone was golden and like the marble surface it glimmered in the sun light. However if I was not already taken back, surprised or downright shocked with what I’d heard and seen in that cemetery reading the words on the tombstone definitely sent me there. Here is what is written on my brother’s tombstone.
Reginald Brandon Campbell III
Born February 13 1970
Died August 14 1985
Only child of Reginald II and Mary Wentworth
Stolen from us too soon
Through no fault of your own
Loved Missed and Never Forgotten
Let he who is responsible be questioned by God
Honestly there was nothing that could have prepared me for those words and if it weren’t for the picture of Herod just below the words I might even have thought it was my own grave sight.
I guess you could be thinking that after what the groundskeeper said I shouldn’t have been so surprised, after all he did say the name Reginald Wentworth III. Even the fact that before I left home my father had made the shrine with my name on it instead of Herod’s, and the mix up with the birth certificates also should have led me to not being surprised when I read the words in front of me. But honestly I don’t think there was anything in the world that could prepare me for what I saw and I really don’t think most people would have been any different.
I stood at the tombstone and must have read the words about ten times, I didn’t know what else to do, but then almost as if there was a sign from above, which I obviously didn’t believe in, the skies opened up. I didn’t even notice the clouds come over and hide the sun, I was to caught up reading and re-reading those words.
When the rain came down it came down quick, the storm front that was moving through was the sort of storm that news readers would later report as a ‘fast moving storm front that swept across the city leaving flash flooding in many suburbs”, but to me it was just pouring rain. As I ran for cover, the shelter of a huge oak tree over near the western boundary of the cemetery I checked the time, it was 9:20am, the memorial was only forty minutes away.
I would dearly have loved to attend the memorial service but the words on the tombstone made it very clear that I would not be welcomed. Maybe I had brought it on myself when I ran away from home, although even in my twisted mind I know it wasn’t my fault that things had gotten to the point they had. I was not prepared to sully the day further by showing up to the memorial and having my father, and possibly my mother resent me more than they already did.
Of course things don’t always go to plan and although the storm passed through quick and I could easily have left the shelter of the big tree I was still sitting there when I saw a car arrive and park on the same road I’d walked down to get to Herod’s grave sight. I guess I had gotten myself lost in my own thoughts because I’d sat under that tree for nearly forty minutes and did not once remember thinking that I needed to disappear.
While I remained sitting on the ground and up against the brick boundary wall of the cemetery my thoughts were that I was not visible to anyone at Herod’s grave sight. The fact that the sun had not really broken through the clouds since the storm and the day was very overcast reassured me of that thought too. So I decided to remain where I was, I couldn’t hear proceedings at memorial but I could watch.
The memorial went for nearly an hour, the only people present were my parents and the priest who I did not recognise. If anyone else was invited they didn’t show up, but I suspected that invites would not have been issued given the way my father handled the funeral. My butt was sore and numb from sitting for so long and I could not make out much of what was happening other than my mother multiple times putting her hand to her face and patting tears away.
I felt sad for Herod, I felt sad for myself and I guess I felt a little bit sad for Mum, but I refused to feel sad for my father. Right wrong or otherwise that’s what it was and that’s what I felt.
When the memorial was over my parents got back in the car, almost as if nothing had happened and drove away from the site slowly leaving the priest standing beside the tombstone. The car came towards me for about twenty metres, then turned left and headed towards the gate, as the car turned I could see Mum in the front passenger seat, she was starring at me.