It started when the policeman told me he was dead.
I was still sitting in my car in my parent’s driveway at the time.
It was loud.
It was hysterical.
It was guttural.
It was primal.
It continued as I was led inside the house, up the stairs.
It went on for a long time before I wore myself out.
It stopped long enough to listen to the police and the chaplain and my parents as I tried to think what to do next.
To search their faces for the next sentence “Oh sorry, we made a mistake. He’s not dead. He’s in the hospital waiting for you”.
It stopped long enough for me to leave a message on the answering machine of my best friend because I could not get a hold of a single other family member or friend to tell them.
To sob this news to them.
But that’s when the screaming started inside my head.
I spoke calmly to people on the phone. They swore at me with shock when they heard the news: I was the calm one.
But inwardly, I was screaming “He’s Dead. DEAD. DEAD......”.
It didn’t stop while I was talking to those other people.
It didn’t stop when I sipped water to sooth my ruined throat.
It didn’t stop when I showered.
It didn’t stop when I stared at the food people kept putting in front of me, only to take it away again hours later after it was cold.
And it didn’t stop while I slept.
I screamed aloud in my sleep.
It rang in my ears for most of the first 6 months.
It screeched in the background to all my thoughts; sometimes loud, sometimes whispered.
That desperate, aching cry “he’s DEAD!"
Now, it lurks inside, waiting for my brain to think too hard about it, just for a minute.
For the most part, I’m learning to ignore it, but sometimes it screeches into the forefront of my mind with alarming speed.
And once more I crumple under the weight of the screaming.
The endless internal screaming in my head.