Carry A Whisper
Jola Malin

You didn’t say goodbye:
100 notes from the diary of the bereaved



We spoke on Tuesday – normal phone call. She died on the Thursday.


Like a traumatized zombie I go to have my haircut the day after she died. I booked an appointment weeks ago. I forgot to tell her about it. I know that my sister would not want me to miss my hairdressing appointment. Only a sister knows how important these trivial events are.

I sit looking at myself in the mirror as my hair is cut. I ask the hairdresser not to talk to me, as I am in a state of shock. He understands and doesn’t speak, which is very sweet of him. The hairdresser can’t see the hole which has just been blasted out of my heart. I stare in the mirror, in disbelief. Disbelief in what has been taken from me and disbelief that I still exist.


The suddenness of this loss is unutterably painful. From one moment to the next a sharp searing pain then a blunt unyielding thumping emptiness, and back again. I write, so that I can talk to the paper, to smoke as much as I can, and just sit, not going anywhere.

Eva loved the sun. I can’t bear to feel it now, its life-giving properties. Too late. I want to run and hide. Guilty of being alive.

Thoughts of a future without her unravel themselves as new sights or sounds trigger something I wanted to share with her, one day.

Like pieces of shattered glass, the thoughts are too sharp to touch, too painful to pick up, yet hold them I must. And let myself bleed.